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That’s So Straight

LGBTQ+ people use the rainbow flag as a source of pride.

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LGBTQ+ people use the rainbow flag as a source of pride.

By FAYTHE MILLER, North Managing Editor

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Throughout the halls of every school words of hate and harm are spoken or heard by thousands of students each year. Statistics from the Stop Bullying campaign show that in the US alone one in four young adults are bullied throughout their teenage years.

Bullying itself is an act of mistreatment of someone vulnerable, and in modern day situations it has progressed past physical altercations or verbal teasing. In the past bullying is defined by harm done directly and intentionally, however, hate speech is often overlook even though the same damage is done.

Hate speech is simply defined as speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people. Words that are chosen directly to insult a race, sexual orientation, disability or gender fall under this umbrella of bullying.

So what does hate speech actually insinuate?  It perpetuates the stereotypes, stigmas and negative tone towards large groups of individuals who are often discriminated against. The first phrase that comes to mind is “That’s gay”, which can seem like a rather innocent way to say something isn’t cool, but, by using a group of people’s identities to describe something negatively, it then becomes an attack on the individual rather than the issue at hand.

People expand on the statement by claiming they are not homophobic and they didn’t mean harm, however this is an insult to a person and a key part of who they are as an individual. It is seldom heard that when something doesn’t work out a person exclaims “That’s so straight!”

That is due to the majority of people identifying as straight, so it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But using words such as gay perpetuates the stigma that being gay is less than or not desirable. This separation and discrimination fuels homophobia and ultimately hurts a large group of people.

Other phrases such as variations of stigmatizing words are used in common teen language without repercussions or realization of the severity and discrimination. While people who largely use hate speech defend themselves with the 1st Amendment it is important to note that while given the freedom of speech, it does not mean one should utilize it in an offensive way.  

For questions or concerns contact [email protected]

 

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