This is a perfect example of how even intelligent people can carelessly cut down an entire group of people- and as a parent, this plants a seed in our children that makes them unconsciously equate “gay” with negativity. What happens when later, a child who has been using the word, “gay” for years (or heard it at home) to mean ugly, stupid, boring, etc and then s/he meets someone who identifies as gay, or ends up identifying as homosexual themselves? You can start to see how this simple, one-syllable word can have great and lasting effects in the minds, hearts, lives and even physical safety of the children in it.
Over half of US students report hearing homophobic remarks at school. 9 out of 10 LGBT students report being harassed at school in the last year. Over one-third of LGBT students have been physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Whether you identify as gay or not, I’m sure you can understand how fearing (any type of) abuse because of the way you were born should be put to an immediate stop, not carelessly adopted. Read more on damaging language and how it leads to bullying and harassment here.
Would it be fair to substitute, “Cheerleader” for “stupid”?
No. Because we haven’t as a society agreed that stereotyping and name-calling cheerleaders is acceptable- nor should we. Substituting “gay” for something negative is just as bad- if not worse, because one can choose to be a cheerleader. Most people that identify as gay do not feel that it was a choice and there is much scientific evidence to back it up. It makes using “gay” as a derogatory term just as cruel and ignorant as if it we substituted gay for white, black, Asian or female. Or, you know, “sixteen year old boy with a cheezy mustache”.
Let Wanda explain:
The point of Gay Red Shirt Day is simple:
“We have no agenda other than wanting to help destigmatise the word ‘gay’. As parents of children who may or may not be LGBTQ we are standing up for their future.”
Parents have a responsibility to pay attention to the words and world around our kids. Let’s watch our language at home and come up with more creative, specific alternatives.
Here’s my shirt- show me yours by posting pics to my Facebook wall!
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I distinctly recall an overtly homosexual friend of mine using the term "homo" as a derogatory word. What does that mean?