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“That’s so Hetero.”

By Rachel LaMotte

Rachel“This homework assignment is so gay.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in class or walking down the hallway and have heard someone say that.

I normally think about saying something about how offensive that could be, but bite my tongue because I don’t want to make anyone upset with me, and could I even stop them from saying it forever?

Even if it’s not what was intended, saying an assignment or something else is “gay,” in the sense that it’s “stupid,” is saying that people who identify with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning (LGBTQ) community are stupid for being who they are. It also might make someone feel stupid for being different than someone else or different from what some people may think of as being “normal.”

I’ve grown up hearing this phrase in school, where people say it because they heard it from someone else, and there was only one person in my school who was “out”. I never thought about it in a derogatory way until I got to college, where it’s a much more diverse place.

When you get that homework assignment, turn to your friend and say, “this is so gay,” you’re not only degrading someone’s lifestyle, but you could be singling out the lifestyle of the person sitting next to you who heard everything you said.

That person may then start thinking that maybe they are stupid for being this way, even though they can’t, or necessarily want to, change who they are.

They may also start thinking that people won’t accept them for being who they are, which could end in hiding that part of their lives in order to fit in and be liked.

If you think about it, most people would never say “that’s so female” or “that’s so hetero,” because why would we say that a certain part of who we are is stupid?

I don’t know, but there’s a large amount of those phrases, and other derogatory terms for the LGBTQ community, being said on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The website thinkb4youspeak.com, has a Twitter counter which counts how many tweets have had the word “f*g,” “d*ke,” or phrase “so gay” in them. It’s shocking to see how high those numbers get, especially within a month. Today, there have been about 23,000 tweets containing the word “f*g,” 2,000 tweets with the word “d*ke,” and 6,000 tweets with the phrase “so gay.”

If you ever hear the phrase, don’t be afraid to mention how that could be offensive to some people, or even yourself.

I’ve been too shy in the past to say something, especially to my friends, but from now on, with your help, we can speak up against uses of derogatory names such as “f*g” for friends who do something their friends think is “gay” or using “gay” to mean stupid.

It’s our job to make this world a better place to live in. This is only one step towards that better place, but it’s a big one. We can make it a place where people won’t be afraid to be themselves.

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2 Responses to “That’s so Hetero.”

  1. anonymous Reply

    May 2, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Of course, there is a silver lining to the usage. It makes the word part of the common vernacular which eventually reduces whatever stigmata it has for even people who don’t care about LGBT issues (or who are against LGBT). A lot of power is lost when the shock value wears out.

  2. Philip Johnson Reply

    May 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Usage such as this diminishes you, me everyone. There is no silver lining. We dehumanize when we choose to be lazy with language. This article calls us back to a truer humanity. I’m grateful.

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