GSA Members Decry Homophobic Phrase ‘that’s gay’

Cianna Hollinger, Staff Writer

Even with the higher level of acceptance for students open about their sexuality here, not many phrases are as jarring for members of the LGBTQ+ than “That’s so gay,” often used among students to express annoyance at an inconvenience.
These slurs are considered derogatory terms for their insulting and offensive nature, as people have taken the word and turned into a phrase that’s degrading. Gay Straight Alliance club advisor Leanne Haghighi said that the term is problematic for several reasons.
“I think it’s a substitute for something negative,”said Haghighi, who teaches special education. “It’s insinuating then that ‘gay’ is something stupid, and that’s in my mind why the term is used.”
Haghighi also said that the pervasive nature of the phrase makes it difficult for the students who use it to perceive how it might be offensive to other groups of people.
“People don’t recognize the harm that comes with that,” Haghighi said. “So they’ve heard it, picked upon it, and incorporated it into their language without thinking much about how it impacts students who do identify.”
Other examples of derogtary behavior can occur be- tween two male students who meet up and give each other a hug, then tell each other, “No homo, bro.” She interprets this insult to be linked to toxic masculinity, the need for males to hide their true feelings or risk looking weak to their peers.
“It’s also insinuating that maybe somebody’s doing something that would be considered feminine,”Haghighi said. “That feeds back into toxic masculinity. That you have to meet certain criteria to be considered a man.’’
GSA club president Bailey MacAulay, said that this implicit discrimination might make others suppress their own thoughts and feelings.
“It’s okay to be whoever you want to,” MacAulay said. “But you are just afraid of what others might think.”
MacAulay hopes that those who say “that’s so gay” as a way to express frustration can use more specific phrases to do so.
“People who don’t identify shouldn’t do that,”MacAulay said. “Especially if they don’t know what
they’re talking about.” MacAulay suggests that teachers can help stop the use of slurs and eventually provide a safer space for those who are LGBTQ+ on campus.
“Teachers should be able to step in and help with the problem,” she said.