Commentary

Read the latest commentary from The Advocate, the leading source for LGBT news and politics. Discover what public figures and pundits have to say about gay issues and topics that touch the lives of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and its allies. Find op-eds from columnists like HIV activist Tyler Curry or Advocate.com editors Michelle Garcia and Neal Broverman. The experts weigh in on the latest developments in the LGBT rights movement, and The Advocate offers an outlet for their commentary.
Covert Hate Speech Thats So Gay

Covert Hate Speech: "That's So Gay"

COMMENTARY: From a very early age I learned that one of the worst things I could be called by my peers was “fag.” Even before I understood what the word meant, I associated shame and fear with it. As I grew up, “fag” became one in a long list of antigay labels that would fall into this category — words that would take years for me to overcome and accept; words bursting with hatred that left numerous scars.Thankfully, obvious hate speech is not as freely tolerated as it was in my younger days, but as the acceptance of homosexuality has grown, hate speech has evolved. In addition to the common ways hate-born labels are used to belittle gays and lesbians, hate speech has also become more covert. By adopting the guise of everyday slang, homophobic speech has managed to find acceptance with frightening regularity by many people, including some gays and lesbians.The expression “that’s so gay” is commonly used to describe anything unpleasant or disliked. For me, personally, this type of slang falls into the hate speech category because it takes one of the simplest words a gay person uses to describe himself and redefines it in a negative way. However, I have found that many gays and lesbians do not share my opinion on the subject and are quick to dismiss its use, or worse, utilize it as well.Some gay men feel that those who object to the use of “gay” as a negative should “man up” and “deal with it.” They argue that taking offense at the use of such slang is a sign of weakness and that it should not only be accepted but also used in return. While I can appreciate the logic behind the attitude of fighting fire with fire, this approach seems like it does more harm than good because it ignores the damage that this type of speech can cause and validates its use as well.Then there’s the alternative opinion, which suggests gays and lesbians should simply ignore homophobic slang and not “make a fuss,” especially when it is used by young children. I was recently shocked when Sean, the 8-year-old son of my friend Eric and his partner, Chris, described a television show he hated as “gay.” I can understand that an 8-year-old is going to use the same vocabulary and slang as his peers, but I was unprepared when his father completely ignored the comment. “Don’t you think it’s inappropriate for him to describe things that way?” I asked.“He doesn’t mean it in a bad way,” Eric replied. “It’s just the way kids talk these days. Chris and I don’t have a problem with it. Besides, we don’t want to be oversensitive to this kind of stuff with Sean.” 

The Past is Never Dead David Michael Connor

The Past Is Never Dead

After publicly revealing his very personal battle with depression and attempted suicide on Advocate.com, David Michael Conner says he's heard from hundreds of people who feel the same way he does — and it's helping.

When Happy Endings Dont Just Happen

The Trouble with Happy Endings

Advocate contributor David Michael Conner says he believes "It Gets Better" for some, but for him, it seems to be taking a long, long time.

Working Out With Straight People

Working Out With Straight People

I was not chased out of Paradise by flaming angels. Instead, I found them waiting for me in the world outside.

Can It Get Better Now

Can It Get Better Now?

Advocate contributor Kelly Huegel praises the It Gets Better Project but says we need to be doing more to help GLBTQ youth who are in crisis now.

It Gets Better For Billy March 9

It Gets Better: For Billy

Next week Advocate contributor Michael Anthony heads to Wheeling, Ill., to kick off his "It Gets Better"–inspired documentary. Will the townspeople welcome him with open arms or pitchforks?

Obama Our First Gay President

Obama: Our First Gay President

In 1998, Toni Morrison dubbed Bill Clinton “the first black president.” Advocate contributor Charles Perez says President Obama is on track to earn a title of his own.

Michael Lucas Responds to Sherry Wolf

Lucas: It's Not About the Money

COMMENTARY: Advocate contributor Michael Lucas responds to accusations that "his wealth and connections" are the reason New York's LGBT center canceled an event in conjunction with Israeli Apartheid Week.

Gaysians Are Beautiful Jimmy Nguyen

Gaysians Are Beautiful

Advocate contributor Jimmy Nguyen takes a look at racial lookism and explains why he thinks the gay rainbow needs to embrace more colors. 

Sherry Wolf Responds to Michael Lucas

Sherry Wolf: Save New York's Center

Author and activist Sherry Wolf says Michael Lucas's efforts to shut down an Israeli Apartheid Week event at New York's LGBT Center threatens to make it a homogenized venue where wealthy voices squelch the rest.

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