Campus Pride Blog

Study shows "That's so gay" has a negative effects on gay, lesbian, and bisexual students

Recent study by researchers reveals that language can have harmful effects on sexual minorities

An article in the August 2012 volume of the Journal of American College Health takes a look the effects of a phrase commonly heard on college campuses – “That's so gay.” The study surveyed 114 students who identified as gay, lesbian, and bisexual students between the ages of 18 and 25 and found strong correlations between the frequency of hearing “That's so gay” and student perceptions of acceptance and campus climate. Students who reported hearing the phrase regularly were more likely to experience headaches, eating problems, and other negative health symptoms, in addition to feeling more isolated on campus.

Lead researcher Dr. Michael Woodford explains, “There is a lot of attention being given to addressing LGBT bullying on college campuses. Obviously, that work is important, but our results suggest that we must also address low-level hostility, including 'that's so gay.' Policies and educational programs are needed to help students, staff and faculty to understand that such language can be harmful to gay students. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to eliminate the phrase from campuses.” Campus Pride echoes Woodford's call for improved policies and programs on campuses to educate communities that this type of language is harmful to LGBT students.

You can read more at the Huffington Post.

Image source: San Diego State University News Center