Have you ever heard someone describe someones t-shirt as 'really gay' or someones new hair cut as 'so gay?' I have and I'm absolutely sick of it. They are not gay, they are things. A t-shirt doesn't have the ability to love, let alone love another t-shirt.
According to a new study by the LGBT rights charity Stonewall, nearly every single teenager that is apart of the LGBT community in the UK, say that they've heard the word 'gay' being used as an insult. Stonewall is a charity close to my heart and you may have seen their messages on buses or on t-shirts all over the place. They want to stop young people using the word 'gay' as a negative adjective.
I know plenty of people who use the word 'gay' with negative connotations when it comes to describing things as simple as songs, art or everyday objects. It didn't really offend me as a young teenager because it's used so freely and frequently, but looking at it now on a more mature level, it can cause a negative outlook on the gay community. There are plenty of young kids and teenagers who are confused with their sexuality, and when they hear the word 'gay' in a negative way, they're going to think being gay is a negative thing.
The new campaign to raise awareness on this issue by Stonewall, includes slogans like the one above and "Gay. Lets get the meaning straight." I know that it won't change things drastically. Even 55% of the people who took part in Stonewalls study said that they've been bullied because of their sexuality, but I hope that it stops some people from using 'gay' as a negative adjective, because it's not. It make things even harder for those who are gay to tell their friends who they really are.
Just recently, I was delighted to find out that Stonewall is working with the Church of England to try and end homophobic bullying in Church schools. The Archbishop of Canterbury even said he would "specifically target" gay hate. It's nice to see that two completely different groups of people are working together to target something that they both believe should end. Even though the Church of England are clearly against homosexuality, I think it's a beautiful thing they're doing by helping LGBT youth all over the UK.
If you are reading this from the U.K. or any country where being gay is socially normal, or somewhere where gay marriage is legal, we are so blessed to have the rights we have. We fought hard for these rights, and even though no discrimination is hard to ask for, I'm sure a lot of eyes will be opened from this campaign.
We should also think about all the people part of the LGBT community that live in countries that are homophobic or where being gay is punishable by law. Stephen Fry recently released a two part documentary called 'Out There'. It was about all the homophobic countries around the world, showcasing some horrific visuals and stories. When we hear things like the legalisation of same-sex marriage in certain countries or states, we think we've come so far, when all we have to do is Google all the homophobic things happening in places like Uganda or Russia, to realise that we've only completed only a fraction of the marathon.
If you're affected by any of the things in this blog post, you can contact visit the Stonewall website or ring them on 08000502020 (UK only).