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Why do people use the phrase ‘that’s so gay’? One woman finds out…

By Will Stroude

It might be a better time to be gay in Britain than ever before, but schools and campuses up and down the land are still blighted by the phrase ‘that’s so gay’.

When did the word ‘gay’ become synonymous with something negative? Student filmmaker Amy Ashenden decided to explore the problem in new documentary The Gay Word, and travelled around the south of England to find out what people gay and straight, young and old had to say.


Read what Amy had to say about the making of the film for the Guardian and then check out the documentary itself. below:

With just my student overdraft as my budget, I decided to make a documentary exploring how this piece of language had evolved, and speak to people both gay and straight to see how they felt aboutthe word taking on a negative meaning.

Some gay people I spoke to were content with the word evolving, while there were straight people who were outraged. Younger people, whom we might have expected to have more awareness of what it means to identify as gay because of media coverage, were often the demographic defending the negative use of this word.

Many older people I spoke to felt strongly that it should it not be allowed to be used negatively. The language we use, consciously or subconsciously, can reflect our feelings towards minorities.

Saying “eurgh, that’s gay” reveals a lack of collective understanding of what it means to identify as gay. Equal marriage legislation may suggest that society has advanced in its thinking, but there remains a gap in its grasp of gay identity, culture and sexuality.

You can watch The Gay Word in full below:

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