I would equate hearing “That’s so gay” to being the equivalent of saying “That’s retarded.” In the past I’ve been guilty of saying that’s retarded. The moment I was educated on the harmful effects it had, I stopped. My wife is a special education teacher and the moment I understood the world she taught in and what that phrase really meant and its impact on her students, I removed it from my vocabulary. I’ve never looked back. What I learned was that I truly just didn’t understand how harmful of a phrase it was because so many people just throw it around like it’s no big deal.
This is the same for “That’s so gay.” While it is still a younger expression there are plenty of adults who have been caught saying it too. Studies show the consequences that expression has on other young people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The August 2012 issue of the Journal of American College Health reported their findings on the impact of those hearing this expression. The study found that students who had heard this phrase were more likely to feel isolated, experience headaches, and have more eating problems than those who had not.
The important thing that came out of this survey is it gave the co-authors of the study a platform to talk about the negative impacts this expression has on LGBT youth. It’s not a good phrase to use in any setting with any age group. Some say that the expression itself has lost its context and it doesn’t imply that being gay is a bad thing and others argue the opposite that by saying this phrase you are implying that being gay is something bad and to wrong.
A few years ago GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, put out some great PSA’s, you can find them all on www.ThinkB4YouSpeak.com.
My favorite is with Wanda Sykes. See below.
Everything I talk about on this blog is about making yourself more aware and educated about assumptions, stereotypes and other things that are bad for business. Here’s another tip and expression to avoid when looking to market yourself or your business to the LGBT community.
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