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'That's So Gay' Hurts Youth, University Of Michigan Study Finds

SirIanResearchers at the University of Michigan recently surveyed 114 lesbian, gay and bisexual students to see how the common phrase "that's so gay" has impacted their psychological lives.

The results are unsurprising:

Data suggests gay, lesbian and bisexual college students who heard “that’s so gay” more frequently were more likely to report feeling isolated and to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite or eating problems.

Practically every respondent reported hearing “that’s so gay” on campus at least once in the past 12 months. Nearly half of the students said they’ve heard the phrase more than 10 times within the year. Only 14 respondents—or 13 percent—hadn’t heard it at all.

Hearing the phrase more often was found to increase students’ risk of health problems and feelings of isolation.

The study's author, Michael Woodford, suggests that the phrase "that's so go" simply exacerbates pre-existing low self-esteems. "Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing ‘that’s so gay’ may elevate such perceptions,” he said, according to Detroit's local CBS affiliate.

"'That’s so gay’ conveys that there is something wrong with being gay. And, hearing such messages about one’s self can cause stress, which can manifest in headaches and other health concerns."

The study, called “That's So Gay!”: Examining the Covariates of Hearing This Expression Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual College Students", appears in the latest edition of Journal of American College Health.

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  1. You know what homophobia looks like? When people use HOMOPHOBIC sayings like "that's so gay" then demand you
    A.) Not react to it
    B.) Not judge the character of those who say it
    C.) Pretend it's not homophobic

    That's the face of the new homophobia. Get YOU to be ignorant, blinded and even accepting of it.

    Posted by: ConfettiJackson | Aug 30, 2012 11:20:18 PM

  2. I'm glad people are rejecting the use of ridiculous and heartless phrases like this directed toward the LGBT community. That soul and spirit is exactly what we need. Where we request respect, because rights only come after respect and guess what, there is zero respect behind the statement 'thats gay' in a negative context. None

    Posted by: Ruben | Aug 30, 2012 11:22:33 PM

  3. I had a student use that phrase in my presence a few years ago. I called her out on it, in front of all the students in the class. She began to cry. I stopped right there and said, "With those tears, now you know how I feel". You could have heard a pin drop in that classroom. I doubt she ever used that word in that context ever again. I pray I changed a few minds that day.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Aug 31, 2012 3:42:01 AM

  4. Can I clarify that I'm not advocating or even condoning the use of this term? I'm simply noting that decent people sometimes slip up and say stupid things.

    I'm probably the most P.C. person I know. It annoys people. I'm also a writer and editor, and know that good people sometimes slip up. For the record, I contacted my brother about this today, and he apologized and vowed never to say this again. And for the record, previous poster, my sister-in-law Gracia isn't remotely Hispanic.

    It's an absurdity to claim that I'm embracing homophobia. Next you'll all be claiming that I vote Republican. And again: calling someone or something gay is far different than using a racial slur.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 31, 2012 7:22:48 AM

  5. How is it that guns, knives and fighting have zero tollerance rules and hateful words are disregarded? These words that are being allowed to slip by are leathal. They cause depression, drug use and in some cases death. Children should feel protected in their learning environment. There needs to be a zero hate policy in place.

    Shirts Out Loud dedicates themselves to help fighting ignorance and hate through education. Support our cause in colaberation with this post and wear our That's So Gay T-shirt. If we wear enough shirts soon the message will get across clear. 'That's so gay' is offensive!

    Posted by: Shirts Out Loud | Sep 2, 2012 4:18:57 AM

  6. Test

    Posted by: Shirts Out Loud | Sep 2, 2012 4:22:46 AM

  7. Sorry guys here's the right link to the shirts www.etsy/shop.com/shirtsoutloud

    Posted by: Shirts Out Loud | Sep 2, 2012 4:27:56 AM

  8. Gender has nothing to do with love!www.meetbi.com is a serious bisexual Social Network Site.

    Posted by: jecccy | Sep 7, 2012 3:16:14 AM

  9. Tell you what, I'll stop using the phrase when you can tell me the entire history of the term "gay"

    If you take offense to the word, used in an entirely different context that of what I am using it in, then I will explain my stance, and if you persist, I will calmly tell you to go cry somewhere else.

    I'll give you a hint, the original definition of gay was a negative thing. It had nothing to do with sex.

    Posted by: R Kelly | Nov 11, 2012 4:52:06 PM

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