Today, as my grade 7 students were working in small groups, I heard someone say,”Stop being such a homo. That is so lame and gay.”
I walked over very calmly, sat down and said:
Can we have a very quick but serious conversation? I heard you just say, “Stopping being such a homo. That is so lame and gay.” I just wanted you to know that I would prefer that we didn’t use that kind of language in our classroom. I don’t think it is very kind to use words like Homo or Gay or even Retard in a derogatory way, do you know what derogatory means? It means to use it in a negative way. To use those words in a way to be put someone down. I don’t think it is okay to use words like Homo or Gay or Retard to put people down. There are most likely people in our class who might be homosexual or know people who are homosexual and if we use it as a put down, then they feel badly about themselves and that doesn’t seem fair. I know from experience because many of my friends who are homosexual have told me that language is powerful and the words we choose affect people in ways we cannot always see. Does that make sense? So please do not use the word Homo or Gay or Retard as a put down in our class again. OK? Thanks.