It’s Not Gay
Yesterday was National Day Against Homophobia.

On the radio this morning they mentioned that in Canada, almost half of our population feel that homosexuality is ‘abnormal’ or ‘wrong’ and that 36% of the population are uncomfortable with homosexuality.

It makes me very sad that these numbers are so high, especially in Canada, a country that prides itself on being tolerant. If these numbers are accurate, it’s proof that we still have a long ways to go.

I went to an anti-oppression workshop a couple of months ago and one of the things that we talked about was the use of slang that was oppressive to people – like the word ‘gay’. As in, “that’s so gay” or, “it’s gay.” The problem with the use of the word in this sense is the word ‘gay’ is being used in a negative manner, implying that there is something wrong with being gay.

I don’t think that when people use that word they’re being mean or malicious. I don’t know that they’re thinking about what they’re saying or the implications behind it. And because everyone is saying it, it makes it that much more common.

I used to use that saying a lot, without really thinking about it. A couple of weeks after the workshop I had lunch with some people I know and while talking about something, I slipped and said, ‘That’s so gay.” There was a bunch of us talking at the same time and I don’t know that anyone had heard me, but I knew that I had said it and I felt ashamed because I knew better. And even worse was the fact that at least one of the people at the table with us was openly gay. I snuck at look at the person and wondered if he had heard me and wondered if he had heard me, how that comment would have made him feel. I’m thinking not very good.

I never really thought that declaring something to be gay could be construed as homophobic until I said it in front of a person that was gay and then I asked myself how a comment such as that made him feel. I have not used that saying since.

Do your part to fight homophobia – if you see it happening, say something about it, and if you want more information about the fight against homophobia, then check out the website for National Day Against Homophobia.

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