Newsflash: "That's so Gay" is Not Okay

(hint: Neither is "He totally Jewed me" or "That's so retarded.")
Thanks for the image.

Yesterday was International Remember the Holocaust Day. Not a lot of people realized this, but that does not mean you cannot take a minute to acknowledge in tragedy that concluded with an inordinate number of lives lost and destroyed by intense hatred, disgusting intimidation, and a fear and incomprehension about other kinds of people.

Because that's what it is, incomprehension.

And although what you do every day or from time to time might not be tantamount to dictatorship and genocide, when you use slurs and deprecatory language, you are sharing and adding to that level of incomprehension that grew to create epic adversity against humanity.

Readers, Homosexuals are one of you. (In fact, you could be homosexual for all I know.) This seems obvious, but why do I have to remind you? Shut up about gay marriage and what any book you've ever read might have told you, because I am a devout Christian yet somehow I manage to respect and tolerate people who love other people with the same parts. Don't even think of gay marriage for a second, how about you think of gay respect?

Many opinions are held on homosexuality, but you know what is not an opinion? The question of whether or not they are human. What gives YOU the right to turn something they have been labeled into an insult? Why are you so bold as to think that it "doesn't matter" when you call things gay? I don't care what anyone says for any reason, I guarantee treating people with love and respect takes priority.

Homosexuals burned in death camps along with their Jewish brothers and sisters. The Roma people, many religious officials, rebels, and people with mental and physical disabilities suffered with them. Let's take a minute to remember everyone who saw the inhumanities of poisoned showers... human fat being used to make soap and candles... real, living, breathing, thinking people crying and wondering when it would stop.

So when does it stop? If you actually dare to imply you promote genocide, you can keep your opinion and get the hell off of this blog. Good. Now for the rest of you, my precious darlings that I pray nothing comparable every occurs to you, or anyone you love, or anyone ever... You pronounce yourself to be against genocide, and this is beautiful and worthy, however, what is your language saying?

Please never forget: people first, labels second.



Yvonne said...

hmm yes i agree. i don't like when people say 'that's so gay' as a way to say something sucks.
HOWEVER, i sometimes say 'that's retarded'. i have a friend who was talking to me about that once, and he said that his younger brother is actually 'retarded'... and that he doesn't get offended when people use that phrase.

Emlyn said...

Thank you Mary, for always standing up for what you believe in, never stop.
I just wanted to say in the paragraph that starts with "Homosexuals are one of you" that it sounds like you're telling homosexuals themselves to shut up about gay marriage? I don't believe you are, but I'm a bit confused at the wording. Just to let you know.
you might find this website thought provoking as well: -just a warning, the pictures are of a disturbing nature.
And this commercial is the best thing I've ever seen:

And just on what Yvonne said: I know some people aren't offended by the word retarded, and it's slipped out of me before, but I've been trying not to say it as I have a cousin with down syndrome and I know he has been called retarded in a hurtful way. I do not want to use a word that has hurt someone so much. I'd say just be aware that not everyone won't be offended by it.

Mary said...

@ emlyn: THANKS. Haha, that was worded so awkwardly. when I get passionate I totally forget about syntax and stuff, terrible habit. So glad you caught it before I sent the wrong message!

@ yvonne: The tricky thing about that is people are so varied. One person who considers himself "retarded" cannot represent the entire label. For example, just look at the n word debate that many black people have many different opinions on. I don't propose to have the correct answer, but I do know people who are offended by it and just wanted to put it out there.

futurelint said...

I work at a school and this drives me nuts! I'm known for the phrase "Learn better adjectives!" Growing up I remember kids saying things were "gay" or "retarded" but I figured that all that had stopped by now. Man, oh, man was I wrong! It seems to mostly be a middle school thing though, they seem to grow out of it in high school (most of them anyway).

keira antoia rose said...

You are such an amazing person. I have no doubt you will do great things with your life.

I cannot stand when people use slurs, or dejectory language. I am also a Christian, and the Catholic church is against gay marriage, but I in no way, follow that at all. I am not a homosexual, and I am Christian, but I proudly support gay marriage. We are all people.

xoxo Isabella Clarisse xoxo

dearilou said...

I used to work at a middle school and whenever a tween would yell "That is so gay!" I would yell "That is so straight!" in response. They would look at me, puzzled by my outburst, and I would explain that it makes just as much sense: meaning it makes no sense.
I would reprimand anyone who professed to hating someone else. Hate is not okay on any level.

Sexy Sadie said...

I hate when people say "retarded" I used to be a volunteer in a school for special children and adult, and some of them are even smarter than some people that I know... We are all people maybe with different beliefs, maybe with a different sexual preference, different IQ, different skin tone... but we are all human beings.

