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‘That’s so gay’ has traumatic effect on students, study says

University of Michigan study has found the effect of homophobic bullying can last a lifetime
'That's so gay' is a phrase that has a long-lasting traumatic effect on LGBT students, a study has found.
Photo by Scott Nunn.

‘That’s so gay’ has a long-lasting and traumatic effect on students, a study has found.

Published in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health, the University of Michigan studied the impact of the phrase on gay students.

It found the majority of LGBT teenagers who heard the phrase frequently were more likely to feel isolated and experience headaches, as well as suffering from eating disorders.

Co-author Michael Woodford said: ‘Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing 'that's so gay' may elevate such perceptions.

‘That’s so gay conveys that there is something wrong with being gay.’

Previously reported by CBS Detroit, Woodford studied 114 LGBT students between the ages of 18 and 25 at the American university.

It is not the first study to look at the effects of homophobic bullying on gay students.

Professor Ian Rivers from the University of Brunel found out of 119 students over 50% had contemplated suicide at the time they were being harassed, and 40% had self-harmed.

The British professor also found at least 17% people exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pink Therapy’s Dominic Davies told Gay Star News he agreed with the study’s findings.

‘If they’re being told something else is gay, and then by implication they are being compared to something rubbish,’ he said.

Davies said the problem is the bully, saying: ‘They are the ones who are insecure. It is very often the case that homophobes are repressed gays themselves.

‘The bully is trying to attack a part of themselves they hate, and so the person who is victimized needs to see the bully is the weak one.’

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