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US celebs tell straight teens to stop saying ‘that’s so gay’

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  1. Oh that’s so ***** (insert minority of your choice, ie black, asian, old, fat, Jewish, disabled, vegetarian, right-wing)

  2. Sean O Rourke 13 Oct 2008, 11:08pm

    Whilst it is a good idea, i think that the overuse of gay to mean bad has gone too far and can’t be replaced in the near future. even many gay people i know use this word to mean a negative connotation. unfortunate, but realistic.

  3. This is idiotic. The term ‘gay’ has shifted in meaning once again, as it already has in the course of the 20th century. I rather like the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term: it perfectly describes anything adult which is considered lame or stupid, as in: “attempts by hand-wringing liberals and C-list celebrities to police teenage demotic idioms in the interests of political correctness are so fuckin’ gay.”

  4. Back when I was at school, the one that was doing the rounds was “that’s so spastic”.
    Interestingly casual mocking of mental disease seems to have fallen out of fashion, but it’s only by challenging it that that happens. Personally I don’t like the new use of the term “gay” in that context precisely because it’s new meaning as “lame and stupid” derives directly from straight homophobic perceptions of gay people. These shifts in meaning don’t happen in a vaccuum, someone makes a deliberate attempt to shift them.
    The first time I saw it in its new context was South Park, and at the time it didn’t concern me so much as the whole point of South Park is to be willfully offensive to everyone, but now the word has wider currency I’ve changed my mind.

  5. @rjb

    that raises the question: “how do we refer to ourselves?”

    “Gay” was the word WE took in place of “queer”, “arse-bandit”, “bumboy” etc. While the younger generation may be happy to br “queer”, us oldies still remember it as the word that preceded the punch.

  6. Its just disrespectful to use Gay to mean bad! I was suprised that even Rose Tyler in Dr Who used the phrase in one episode, considering that Dr Who is probably the least homophobic tv show and written by a gay man!

  7. rjb- I presume I can safely assume you are gay (i.e. you have a same-sex orientation) from previous posts?
    Does it not bother you that when you come out to friends, they might just make a mental association between your sexual preference and you being a lame dumbass? Worth thinking about what’s really going on here. BTW although we disagree on some things, I’d like to say for the record I don’t consider you as a lame dumbass :)

  8. This campaign is great. It is worrying that many young children will hear the word “gay” and infer it to mean something bad, long before they realise it refers to sexuality. How toxic that will be to any children who later go on to have same-sex feelings. I wonder how they will feel knowing that the word they now want to call themselves is routinely used to mean “lame”. Doesn’t make for good mental health does it?

    The appropriation of “gay” to mean lame is homophobia, pure and simple. We need to have at least ONE word which we can use on ourselves that does not mean something negative. I don’t think we should give up on “gay” and take on a new word – it’ll just get re-appropriated itself in time. Instead we need to fight the homophobic attitudes behind the re-appropriation in the first place. The hate needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

    This is not “political correctess”. It is about taking pride in ourselves and protecting ourselves. It’s homophobic attitudes that lead to violence – and it’s so much easier to attack someone if the language used about them is negative.

  9. The chase to be politically correct has been racing to the absurd.
    We are not to say Merry Christmas because we could offend a non-christian. Now (and I am gay) are not to say ‘thats so gay’ Come on. Next thing it will be cityslickers will be offended by the word DUDE. Please remember that rural folks for years called city folks, a dude….meaning they were out of touch with the farm/rural living. Google Dude and see what and where the term came from. What next. I am so gay…. :)

  10. Dex- while I’m not a huge fan of excessive political correctness, how is it that the moment the term we use to describe our entire minority group is given a homophobic spin to mean ‘lame and stupid’ the younger generation sees it as political correctness gone mad. Some of us went through hell to get gay equality to where it is today, and suffered homophobic abuse at school. Many still do. Now just because “gay” is the new buzzword for “lame and stupid” [dreamed up by straight homophobes I might add] we’re supposed to be happy about that and flush 40 years of gay rights campaigning down the toilet. Not on my watch.
    Dude is hardly in the same offensiveness league as nobody beats up city folk in the street as a matter of prejudice (though if this credit crunch continues that may happen!). Dude these days has come to mean ‘cool’ or ‘mate’ and that is the context in which it is used.
    Gay is all we’ve got to call ourselves unless you want to revert to the archaic ‘homosexual’ which also has a whiff of distain about it when used in everyday speech.

