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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not so Good-Natured

Letter Sent to TIME

I must take issue with John Poniewozik's characterization of the expression, "That's so gay!" as good-natured and not homophobic ("Who Can Say What?", April 23). To hundreds of thousands of teens in middle schools and in high schools around the country, that seemingly harmless phrase is considered very hurtful and has led to myriad problems for those on the receiving end of such a remark. To them it means "stupid" or "worthless." And it is used all too frequently. According to a 2005 study of high school students conducted by GLSEN--the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network--over three-fourths had heard that epithet along with "faggot" and "dyke" in the corridors and classrooms of our nation's schools. This isn't good-natured, and it is certainly not useful in creating a successful learning environment for all of our kids.

Steve Charing
Media Relations
PFLAG-Howard County (MD)

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