Desensitization of Homophobic Slurs

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In a USA Today Sarah M. Coyne, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University, was quoted in a news article saying, "As a society we've gotten pretty lax concerning profanity. We're desensitized to it.” More specifically, kids are desensitized to using homophobic slurs. The problem is everywhere, including at Downers Grove South high school (DGS). Many teachers and students at DGS claimed they hear homophobic slurs multiple times a week, if not multiple times a day. According to the Gay and Lesbian Education Network (GLSEN) Over half of all students have reported hearing homophobic remarks often at school. Many students claim that they use these terms harmlessly, and that they don’t mean to offend anyone. Psychology teacher at DGS Brian Szweda says he hears anti-gay slurs multiple times a week at school. Szweda also believes as a teacher he’s “more aware of it than maybe some others are.” “It’s something I’m cognizant of.” Szweda said. “…and I make sure that if I do hear it I say something to the student saying it.” Szweda agrees that the students are usually saying it carelessly and don’t realize they might be offending anyone. He thinks that’s kids have become desensitized to these words and hopes it turns around. “I just think in popular culture it’s been something that’s kind of become accepted.” Szweda says. “There are certain words you would never ever call someone else but for whatever reason, whether it be in the media or just in society, that those are words that has become acceptable to put other people down.” There are many organizations against anti-gay bullying and harassment. GLSEN specifically has a campaign against saying homophobic slurs called Thinkb4youspeak. They realize that people may not mean to be offensive when they say words like gay, fag, and dike, but they still say that it’s unacceptable and that people saying these words don’t
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