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Friday, June 24, 2011

Stop Saying "That's So Gay"

Frank Ski and Wanda Smith, VJ's for Atlanta's Hip Hop and R & B station, V-103 recently discussed phrases that the Black community needed to eliminate. Frank Ski said Black folks needed to stop saying the phrase, "You know what I'm saying?" instead of really saying what you want people to understand and comprehend.

It made me think about the various phrases that bother me. The first phrase that came to mind was, "That's so Gay!" That phrase sends chills up my spine and irritates me to no end. I'm offended by this phrase  because it is derogatory against gay and lesbian people (or LGBT people—Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender). Instead of saying that particular phrase, just say, "That's so bad." The other phrase that we need to get rid of is, "Don't cry like a girl." If that phrase so happens to come out of someone's mouth when they’re around my boys then I'm going to kindly take them aside and let them know that that phrase isn't appropriate around my children.

I think putting little boys in boxes, and saying that they can't show their feelings is insensitive, stereotypical, and just plain wrong. I'm teaching our children to talk about their feelings instead of hiding them and telling me what's on their minds. I believe such phrases can hurt our children and internally destroy them.

The media has brought attention to the recent apologies from Kobe Bryant and Tracy Morgan for hurling homophobic slurs.  While the LGBT and Ally community may have appreciated their apologies, I personally don't think it's good enough. Having been called out of my name,  I believe that community outreach and service working with LGBT students should have been  recommended, as well as, a substantial fine. Have you ever heard the expression to "put yourself in someone else's shoes?"

Wanda Sykes and Hillary Duff campaigned against the phrase, "That's so Gay," in 2008 promoting ads to educate communities about the effects the phrase can have on young people. So the next time you hear someone say one of these phrases, think about the young students that are too afraid to come out of the closet and end up hurting themselves or even worse killing themselves. As a society, we need to choose are words carefully around children and realize the impact that words can have on young people's lives. 

Having worked with high school and college students for over 10 years I have learned the importance of being sensitive with this age group and promoting information and knowledge that imparts acceptance and respect for every unique person.

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