“Casual” Homophobia

Photo: Denin Lawley/Unsplash

A problem nowadays is the amount of homophobia in everyday chat.

Recently, I’ve been out with friends, and I know at one point in the evening one of them is going to use the D or the F slur or describe something as “so gay”. I used to call them out on it, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s pointless to keep bringing it up.

According to Stonewall 99% of LGBTQIA+ students reported hearing phrases such as ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ while in school with 96% of students hearing terms of abuse specifically directed at LGBTQIA+ people including, ‘fag’, ‘dyke’ and ‘poof’.

These statements may seem like a small or insignificant issue in terms of homophobia in the world. But it is one that can have an effect on the LGBTQIA+ community.

The phrases, ‘that’s so gay’ and ‘you’re so gay’ are some of the most common forms of homophobic language.

Using the word ‘gay’ or to insult someone is not always reflective on insulting someone’s sexual orientation, but just meaning something bad. Which is terrible in a whole different light.

Using gay to insult someone – a community that has been suppressed and suffered numerously – is disgusting.

In the classroom of course isn’t the only place you will hear comments using gay as an insult. Nohomophobesdotcom tracks the use of four ‘casual’ homophobic terms on Twitter. These terms are ‘no homo’, ‘faggot’, ‘dyke’ and ‘so gay’.

As of the time of publishing, since 2012 alone, the phrase ‘so gay’, has been tweeted well over 14 million times. Out of the four phrases, ‘faggot’ was the most common with a staggering 42.7 million.

For me, a gay woman, it’s hard to ignore the blatant homophobia. Yet, at times I find myself doing so. Trying to explain each time why that language is inappropriate is tiring. The fact is after telling them numerous times, they haven’t learnt. And chances are it’s a losing battle.

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