Sticks and stones may break your bones, but a new University of Michigan study shows words can wound for life.
The study found the commonly used phrase “that’s so gay” to describe something undesirable can have negative consequences for gay, lesbian or bisexual students.
Although subtle, such language is hostile, and can be harmful to sexual minorities, said study author Michael Woodford, an assistant professor of social work at U-M.
The findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health.
Researchers examined the impact of hearing “that’s so gay” among 114 gay, lesbian and bisexual students between the ages of 18 to 25 through an online survey.
Students reported how often they heard the phrase on campus in the past 12 months. They also answered questions about their perceived social acceptance on campus, physical well-being, mental health and willingness to disclose their sexual orientation.