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By engaging with young people about this issue, we might even find that we learn something about their increasingly positive attitudes toward homosexuality. I've been arguing this point and many other "Politically incorrect" terms for years.
It is all in the Context of how someone is using the word.
You wouldn’t say “that’s so jew” or “that’s so black” – that would be so racist – so you should also refrain from saying “that’s so gay." This is the end of the argument for teachers and equality activists.
I would like to see some transcripts from interviews with young people to see how they use 'gay' in context. My friends sometimes say something is 'high school gay' to make the differentiation and to be ironic.
I only use 'that's so gay' when I see clearly homosexual behaviour.
Saying something like "I think it's gay that the teacher gave us homework" is an absolutely acceptable term in my view.
People need to start looking at the context in which words are used and not what words are being said.
The easy answer is to say that the denial of homophobia is a tokenistic rejection of what has become a socially unacceptable attitude.
Yet to automatically assume homophobia in youth, without listening to their perspectives, is to pre-judge them.
“That’s so gay” can be homophobic, if it is said with negative intent or within a homophobic environment.
But when it is said in settings where sexual minorities are open, out and proud, and heterosexual men are friends with their openly gay peers, it takes on different meanings. As openly gay student Eddie commented, “I don’t mind straight people saying ‘that’s so gay.’ I say it, so it would be hypocritical if I had an issue with it.” Further supporting this dual meaning, I found that heterosexual and gay students bonded through use of the word gay.
It’s just that it’s different to our own perspective.