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April 6, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

This Vice President’s Column is So Gay

Oh Christ, where do I begin?

I got the inspiration for this column whilst on a bus between the Pipitea and Kelburn Campuses. I was sitting there, minding my own business, when I heard someone behind me say to their friend, “Yeah, I’m gonna quit my job soon. The hours are so stupid and it’s… just so gay.”

I’m sorry. I must be missing something here. This girl’s job has a sexual orientation? Well that’s new.

In all seriousness however, it really does irk me when people say “That’s gay,” or “That’s retarded,” It’s just so not cool. I know that many people believe that they are not actively homophobic in saying this, and I do realise it is just a habit you pick up at school, or whatever, and that when you use it in that context – as in, a synonym for ‘stupid’ or ‘lame’, you don’t mean to say that being gay is necessarily a bad thing. However, you must consider the social impacts of the things you say.

There’s no denying that when you say that something is gay, it implies that those two words are synonymous with something that is bad, wrong, silly—you know all the negative adjectives. While you may not mean it, in saying such phrases you are actually actively contributing to homophobia, discrimination and prejudice against gay people. The subtext of what you are saying is that it is bad or wrong to be gay. For most of you, I’m sure you don’t want to be saying this at all. But you are.

The use of the phrase in primary schools affects our queer youth – it’s undeniable. I attribute much of my personal internalised homophobia (that’s basically where you’re really homophobic because you are gay, and terrified of it) to the influence of my peers during my early development. “Yeah, but we’re at university, not primary school, Freya. People know the difference.” Sure, that is partly true. But at the same time, in continuing to say that something is gay you are perpetuating its acceptance in everyone’s common day to day conversation, which as I’m sure you can work out, inevitably trickles down to every faction of society.

It’s just something to think about.

It is everyone’s responsibility to make this campus a safe and happy campus (zomg where is my pun about ‘happy campers’ now?). We all contribute to the atmosphere between students. It’s a pretty simple concept of what goes around comes around. You may not be actively homophobic, transphobic, moustache-on-a-lady-phobic, racist,classist or sexist, but please, recognise the impact that what you say and do has on other people—bigotry is just not sexy.

Gee willikers, Christopher Robin. Don’t even get me started on “That’s retarded.”


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  1. Bobby says:

    you go guuuuurl!

    push it diva!

    ….aaaaaand catch it!

    spring’s comin and you don’t wanna be caught in suede!

  2. Kerry says:

    Excellent, Freya!

    You are our own personal Xena-of-the-talkzone, keep heroically pointing out the semantics to the ‘unthinking homophobes’.
    They’re the ones who will change; the total homophobes have no hope for reintegration into intelligent (or even stylish!) society, but that’s their own loss.

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