Stop using derogatory terms, because words do hurt

Kayla Lemay

Editor-in-Chief has a counter that updates each time someone tweets these derogatory words. Mind how you speak, no matter where you are. Photo by Kayla Lemay. has a counter that updates each time someone tweets these derogatory words. Mind how you speak, no matter where you are. Photo by Kayla Lemay.


In Britain, this word is often used as a synonym for ‘cigarette.’ But here, saying this word is frowned upon.

Can you guess what word I’m talking about? You probably can.

What’s confusing to me is why people still say the word ‘faggot’ here in Massachusetts, which is known as being extremely liberal and accepting of the LGBT culture.

Think Before You Speak, a campaign started by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (the nonprofit behind the Day of Silence), is all about encouraging us to stop saying derogatory words like ‘faggot’ and ‘dyke.’

“9 out of 10 LGBT students report being harassed at school in the last year. Over one-third of LGBT students have been physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression,” says the Think Before You Speak website,

I’m sure we all remember the childhood rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” I’m also sure that we all know how much of a lie that was.

Words can and do hurt. If a friend talks about you behind your back, you start to feel pretty bad. If you get rejected when you ask someone out, you can get upset. Those are all just words, aren’t they?

It’s the meaning behind the words that can really do the damage.

Senior Corey Cadigan, a Theater major and Pride Center employee, as well as an openly gay student, said, “I didn’t want to come out because people constantly told me I was gay, and at that time in my life, I shunned that idea.”

We are lead to believe that the word “gay” and the word “lesbian” are bad, they mean bad things and that being called one of those words is equivalent to being called dirt. In reality, that is not at all the case. Saying derogatory terms like “That’s so gay” can only hurt people in the end.

GLSEN has a daily counter on the Think Before You Speak website. It updates every time someone says the word “gay” “dyke” and “so gay” on Twitter. The numbers are constantly changing, and reach into the thousands.

Consider the effect your words have on people before you say anything. It doesn’t matter how old you are – the time is always right to change. Start helping your fellow human beings by respecting them, no matter how they identify.


Kayla Lemay is the Editor-in-Chief of The Comment. Follow her on Twitter at @klemay123.


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