The Voice

The Voice

The Voice

Tyler’s Rant: Gay is not Stupid

Tyler Davis, Opinion Columnist
Tyler Davis, Opinion Columnist
Tyler Davis, Opinion Columnist

I cannot possibly explain to you how sick I am of hearing things described as being “gay.” I don’t hear it from everyone, but those I do hear it from use it too much. It’s not like people use “straight” as a negative adjective.

Gay is used to describe both people and things. I walk through the halls, and I hear things like, “Oh dude that test was so gay.” It just doesn’t make sense, and honestly makes you sound like the biggest meathead of all time.

“If the words don’t describe the thing, then it’s inappropriate,” said freshman Briana Shannon.

The use of the word gay as a stigma wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t hear it so often. I feel like I can’t go anywhere without hearing it – just turning on any kind of online gaming network increases my chances of being called a faggot tenfold.

“It is extremely immature for people to say gay…as a demeaning adjective,” said senior Brad Kasnick. “It’s 2010 – I really think we should have grown out of it by now.”

There is an argument that, over time and over usage, the meaning of a word degrades and evolves. So, basically what’s being said here is that because so many people use gay now in general speech, it’s okay. Does that mean it would be okay for me to start saying nigger in everyday conversation? I mean, people used it constantly about 30 or 40 years ago, so why not? Its meaning degrades, right?

Someone started to say all slurs at some point with the intention of hurting some group of people, so using these kinds of words now only sets the community as a whole back even further. The most frequently used slang is often the most prone to breed hate.

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, in 2009 nearly 9 out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT) students have faced harassment in their schools based on their sexual orientation. The language that is used in schools by the students fosters the environment that develops. It is this kind of environment that makes two-thirds of LGBT students feel unsafe solely because of their sexuality. Nearly a third admitted to skipping class due to those concerns. With those kinds of figures and that kind of data, you’d think we live in the 1950s.

But we don’t. We live in the age of information – data has never been as accessible as it is now, so there is absolutely no excuse for anyone to remain ignorant of their diction – especially 14-through-18-year-old boys and girls who spend most of their time on the Internet as it is.

Though gay is far too prevalent today, most people don’t actually use this word with malicious intent.

“I commonly do [say it],” said junior Amanda Rosso. “I don’t think [that gay and stupid] are synonymous, but it is used so frequently as a negative adjective that sometimes it slips out.”

Even the world at large is beginning to accept the slang meaning of the word. This is an absolutely terrifying prospect. In 2006, the BBC defended one of their DJs for calling a cell phone ring tone gay by saying that it is simply the mainstream “hip” slang to use. It is what the kids say, and the kids do control slang, but in this case it only serves to tarnish the misrepresented gay community even further.

Worldwide media corporations such as BBC need to be more aware that their content is available to the global community. Though some corporations are not sensitive to this issue, some actually are, like Universal Pictures. Vince Vaughn in the movie The Dilemma says, “Electric cars are gay.” The phrase was just pulled from the movie by Universal Pictures after both the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper complained. Vaughn stated that, “joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together,” but GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios rebutted, “Jokes can bring people together, but they can also push us apart.”

Some people may consider it just a word, but slang has a larger effect on society than people like to give credit.

“I think it gives a negative connotation to something that is a personal choice which should be respected or at the very least not used as a synonym for stupid,” said Rosso.

Slang words like gay don’t accurately reflect society anymore. I don’t truly believe that every kid that uses gay as a synonym for stupid hates gay people. Sure, some do, but not every kid. Using words like this is just a throwback to older times and values that aren’t really relevant anymore.

“The stigma was created from bad media representation and old values,” said Kasnick. “Too literal biblical interpretations that grow into parents teaching kids that homosexuals are ‘evil’ and it gets passed from generation to generation every time getting more and more skewed.”

In a world where it’s so necessary to be politically correct, where race is so touchy, where gender equality is so important, why do the teens of America frame themselves in such a negative light by speaking so ignorantly? We are not paying testament to our rights, we are not treating each other as we should, nor are we building the accepting, kind community of the future that has been worked for so hard in the past.

So, why don’t you try watching your mouth for once?

View Comments (2)
About the Contributor
Tyler Davis, Author

Comments (2)

All The Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    adminFeb 3, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Great Article!

  • T

    Tyler DavisFeb 3, 2011 at 12:17 am

    This is outrageous! Burn this man at the stake!