Much Love,


julia said...

i have noticed a rise in the word 'fag' being used which pisses me off beyond words. really people do you need to be that ignorant? along with that i'm in a holocaust literature class and if anyone wants the best gay holocaust account read 'men with the pink triangle' by heinz heger. it's so sad yet uplifting through the narrators trials and tribulations.

lydia said...

i too, am a christian, and i support gay marriage..and especially gay respect. not having respect for ANY type of person, whether gay or straight or any race or gender, is disrespectful in itself. i completely agree with what you've said. people are people, no matter what their views or race. and even those phrases show disrespect-we've turned those phrases into something okay, even though they aren't okay.

Anonymous said...

I know I have been guilty of using these when I was younger -- but, I quickly learned that these weren't appropriate terminology and that they hurt other people's feelings. I can only hope that people will "grow out of it" and learn the same lesson. And being bisexual -- it hurts a lot when my sisters use the phrase "that's so gay." They don't realize what they're doing -- but, I wish they did. A lot of us really need to think before we speak -- myself included. But, I'm really glad that you brought up how homosexuals and mentally handicapped people were also suffering alongside jews during the holocaust. I think a lot of people either don't know this or forget about it since in most history lessons it is only mentioned in passing. It annoys me to no end how homosexuals and mentally handicapped people are still discriminated against and laughingly teased, when recognition about the horrors of the holocaust have greatly diminished anti-jewish slurs. This doesn't seem to have held true for homosexuals and handicapped people. If someone were to openly voice opposition to jewish people they would most certainly be labeled a nazi immediately -- I don't see why then it is 'acceptable" to use homosexual slurs or to say things are "retarded." This post has certainly goaded me into eliminating any kind of slur from my vocabulary and to hopefully persuade other people to do so as well.

Katie said...

So I found out about your blof through Teen Vogue's Website. I must say that I think you are brilliant! Your perspectives on important issues are smart and honest,your style is incredible and you are CANADIAN YAY! (Am I sounding like a stalker?) I totally agree with what you say in this post. It always amazes me that teenagers who are so eager to be accepted by others can be so cruel to other people

Tavi said...

Thank you thank you thank you. I hate it when people use the word "gay" negatively-it's VERY common in middle school, as you can imagine. A lot of "tuff" guys use it to describe something as weak or girly or wussy and it's really frustrating.
Our local high school does a thing called Day of Silence each year where people (if they choose too) don't talk the entire school day, even in classes (you tell your teachers beforehand). Some people write notes but that kind of defeats the purpose. It's not an activity for the middle school but a few other people and myself did it last year just for our own morals and whenever someone would hear we were doing it in support of gay rights they'd go, "Ohhhh, wait you're gay?" T_____T Come ON people, now we can't stand up for something because it doesn't apply to us?
As for the whole "God hates gays" debate, it shouldn't play a part in laws regardless of what the lawmakers believe is true. Separation of Church and State, anyone?
I think using "gay" and "retarded" (and "Jew" but I haven't heard that one nearly as much) negatively is something most people grow out of by the time they're older, and because of this I've lately kind of given up on trying to get my classmates to stop saying it (and thank you for the reminder of the importance of emphasizing how rude it is to say!)
A mentally handicapped kid at my school had a seizure on the stairs today. As the teachers commanded the stairway cleared, but walking off a few people actually *laughed*, which is completely sickening.
I'm going to pass this on, thank you Mary! You are amazing.

Bob said...

Thank you for this blog, and for this post.

I'm guardedly optimistic about attitudes towards homosexuality changing for the better. I think that in spite of some setbacks there have been many changes for the better in recent years,and that the generation coming of age now is far less prejudiced then previous generations.

I think of the myriad of changes that have taken place in race relations in the the past fifty years. I think of John Lewis, who in 1965 was badly beaten during the civil rights march in Selma in 1965, and appeared on stage with Obama at the inauguration.

Bob said...

If you aren't familiar with it, check out the Sam Cooke song, "A Change is Gonna Come". It was issued in 1965, after Cooke's death,and it's the best song about the coming changes in the U.S. - and maybe the best song ever.

Adaora A. said...

I definetly give you props for this post. I don't know if I could have said it any better then you did. I like how you acknowedleged that the holocaust took a lot of lives that weren't necessarily Jewish ones. This was a point of history that was hearbreaking and unforgivable, and I find myself offended when people throw those terms around like it means nothing.

PS: Thanks for stopping by at my blog today.

this wheel's on fire said...

I love that you always say what you think. That's what I respect more than anything in a person. I completely agree that we cannot say those things. I always tell people to stop when I hear them, and usually get a laugh, but that doesn't mean that we should give up on the ideal.

On a MUCH lighter note, I always love your comments. Such a sweet idea :)

KEREN said...

Oh, how I agree.
It really does upset me, and I can promise you I hear the remark, "that's so gay," used multiple times in a day. I comment often, and always get an answer stating that it doesn't matter and that they don't mean it like that. That is angering since I don't see the point of using the remark in the first place.
Also, I am Jewish and it does piss me off when a person who picks up a penny hears "Oh, you're such a Jew." Racial remarks, homosexual slurs, and any other unjust discrimination disgusts me. Thank you for addressing the issue.

