So Gay

When my mom came out, my sister and I were using “so gay” a lot.  It was tail end of the 90s and it was fairly common, at least around Kansas City.  My sister and I weren’t as freewheeling with it as a Smurf uses “smurf,” but we had no problem chucking it at anything we thought stupid or lame.

It wasn’t until one day I noticed my mom crying.  I don’t remember the full context, but I know we were at the mall and my sister or I had just called something “so gay.”  It could’ve been someone’s pants, a movie poster, or a new restaurant in the food court.  Honestly, we used it so often I didn’t even hear the word “gay.”  But my mom did, and she said, “Will you two please stop using that?”

What?  Gay?” my sister said.  “Gay, gay, soooooo gay?”

My sister wasn’t handling my mother’s declaration well, and it pissed her off that my mom wanted to police her vocabulary.  My sister started screaming how it doesn’t mean “faggot,” which only made everyone in the mall take notice.  My sister said that it was just a way of saying something “sucks,” and that just because my mom decided to tell everyone she likes women didn’t give her the right to dictate what other people could and could not say.

I took my sister’s side and defended her dumb logic.  Eventually, my mom backed down.  She was embarrassed and hurt.  I felt awful.   I knew she wasn’t trying to control us.  She was just tired of hearing “gay” used that way.  I can’t imagine how many derogatory comments and bad gay jokes she’d endured over the years, fake laughing and smiling to keep her cover.

Still, even to this day, I don’t think “so gay” is that offensive.  I think it’s lazy, and I think plopping “so” in there makes a person sound like an idiot.

But I understand some are offended, so I’ve stopped using it.  “Gay” by itself isn’t derogatory.  Even with the addition of “so,” it’s not really that bad, but it’s still using a word that defines a group of people in a negative light.  It’s diminishing.  I mean, if you see something that isn’t very tall, you don’t say, “That’s so Chinese.”  Or maybe you do.

photo credit: <a href=” Hancock</a> via <a href=”; <a href=”;

photo credit: <a href=”; via <a href=”; <a href=”;