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Is "So Gay" So Offensive?

Is "So Gay" So Offensive?

Author Judith Warner wrote a piece last week about homophobia among teenagers and the way that the words "fag" or "gay" are, in that set, some of the worst things you could call another kid.

When "gay" is used as a slur, it is used not literally but figuratively; it is what gayness signifies stereotypically that is the insult. Do you like musical theater, wear bright clothes, do well in school? "You are so gay." Gayness, here, is a kind of nerdiness.

While Warner's discussion was about adolescent boys, as an adult I must confess that I still hear people say, "that's so gay" to express distaste. What isn't the first thing I feel? Offended. I get a little embarrassed for the person who said it, even if they're being ironic.

What about you? Do you get offended when someone uses the word "gay" as an insult?


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Violence Violence 8 years
It's not so much offensive to me as it is extremely stupid and ditzy sounding. Like, OMG, that's SO gay!
ECULeah ECULeah 8 years
I've stopped saying it because I'm 24 now and it's such a juvenile phrase. It makes people look ignorant and uninformed. I actually wore a rubber band on my wrist and snapped it every time I slipped up :-p
defygrav12 defygrav12 8 years
Ah. Another comment from Zach that he threw at me when I got after him, that I ponder over. "You say 'That's so lame' all the time, but aren't you being offensive to handicapped people?" Sigh. I don't know about that.
defygrav12 defygrav12 8 years
It bothers me more because it sounds immature, and the speaker sounds as if he/she has a low vocabulary. Ironically enough, I never said it after eighth grade. And then I met my best friend (who is gay), and all I ever heard was, "That's so gay!" I began to pick it up again from him, and had to put a stop on myself. I asked him why he used it, and wasn't it offensive? His reply, "It's just a slang thing. Things that are cool aren't really cold. It'd be stupid to get mad at something that people don't intend as an insult." He then went on to say that if it was said in disgust toward him and his boyfriend, that's when he'd get defensive. I don't know if I agree with him, but that's why I don't get all up in people's faces about it. :/
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
No. It's a word and the person being offended needs to stop attaching so much stigma to it. The only reason it is offensive is because you've made it so!!
untitled1 untitled1 8 years
I'm straight, but I find it offensive. Like mistwolf said, when you're using it to represent something bad it is offensive. I will say something to my friends if they say it.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Okay it might seem like an insult, but in no way is it racist. Gitsie, show me some statistics then from your consensus. Listen its my opinion you have yours but do not tell me that mine is the minority when you have nothing to back that up with.
Sarahrob Sarahrob 8 years
I get offended not because someone is saying whatever I am doing is "unpopular" or they have distaste for it, but that "gay" or "retarded" are used as words for synonyms for "uncool" or "stupid". I think it is a regression in our language and our culture that we can't think of a more intelligent or appropriate thing to say when we don't approve of something than to call it gay.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
i had a bad habit of saying that, then when my roomie moved in and she had a gay brother.. and i said that, i stopped in my tracks and was like woah, this is offensive! so i toned down on saying that.
sarah-lynn sarah-lynn 8 years
As a teacher of 10th and 12th graders, I stop class to address this when I hear it from them - it really is awful. At a time and age where teenagers may not be comfortable with their own sexualities, how is hearing this supposed to help them? Geekiness/lameness/whatever negative context it is being used in is in no way connected with being gay and because of these negative connotations of the statement it is definitely a put-down. I definitely recommend the National Ad Societies commercials with Wanda Sykes and Hilary Duff.
gitsie123 gitsie123 8 years
Caterpillargirl- I don't think there is any scientific data about the the relationship between saying "thats so gay" and ignorance. I pretty sure that's a general consensus.
willowdiamond willowdiamond 8 years
yes it is offensive, and yes I do get offended.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 8 years
No. I don't use it. I tend to use dumb, stupid, or annoying when referring to situations or actions. If my students use it, I jump down their throats.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I do get offended, but honestly, it's like somebody using the word n***er. It just makes them sound completely ignorant.
hills hills 8 years
well its used as an insult, so in a way pretty much racist......if i was gay i would be offended of people using it as yes its not v sociable
Allytta Allytta 8 years
in my school "jew" and "albanian" was a slur and it was offensive as I am jewish. but i let some "so gay" slip, just because it's all around and you just pick up on stuff like that...
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
I just think if it bothers someone, try and use a better word- why does it matter if you think its offensive or not, just use a different word that might actually make you sound intelligent rather than possibly ignorant
margokhal margokhal 8 years
I have mixed feelings about this. I use it sometimes, out of frustration. I've asked my gay/lesbian friends how they feel about it, and most of them don't care. My other straight girl friends don't say it because *they* find it offensive, and sometimes chastise me about it when it does slip. I'm not sure it can be "reclaimed" by the gay community. The n-word, though people think it has been reclaimed, has just been made okay to be used by everyone. It still means what it implies it means...personally I think the n-word and other offensive remarks ["so gay" I guess would count in this too] just need to be removed/extinguished from the language entirely. But that's virtually never going to happen, so...I don't know what to do about it.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Can't say cuz I'm not gay, but if gay people say it's offensive I believe them
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Yes. Recently, I heard a boy yell,"That's gay!" against another boy. His parents stood inches away (closer to him than I was), and they did nothing. I cringed. These parents are acquaintances of mine (and that is how it will remain). I'm surprised they did nothing to correct their son.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Of course it's offensive, it's mainly used in a negative connotation.
weffie weffie 8 years
I loved the Simpsons' poke at these type of kids, when Jimbo said to Nelson, "You kissed a girl? That is so gay!" I laughed forever at that one.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
My brother(RIP) always said it around me so I say it in conjuction with things that he would say it about i.e. a guy looking at another guy's butt or two girls making out.
nikkisoda nikkisoda 8 years
I think it is offensive and I make sure to say it whenever I hear someone say it.
heart-of-steele heart-of-steele 8 years
born and raised in San Francisco...this sort of thing is ALWAYS offensive and i will ALWAYS let you know if you say it when i'm around.
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