We all have that friend or those friends that make seemingly harmless gay jokes. Everyone laughs and they go on with their day, but when is an innocent joke taken to far? Is it ever appropriate to joke about someone’s sexuality? A lot of people don’t know the boundaries and even more people aren’t willing to point out that a line has been crossed. But Why is that?
All my life I grew up hearing people make gay jokes, sometimes hearing the occasional “Faggot” being used to put someone down and it bothered me for quite a while. The reason behind it was that I wasn’t very comfortable in my skin at my time. I had only just begun accepting myself, so hearing that my sexuality was a cheap shot for some quick laughs was very upsetting. I came out to family and friends and many of them stopped, some of them continued and it became a much more frequent thing. It’s almost like I conformed it was “okay” to make those kinds of jokes around me, even though I didn’t exactly say those words. Now don’t get me wrong, nowadays I don’t mind the jokes, I can laugh along with you and probably come up with a few myself, however that’s in privacy.
See, now that I’m out and I have a great support system, I don’t feel so insecure. However, I know there’s a lot of LGBT youth who are closeted and very sensitive about their sexuality, so I make sure my words won’t reach and ultimately hurt them. I never know who’s standing around me in Wal-Mart. The logic of many people is “It’s just a joke, it’s not like I’m homophobic”. It’s possibly the worst way to think about things, to be quite honest. Your innocent joke could easily be misconstrued and taken to heart, which is something you don’t want. But it happens, and after years of someone hearing these things being said they may turn down a bad road. Self harm, alcohol, drugs, etc. Just remember this the next time you make a joke, especially in public. Your words have the potential to hurt someone in many ways, is it worth the couple laughs you might get?
Now to my friends in the community, remember, sometimes people don’t know that what they’re saying is hurtful, they honestly believe it’s innocent. So if someone’s words are hurting you, stand up and say something. If you’re afraid that they’re truly homophobic and could hurt you physically, than back out of the situation and cut all ties with them. It’s “innocent” if they think you’re enjoying the jokes.