Students at the University of Virginia have been inserting the word "not" before the word "gay" (originally meant as happy) in the school's traditional "Good Ol' Song" sung before most sports events. This practice has been going on since the 1970s and has calls to change it have gotten largely ignored.
The student council last week unanimously passed a resolution calling on students to stop singing "not gay," with one member calling it “a relic of hate from a time of intolerance that we have more than progressed past.” This was followed by a strong editorial in The Cavalier Daily, the school's paper.
Those in favor of chanting “not gay,” including a 2007 guest columnist to The Cavalier Daily, say it represents their objectively incorrect but nevertheless principled views regarding sexual orientation and defends expression from political correctness. Certainly there is a right to be ignorant; to have one’s views and shout them too. But the addition of “not gay” does not even express this. It says only that Virginia isn’t gay — which isn’t true, given demographics and the fact that a Charlottesville Pride Festival happened Saturday. “Not gay” is also not funny or clever or in any way cool.
Even after all these years, what the phrase remains is pretty hurtful. It ostracizes students, embarrasses the school and is downright oppressive whether blared by hundreds or just a few. The expression is factually, morally and in all senses wrong; it’s been a burden for both the chanters and listeners.
Brilliantly said and let's hope this tired and homophobic chant goes the way of the 8-track tape, around when this "tradition" started.
Hat tip to Twin Fifty-Eight.