Prop 8 protest

Prop 8 protest
One of my favorite signs seen at a marriage equality protest.

Friday, August 5, 2011

That's so gay. Really?

Last weekend Mike and I went to our local mall, Colorado Mills, to walk around and go check out the sale at Borders bookstore. On our way out of the mall three teens were getting into one of their parents cars and called one of his friends a fag.

It's not the first time I have heard this word in public. Typically I introduce myself to someone when I hear them use that word. This time I let it go, I didn't feel like I had a chance to say anything as before I knew it they were all in the car.

The word "fag" is a vile word to me. When I hear it, my defenses go up. There is no use for this word except to express ones disgust for gay men. The word is demeaning and dehumanizing in the highest senses of the word.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot I started thinking about another word/phrase people use in regards to gay people and thought of "that's so gay". I'm sure you've heard it. Many people use it to describe something odd, weird, or messed up.

Odd, weird, or messed up.

Many times when someone says this in my company their immediate reaction is to say, "you know what I mean, it's no offense".

Odd, weird, or messed up.

How about this? If you think something is odd, weird, or messed up, why not say it's odd, weird, or messed up. When you say that something is gay in this reference, it kind of sends the message that being gay is odd, weird, or messed up.

And I'll admit, I can be a sensitive person, especially when it comes to things like this. But this has nothing to do with me being sensitive, it's just plain wrong to use words like this. It's offensive.

So the next time you hear something like this, why not ask "what do you mean by that?".

And the next time you hear the word fag, letting the person who said the word know that the word is vile might be a great effort in education and promoting tolerance. Believe me, it's not easy to bring something up, and I am definitely not suggesting that you put yourself in harms way. If the person who said the word is someone you feel can be approached, let them know.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. I am beyond grateful for the support I've gotten with the blog. I would love your feedback.

8 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you, Dan. In fact, I speak up whenever any word is used to smear anyone. People who don't think that they'll be taken to task for their actions will continue to speak and act in ways that hurt others. We have to draw the line in the sand.

    I love your blog! ~ Love, Val

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  2. I'm always shocked at how liberally this word is still used. At the elementary school where I teach, our third grade team does a week at the beginning of the school year on different families. (We show the film "That's a Family" if you every want to check it out. It's great and geared towards children.) Despite all the attention we give to the normalcy and validity of all families, I still hear that phrase "that's so gay" rear its ugly head a few times a year. I find once it's personalized for the kids, though (sometimes gay teachers on staff will come talk to my class about how those words can hurt others) it tends to dissipate. I love it when other kids beat me to the punch and step in and speak out against that phrase to whichever classmate said it. It gives me great hope, particularly for my young gay students who are listening to every word.

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  3. My sister (11 years younger) used to do this. And I realize that it was more of a habit than an intention for her, but I would bust her chops and ask her to explain what she means by that. She wouldn't really know how to explain it. I told her that she needs to choose better words that are more in tune with what she actually means and to leave being gay out of it. Kids these days. I tell ya, my kids will NEVER say that. :)

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  4. Thanks for the feedback and stories everyone! SSN, I really want to connect with you. Can you email me your email address to vegandude@msn.com ? Thanks!

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  5. The thing I always want to say back is, "gay as in fabulous?" :-)

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  6. I remember when I worked in the gift shop at this water park, a teenage girl came into the store w/ what I believed to be her younger sibling and her father... she called every other thing in the store "gay". When she stepped out, I pulled the father aside and explained "this is a family park, all sorts of different families come here" and his explained his daughters words were offensive. At first, he just brushed it off "shes expressing herself."and I was prepared to let it go.. I'm at work after all... but then, before he left, he proceed to lecture me on how my opinion didn't matter because I worked"in the service industry"... he spat it out as if he meant to say the sex industry or some such madness... at 20/21... that really got to me... I left that job a few months later due to unrelated circumstances... but I've been avoiding those types of jobs since because of him, although, 5 yrs later, I know I could handle it better.

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  7. So funny you brought this up. I use that term all the time, and even my homosexual friends use it. Our thing is "That is so gay..It is not homosexual, or living an alternative lifestyle, it is just gay."
    But we don't really use it for something that is odd. Actually I use it if something is extremely common, down right boring, and definitely if something is stereotypical or cliched. I guess to me the term gay is so one dimensional, that it is almost an insult to call someone gay. LGBT community is way more than sexual orientation. However I will be more mindful now. Thanks for the post!

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  8. I know this is especially hurtful--the way the "N" word is when spoken by white people in reference to black people. And I commend you for taking positive action when you hear it used. This isn't going to go away on its own, and like all slurs that denigrate (and demonize) whole segments of the world's population, it needs to be addressed in a proactive, positive way. All I can say is, keep doing what you're doing, and know that people who are hurtful are only that way because someone hurt them, and they don't know how else to behave. Your being the difference is what will bring the change that's needed. Keep it up!

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