  11. I agree that it’s political correctness gone mad. The terms “redneck” and “coon-ass” have similar negative connotations. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a rednecked or coon-assed man who isn’t damn proud of those names. I don’t need some p.o.s. PSA from Hillary Duff asking people not to use the term “redneck” anymore than I need the one banning the phrase “that’s so gay.” (Hillary Duff, too. I hate messages from teeny-bobber celebrities. Who gives a fart about what she has to say? And if there’s an entire generation who will be willing to change their speech because the Great and Wise Hillary Duff asked them to… Geez, that’d be scary.)
    I know I’m going to see responses that I’m not exactly being fair; the word “redneck” isn’t a fair comparison to the word “gay” because actually being a redneck in the wrong part of the world won’t get you beat up or killed. I actually disagree, though. I know neighborhoods where rednecks aren’t welcome. I know a lot of places where a Southern accent coming out of your mouth makes people automatically assume you’re ignorant and/or racist and a lot of other places where you can get into a fight just by letting those around you know that you can drive a tractor.
    What can I say? People are stupid. The way I see it, the gay community has a lot going against it. There is a lot of prejudice to be overcome and so much adversity… what I’m saying is that the community needs to do a better job of picking and choosing its battles. There are more important things to worry about than a teenager innocently making an off-handed remark without thinking about what they’re saying really means. Going up in arms and complaining about something this trivial is just going to make the community look whiny and insecure and give those who hate us more fodder to use in their attacks.

  12. Teens will always use derogatory remarks… THAT is never going to change. The need to be part of a group automatically invokes a “them and us” mentality. It is nature and you cannot legislate it out but you can try to make people aware of terms that might be unsettling to others. The term “gay” was a dumbarse choice in the first place and has ruined its meaning of happy and light-hearted. Given all the baggage that being gay brings on board, the term becomes grotesque. I don’t have a better term though but surely it could at least be descriptively accurate and neutral.

  13. Minuteman – I still differ with you on this one for a number of reasons. First off this is the thin end of a very large wedge, you let this one pass and we’ll be letting gay taunting slip. Let that pass and we’ll be into gay bashing territory. Within living memory gays were being put in concentration camps and it all starts by allowing people to put sub-human labels on us.
    Homophobes are always seeking to push the envelope and if you don’t stop them at source you’ll be sorry.
    Secondly – and you knew this was coming, your redneck analogy doesn’t hold. Rednecks still have the support of their own families as a default, and outside the USA it’s really not that much of a loaded term, any more than any other segment of society that has a slang term attached. You could argue yuppies wouldn’t be welcome in a redneck bar, but it’s not a universal issue. However gay people all over the world are affected by “that’s so gay” wherever they are.
    Thirdly if Hillary Duff doesn’t float your boat, that’s still no reason to ditch the message as I know plenty of people here and within my social circle who do feel put out by “that’s so gay”. Simply substitute the word “black” or “jewish” or “asian” and see how far you get without being lynched.
    It’s political incorrectness gone mad!

  14. Bahahha. It’s not just students. Some of my teachers say it. I find it offensive. Kids whip out the word faggot all the time too. I think it’s pathetic. If someone calls me a faggot in class, nothing happens, but if someone whipped out the N word, all hell would break loose.

  15. It’s disrespectful to use the word gay to mean crap.

    If I said something was crap and used a term relating to any other kind of minority group, I would have my arse kicked by everyone! So why is using gay in a derogatory way acceptable?

    Because gay-bashing is the last bastion of social prejudice that is unquestionly acceptable in mainstream media in 2008 (i.e. Dr Who, as a cited example above). It’s WRONG!

  16. Well said Joshua. We could get seriously pissy considering we suffered a holocaust in WW2, for a start.

    So much like black people ‘own’ the N word that I can’t even type, gay people should own the ‘g’ word too. Word up, gayer!

  17. My My My.

    I have learned alot of what it has been like and still is like for so many gay people out in the world.

    I never had any of this in my upbringing and at that I am also legally married to my male spouse and am totally accepted in my community and business life.

    But I digress. I would like to appolgize for my comments that I had made before. I now can see how saying ‘thats so gay’ can be offensive as in the same way if it was ‘thats so (n word) or any other disrespectful word can be hurtful and can take us all back.

    Thank you all for changing my opinion and I do hope that more threads like this do have this effect. And if only one person has their opinion changed then it has been a success.

    Thank you!!!

  18. As an out & married MSM, I personally have never liked the word “gay” as a term for homosexual, so I’m quite pleased that it’s meaning has shifted (once again, I might add – it didn’t originally mean homosexual either!!)

  19. Jacob et al:
    I refer to my earlier point: how the heck do we refer to ourselves if “gay” now is acceptable as “lame”?

    And just to remind people, the use of derogatory terms for minorities is a useful way of de-humanising them, with the consequences we can still see around the world.

    I’m not being precious, and I fervently wish that sexuality were not an issue, but it is, so we have to be aware of the implications of words and actions.

    PS “gay” didn’t just have its OED meaning. It also used to be slang for a hooker. We washed it off and made it usable in polite company.

  20. Dex – Glad to have you on board :)

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