That’s SO… Think B4 You Speak

31 05 2009
Source: GLSEN

Source: GLSEN

That’s so…CHEERLEADER! What if you said that when someone said something vacuous? How do you think that would make cheerleaders feel? Or what if you said “That’s so jock” if someone talks like they are dumb…like a football player who can complete a pass, but not a sentence?

Now imagine that you’re gay and people make the comment “That’s so gay!” as if to say that’s stupid or queer or effeminate or whatever. How do you think that makes you feel as a gay person? Do you ever stop to think about your language and how it affects others?

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is running a campaign now called ThinkB4YouSpeak to make people aware of their use of homophobic language and to reduce bullying of gay people. The campaign to reduce bullying kicked off with the 4/17/09 Day of Silence, which I wrote about in a blog post entitled LGBT (Gay) in America, LGBT in Iraq.

This is from the GLSEN website and tells what the organization stands for:

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.

Dr. Jill Biden, a lifelong educator and wife of the vice president, will speak at the GLSEN Respect Awards, a gala in New York on 6/1/09.

Carl Walker-Hoover - Credit: www.towleroad.com

Carl Walker-Hoover - Credit: http://www.towleroad.com

Perhaps you think that every kid gets teased in school so what’s the big deal, right? Think again. Children are committing suicide after being bullied and called gay repeatedly. An example is Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old Massachusetts sixth grader who hanged himself after yet another day of school bullies calling him gay, making fun of the way he dressed, and threatening him. His mother had called the school repeatedly before this happened. Now she lives with the devastating and senseless loss of her son.

What can you do? Stand up and call people on it when they use language that belittles, diminishes, or bullies gay people. Notify the school if your child is being bullied and make sure that steps are being taken for it to stop. If your child is a bully, educate them on the possibly devastating effects of their actions and let them know that there will be zero tolerance for that kind of language. Educate yourself by reading the materials on the GLSEN website.

Here’s a video from the ThinkB4YouSpeak campaign that makes the point of how ridiculous and hurtful it is to call something gay and what you can do about it.

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4 responses

8 06 2009
Twitted by Delicatesa

[…] This post was Twitted by Delicatesa – Real-url.org […]

8 06 2009
media designer

Wow – great post.. And great posters too. Thanks for this.

6 07 2009
HaveAGayDay

I appreciate your posts on things like this. My sister is gay and recently came out of the closet to our extended family. People using the word gay to say that something is stupid is derogatory and needs to be stopped. You know what bothers me is that no one actually seems to remember that “gay” was once a word to mean “happy”. And I think that maybe that became a word to describe homosexuals because they are happy being that way.

23 03 2010
GetOverIt

WHO CARES?! Look, that’s just how people are. If you want to be treated equally, then you’re going to get teased and trampled on because that’s how everyone treats each other. Just because you have a “situation” doesn’t mean you get special privileges or get treated nicely, because then you’re not being treated equally, you’re being treated better. Kids and adults are both mean and if someone is different in ANY way they’re going to get ridiculed for it. I think that one reason that our country–and even our world–is so messed up is because people are so sensitive. When someone says something mean, brush it off and don’t let it get to you. It’s that simple. I’m in high school and I get pushed around and made fun of all day because of things that I have no control over, but I don’t care because it’s not worth getting all “touchy-feely” over…..just my thought on the matter.

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