"That’s so gay!" seems a casual joke for many, but it represents an important mindset for anyone who hears it, believes Concordia professor Gilbert Émond. This is the kind of homophobic expression that creates a permissive mood of harassment and abuse among teenagers in many high schools.
Émond has spent a good deal of his academic career studying homophobia. After he developed a special questionnaire with GRIS-Montreal for high school students, he found last year significant evidence of homophobic abuse in our schools, both physical and spoken. Many students spoke of humiliation and rejection, as well as verbal and physical harassment by their peers just because the victims are, or seem to be, gay or lesbian. Some of these abused teens ultimately moved to other schools or had thoughts of suicide.