Abigail Risser

Staff Writer

That shirt is so gay!

Actually, if the shirt is weird, lame, feminine (referring to a male wearing it), etc. then it in fact is weird, lame, feminine, etc.—not gay.

The word ‘gay’ has two meanings: being carefree or happy, or a homosexual individual (primarily directed towards men, but covers both). With this in mind, ‘gay’ should never be used as a derogatory adjective, along with other slurs as well. To someone who identifies as a heterosexual, or even to some in the LBGT+ community, this may not seem like an important topic to discuss, but with such a high depression and suicide rate among the LGBT+ community, I believe it is relevant and essential.

Being on such a diverse campus, I think it is important for everyone to know what can be offensive to someone who is gay, a lesbian, transgender, etc. You may be wondering how calling a shirt gay can relate to higher depression and suicides rates, and yes, it does seem relatively insignificant. But to someone who is struggling with their identity, it can be devastating to hear the word ‘gay’ used in a negative way. Not every gay individual may feel this way, but one should not assume if you know someone who is gay doesn’t care that everyone who is gay feels the same. I strongly urge you, if you are gay, to change your vocabulary. Just because you are gay doesn’t make it an okay term to use. It’s 2017. This use of the word should be eliminated.

I would like to also address other words in the topic. Dyke, f*g, f*ggot, and queer are the main ones that come to mind, though I’m aware there are many, many others that some people may keep in their vocabulary.

You may have heard the term “baby dyke”, but this is only used by other lesbians to refer to a lesbian under 18 or one who has just come out to being a lesbian. ‘Dyke’ is never okay to call someone unless clear communication is between you and whatever girl and she is okay with it being said jokingly (however it is really a word only lesbians may use). Queer is also like this. It should only be used if someone identifies as queer or is okay to the person to use. Though the meaning of the word queer has changed, it used to be derogatory and may be offensive to some people. The best thing to do for these two words is communicate with the person in question.
F*g and f*ggot are words that should never be used. They are some of the worst slang you can use and are not only offensive, but are hurtful as well. Being a lesbian, I have personally been called these, my girlfriend as well, and it feels awful being on the receiving end. Calling someone this with hate can make someone who is already depressed feel worse, and seemingly small things like this can build up. Not everyone is going to be okay with someone being gay/lesbian, and someone can’t be force to. Everyone’s beliefs and opinions are valid. But spreading hate is never acceptable.

Please be careful what you say. Though it may be habit, to call something gay or yell f*g or dyke, I urge you to work hard to move away to using such terms—at least keep in in your head.

So, remember, that shirt is not gay.