“That’s so hetero!”

Of the many minuscule things that permeate my psyche on a daily basis, none get me as frustrated as the sexual orientation of inanimate objects.Like, can a late bus be homosexual?Does that book you have to read sleep with other books of the same genre?Do shirts do more than just get dry in the dryer?Can inanimate objects like buses, clothes and homework have a sexual preference?Nope.So why is it common to hear “that’s so gay” dropped as if it were nothing more than an innocent little saying? As if it were just as tolerable to call something so black, so spic, so chinky — so anything — than it is to call something gay.Ok, so it means merry, bright, carefree, happy — but those are dated terms. We all know what the word means in this phrase — different. And it’s not as if the word is used by parties ignorant of its meaning; the people who do use it are just ignorant in general.I believe people use the phrase so openly because they are part of the majority and do not see the offensive nature of the term. Sure, you may be able to get away with dropping the phrase in your own social circles. Perhaps even in a few others. Step outside of those circles and the world looks very different. Joking or not, the term shows a lack of respect, decency and compassion.Although it’s shrinking, I am part of the stereotypical majority of white, straight, male Americans.  So I bet a few of you are wondering why I am so up in arms about this. Why should I be offended by a word that doesn’t define or even apply to me?It offends me because decades after the Civil Rights Movement, many of our own citizens are still fighting for equality. It offends me because our worldwide society has grouped homosexuals into a separate class of people whom we tolerate rather than respect and include. Decades after the ideology of equality spread like wildfire, we are still using derogatory terms in our speech every day as if it were everyday speech.We see the fight for equality all over the world, yet we still let hateful speech infect our lives. We may see the day when being “so hetero” or “so white” is looked at as different. We may see the day when being normal isn’t so normal. When being who you are means so much more than a title. Until then, I encourage you to call someone out the next time you hear them drop the “that’s so gay” bomb. Tell them just how you feel about it. Tell them about the thousands of other words they could have used. Tell them these things, and those who use the term “gay” so nonchalantly will think twice about what they’re saying sooner rather than later.