That’s so… ridiculous

Smitha Gundavajhala

GSA_poster_thumbGSA posters are an insipid way of dealing with homophobia



“You’re so naive.” “How ludicrous of you!” “That is so insipid.”

These shouts reverberate through near-empty halls, science classrooms, and even in the office. There’s a rampant tumbleweed of mockery cartwheeling around campus. The new GSA posters are the perpetrators.

All across MVHS, teachers have put up posters to combat the superfluous and often uncalled-for use of the word “gay”. “I think I just heard you say, ‘That’s so gay!’” the posters say, providing a list of other words that could be used.

But the posters have merely turned the problem on its head and made things worse: where students have previously used gay to mean ludicrous, insipid, or pathetic, they are now using those words in reference to gays. It is almost as if the poster is a thesaurus entry, providing all of these words to describe the LGBT. As a result, the GSA has unwittingly put words into the students’ mouths.

Homophobia is a cause that people have always been fighting outwardly, regardless of what is said behind closed doors. But by calling attention to the word “gay” in such a ridiculous way, GSA has actually given students something to make fun of. Some students that have never been against LGBT have been sucked into the game. Because that is all that the entire campaign is, some sort of game.

Of course, as with any other school, MVHS is not immune to degrading, anti-LGBT jokes. This reporter cannot speak for whether these words are meant as a joke or whether they are hostile in nature, but is strongly inclined to believe the former. There is no denying that these slurs are present.The GSA poster looks like a dictionary entry, providing alternatives to the frivolous use of the word “gay”. However, these words have become synonyms for “gay” in an elaborate joke on LGBT, one that the GSA has unknowingly fueled with this poster. Photo by Smitha Gundavajhala.

However, the campaign on this one word seems trifling and almost a waste of energy and focus in the light of the larger struggles of the LGBT community. Because the posters are so small, it is most likely that students will have a laugh and then forget about the whole thing. This cause deserves so much stronger a movement than that.

As commendable as it is that students have found a way to champion their cause, it is just as important that GSA—and those teachers and students that support it—go about this the right way. There are so many right ways GSA could have supported the LGBT community.

Look at Community Leadership’s AIDS Week, or even the school’s front of solidarity with former coach and teacher Ron Freeman’s untimely passing. Not to say that LGBT are not an important cause, but if we have another lackluster assembly or an almost insulting campaign such as this one, this cause could very well become a joke.

Take a moment and think about the best way to fight ignorance. The answer is simple: with knowledge. Aim to educate and integrate, rather than focus on one small aspect of the larger problem and make it worse. Not all students on campus may be aware of the plight of homosexual, bisexual and transsexuals in society, and popular usage of the word “gay” is a result. Talk to people about the concerns and struggles of LGBT students on campus. Think of new ways to make them feel welcome—namely, treating them like they are also normal students. Spread awareness, not mockery.

Peel those posters off your walls and put on your best game face. It’s about time the war on ignorance began.