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Saying “That’s So Gay” Does More Damage Than You Think

In something to think about news, The Huffington Post discussed the effects of a commonly used anti-gay phrase. The phrase “that’s so gay” may be more detrimental than it is widely believed. In the Journal of American College Health, a study was conducted to see what the condescending phrase affected a group of LGBT college students.  The study used a survey to determine how when hearing the phrase made the participants feel. This is what they found:

“more frequently were more likely to report feeling isolated and to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite or eating problems.”

Also note that of the 114 participants, only about 10 percent of them gad not encountered the phrase while on campus. The researcher, Assistant Professor at U-M Michael Woodford, further elaborated on the negative phrase’s impact:

Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing ‘that’s so gay’ may elevate such perceptions. That’s so gay’ conveys that there is something wrong with being gay.

Policies and educational programs are needed to help students, staff and faculty to understand that such language can be harmful to gay students. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to eliminate the phrase from campuses.”

Remember that everyone is different. We process things like situations, environments, events, even words differently so what you or I may be able to bush off, some are unable to do so. A study done at the University of Concordia  This is in conjunction with the study done last year by stating the negative effects bullying can have on someone. Doctoral student, Michael Benibgui, also found how severe homophobia has on LGBT:

“Compared to their heterosexual peers, suicide rates are up to 14 times higher among lesbian, gay and bisexual high school and college students,”

Overall, I agree with Woodford when he says that the phrase leads to the assumption that there is something is wrong with being gay.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING GAY…or bisexual, transgendered, lesbian, questioning, asexual or straight. That’s why it’s important to discuss when it comes up why it’s not a joke and to respect why people have such a negative reaction when hearing the condescending phrase. Definitely something to think about.



Sly Merritt has a BA in psychology/sociology. MA in clinical psychology. He's a flip flop wearing hippy with a peaceloving mindset. Even pacifists like him know when it's time to do all we can for LGBTQ equality. Sly's views are all opinions not advice.

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