The players of the team assembled around the bench as practice was coming to an end. I was walking off the field with the catcher carrying some baseballs and my fungo bat. We were carrying on a conversation about the upcoming tournament when I saw the players goofing around, and heard someone say, "Dude, that's so gay."
Mid-step I raised my voice and said, "Who said that?" All the players looked confused as if I had caught them with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. I asked again sternly, "Who just said that?" As the players tried to figure out what to do or say by not place blame on one of their teammates, I softened my voice and asked them one last time, "Who said that comment?"
Once they recovered from the discomfort of my question, a very interesting conversation and discussion took place. They were all eighth grade students and apparently not one of them considered anything wrong with saying "that's so gay." At the time, not one of the twelve young men sitting around in a circle even made the connection of that comment being derogatory or hurtful in nature. Study: Phrase 'That's So Gay' Damages Self-Esteem
One of the players even shared that his father often made that comment when he thought certain behavior wasn't appropriate. He continued, "If my dad says it, then how can it be wrong?"
Initially, they were quick to defend their comment because there was nothing intentionally harmful or hurtful about it. They were "just kidding" and "fooling around." Everyone knew they were joking, and it wasn't intended to do harm to anyone. That was when I saw my teachable moment.
I pressed them to interpret the intention behind the comment. Why say "that's so gay?" What's it supposed to mean and insinuate?
They all knew the word gay was about homosexuality, but at that moment did not consider it being negative. However, the more I pressed them to understand those words, the more they became aware of how it very well might be offensive to some students. 10 Signs Your Teenager Is Depressed
More love advice from YourTango: