What Do You Say to "That's So Gay"? | Not in Our Town

What Do You Say to "That's So Gay"?

Grade Level: 
Middle School (6-8)
High School (9-12)

In a lively class discussion, Gunn High School students in Roni Habib's Facing History and Ourselves class challenge the saying "That's so gay." This is a phrase that many students hear constantly and watching this film can inspire the viewers to speak up next time they hear it.

Discussion Questions:


  1. The teacher in the video opens the discussion with his students asking if they feel it is necessary to say something if they hear they term, “That’s so gay.”  What do you think?
  2. One student justified the use of the expression stating that it was not meant to hurt people who are gay and “everyone says it.”  Does it make a difference that the term is so commonly used? Does this make it harder to challenge its use?
  3. In the discussion, one student says that there is danger in allowing the “little things” (like biased words) to become acceptable because this can lead to larger and more serious forms of prejudice.  Can you think of examples in your own life or in history where this has been true?
  4. It can be really hard to think of what to say in the face of hurtful words.  What were the examples that students’ shared that were effective? (“Gay doesn’t mean stupid” and “I have gay friends and that’s offensive.”)  Can you think of other responses that could be effective?
To turn on closed captioning for this film, go to the bottom right-hand corner and click: CC
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 When I was watching a cooking show, I remember this one guy who was acting very girlish and I instantly thought in my mind, "He's acting so gay, that's so gay." It turned out he was gay. I felt really bad about it even though I don't really know him and I feel upste that I did that. After watching this video, it made me think about that and I thought, "What I said was wrong." Thank you for posting this because it made me see that just saying something like, "that's so gay," leaves a big effect.

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