Fashion Fille said...

i gave you an award on my blog!

TheMinx said...

Love this. I think it's really important for everyone to be reminded sometimes, because we are not always mindful of our words. Thanks for your comment :)

Voodoo Child said...

Um, Amen. I defiantely agree that we are people first and the things that make us different are secondary and shouldn't be made fun of or reasons for discrimination.

joanne said...

I just want to thank you for respecting homosexuals because they are afterall, humans and not discriminating them - despite the fact of you being a christian.

Some of my friends(christians), don't respect homosexuals and I am kinda sensitive about that.
I mean they are different but to a certain extent similar to us.

Anyway, I love the fact that you are constantly blogging about what you believe in and standing up for it.
It gives us readers a different perspective of things and also give all those stereotypes out there a wake up call(:

mary said...

i found your blog on teenvogue(dot)com
i like it so muchhh!!!

Mandi said...

I agree. I was raised in the church and try to follow Christ... and it's frustrating to see other Christians look down on homosexuals. If homosexuality is a sin, who is to say that sin is worse than that person's pride? Because I'm pretty sure pride's a sin too. And we're all just people on this earth trying to figure stuff out.
haha anyway this is the first time I've commented and here I go on a rant along with you. :)

Saskia said...

thanks for the reminder.
it's really annoying how ruthless and ignorant some people are.
in berlin we have this huge monument especially for the jewish victims of the holocaust.well,it's basically a field with dozens of concrete steles on it-yeah,you could discuss about this a lot.but most people climb(!) on them and take photos doing superman poses or whatever.not only the tourists do it constantly but also a lot of germans which I feel really embarassed of.

love and youth said...

You're absolutely right! x

Amelia said...

I totally agree with all of this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very, very, very much. I hate when people throw the word gay around so casually. My god, they are people, too. And seriously, if 'god' really hated gays, why would he make them? w/e thats just my opinion (i'm an atheist). And I do realize that everyone has the right to their opinion (i.e. god hates gays), but I don't think that they have to be rude or get violent. Plus the media does not help at all. I mean, that Katy perry song, ur so gay is just stupid. I mean you wouldnt have a song that said 'ur so brown' or ur so chinese'. And a song called 'Ikissed a boy' would never get played.

aliceinparis said...

OK, Hayley just showed me this!! You are awesome. I love you:)
S. xox

Isabel said...

Every time I watch/read/listen to anything about the Holocaust I get very emotional. Thanks for posting this, you are perennially wonderful.

P.S. -I actually live in Ontario, not Montreal. But if I did I'd be hella excited and demand that you visit me!

Nellie said...

i agree that it's bad to use deragotary terms of course, and the holocaust was terrible indeed.

but it bugs me so much how the state of israel was formed because of the excuse of the holocaust. kicking people off their homeland is not right, no matter what. if the jews need a homeland, why not take part of Germany, the country where its rulers opressed them? What did the Palestinians do to deserve occupation for 60 years? The jews were treated terribly in the holocaust and now, some of those same jews (israelis) are treating palestinians worse than their own prisoners, putting them in the most cramped dense areas, and justifying killing thousands for the killing of their own few. sound familiar?

Ana said...

Thanks for posting this. You are so inspiring, fashionable, smart and always standing up for something.

Becca Jane said...

I agree with you totally on this. Absolutely.

fash said...

sigh of joy and relief...ONE TWO THREE "ahhhhhh"

beverley said...

awesome, I totally agree about saying 'That's so gay' and 'That's retarded'. I used to say them a LOT in middle school but then two years ago, I made friends with a bunch of gay people and I realized just how offensive it is. I now NEVER say 'that's so gay' or 'that's retarded', and if I hear someone say those I ALWAYS say:

Gay/Retarded is NOT a synonym for stupid!

Anonymous said...

wowww, you are completely my idol for posting this!
i'm so, so, so, SO sick of people saying something is gay, retarded, or making derogatory comments towards jewish people at school. didn't they teach that everyone should respect one another in like, what, kindergarten? so why the heck is it that people are in there teens, and even adulthood, and they still are not mature enough to grasp the concept that we are all made differently, and we shouldn't use others differences as a joke? ughghgh, people drive me insane with that. i'm glad i'm not the only one that thinks this way though, and thanks for posting this. :)

Chairunnisa said...

Hello's been a long time for me no seeing your blog...I felt so sorry that your blog isn't containing about fashion again...Is it true or maybe I am wrong?

Anonymous said...

brinkka2011 says: Youre so right. Im there with you. Your blog is surely worth a read if anyone comes throughout it. Im lucky I did because now Ive acquired a whole new view of this. I didnt realise that this issue was so important and so universal. You absolutely put it in perspective for me.