Recently Public Service Announcements ( PSA’s)have been running on TV with such notable celebrities as Wanda Sykes and Hillary Duff targeting teenagers and their use of the phrase “That’s so Gay.” That phrase is used as a deragatory term to describe something that is stupid, disgusting, …well you get the picture.
GLSEN ( Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), the Ad Council have joined forces in the Thinkb4YuSpeak Campaign to promote to the removal of the offensive use of the phrase and similar slang language among youth.
According to their site, over half of all negative homophobic language the LGBT youth hear is at school. Damaging language more likely ends up in bullying and harassment of these youth. Equally shocking and sobering, are that 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being harassed at school last year. Over 1/3 of them have been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation. This set of youth, our youth, are in the most vulnerable and unusafe situations where they should feel the greatest safety net.
Here are the ramifications:
Such frequent harassment results in LGBT students being more likely than others to:
- Feel unsafe
- Miss school
- Receive lower grades
- Not attend college
It has gotten so bad that school districts in Chicago are even thinking of creating a separate school for LGBT students. Has our intolerance sunk so low that we cannot accomodate all our citizens and our youth in our public school systems? This speaks volumes of our society.
On the Thinkb4YouSpeak wbsite there are also great resources for parents and educators.
This campaign to change the language of our youth is simply to get them to think before they speak. Most of the time it is said with no ill intent but simply as a phrase to say. Hopefully, by educating, many of our youth will take the lead and change this habit. Young people often do and then become the vehicle to make a difference. We are counting on them.
So let’s all do our part and take the Hate out of our talk.
GLSEN Website: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home/index.html
Thinkb4YouSpeak Website: http://thinkb4youspeak.com/