Today on my typical lazy Sunday, I read an interesting article in The Sun Herald, titled “Getting a few things straight about gay put-downs.” Written by Sam de Brito, the piece talks about the use of the phrase ‘so gay’ and why we should be moving away from it.
Apart from using the word ‘like’ as punctuation, the phrase ‘so gay’ was probably the most popular expression when I was growing up. Although we didn’t mean for this to be negative towards the gay community, LA comedian Todd Glass explains in the above article, “If you’ve used the word [gay] without any harm…you didn’t do anything wrong but once someone makes you privy to what it does, if you still wanna use it, that’s the problem.”
In high school, my mum and her friends would shout a *bugurk!!* (chicken) sound every time I said the word ‘like’ in the hopes of curbing my bad habit. Being 16, I found this (like most things) extremely annoying and embarrassing. Now though, considering I no longer sound like Kim Kardashian, I am grateful for the tactic.
These days, I’ve had to make a conscious effort to switch from using the phrase ‘so gay’ to something more appropriate. Some people argue that this is being overly politically correct. However, constantly hearing that your sexuality is a put-down and therefore bad can have a very a negative impact. With so many words in the English language, why choose to say something that could be hurtful and damaging to people?
So if you use the phrase, just take a second to think of a word to replace it with and opt for that instead. If your peers are saying it, try explaining to them why you think a different word would be better and if that doesn’t work, just shout *bugurk!!* until they get the message.