"That’s so gay" – Southampton student uncovers youth homophobia in new film

Award-winning student journalist and recent Southampton graduate Amy Ashenden has announced a screening of her new documentary, The Gay Word. The film’s trailer, below, promises to explore young people’s use […]


Award-winning student journalist and recent Southampton graduate Amy Ashenden has announced a screening of her new documentary, The Gay Word.

The film’s trailer, below, promises to explore young people’s use of the word “gay” as an insult, and whether it is rooted in homophobia or ignorance.

The documentary questions a wide range of people, across cultures and ages on the intention behind its use, and looks into why some LGBT individuals don’t feel offended by it.

Amy told the Soton Tab “I always heard the phrase “eurgh, that’s gay” or “that’s so gay” growing up, but I noticed that I was still hearing it around uni and said by adults older than me, too.”

“I started to think more about why that might be, why it’s become cool to use a word that describes some people’s identity as an adjective for rubbish or embarrassing.”

“I was also really intrigued why some people hated the phrase and others used it casually.

On whether people using ‘gay’ as an insult actually associated it with being homophobic: “For some people, it’s intrinsically linked to homophobia. For others, that link isn’t immediately there. That’s what made this project so interesting”

ashenden

To the suggestion that people using the word ‘gay’ negatively are victims of growing up in a homophobic society, Amy replied “the people that are the victims in a homophobic society are principally LGBT+ people.”

“This film really raises questions about the consequences of language choice and what we can potentially be saying about something or someone without the intention conciously being there necessarily.”

“It was really interesting to speak to people across generations and see the differences in reactions on this issue from people of different ages.”

“This documentary isn’t a film saying “never say the word ‘gay’ negatively” – I didn’t want to make a campaign video.”

“Instead, I wanted to take a deeper look into all sides of the argument, to try and work out what brings people to their conclusions on saying it or not, how it became a trend, and what impact it might have, by speaking to a wide variety of people,”

“Whatever your current opinion is, I think it’s likely to make you question it.”

The Gay Word is Amy’s second documentary, following the release of ‘Working For Nothing‘, an exposé on unpaid internship culture earlier this year.

On possible future projects, Amy said “I have a few ideas, but I’ve just started working at the BBC, and soon I’ll be training at the Press Association to get qualified as a reporter, so sadly the next project might have to wait a few months.”

The premiere screening of ‘The Gay Word’ is on September 19th at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in London. Tickets are available here. Further information about screenings across the country can be found here.

How do you feel about the word ‘gay’ used negatively? Offensive, or just a joke? Let us know in the comments!