First thing's first, "gay" is not a bad word. When talking about someone's sexual orientation, using the word "gay" to describe a person is perfectly fine. However, across the world, people are using phrases such as "that's so gay" or "you're gay" with negative connotations and this is a trend that needs to stop.
With the legalization of same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, the U.S. legally declared the equality of homosexual and heterosexual couples. Despite the 5-4 supreme court ruling, homophobia is still a problem that plagues everyday life. A recent FBI statistic revealed that "In 2017, 7,175 hate crime incidents were reported, 1,130 of which were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias."
That being said, approximately 15.7% of the total hate crimes were a result of homophobic and hateful people. What many adolescents don't realize when they refer to something unappealing by saying "that's gay," they are in fact committing their own verbal hate crime.
I understand that the way people speak is contagious and when your friends talk a certain way, you tend to pick up the same speech patterns. This, however, is not an excuse for the intolerance that comes along with referring to something unpleasant or undesirable with "that's so gay." Hating on people does not make you seem "cool" or "superior," it makes you seem narrowminded and homophobic.
In the year 2019, we are currently living in the most tolerant and progressive time period in history. However, there is still so much more that needs to change and you can start with changing how you speak. Instead of saying "that's so gay," reply with "that's stupid," "that sucks," or even "that blows." Homophobic comments aren't appealing, so on behalf of everyone, please be more mindful in the future.