Humane Educator's Toolbox:Casual Homophobia Counter

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Most of the time we don't mean to harm others with what we say. But there's no doubt that our choice of language, whether conscious or not, can promote and condone violence toward and exploitation of people, animals, and the earth.

One example of that is through the casual use of homophobic words. Especially when GLSEN's 2011 "National School Climate Survey," shows that "8 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment," our society's use of such words helps engender an atmosphere of hostility and intolerance toward people who are gay, and an ambivalence toward harassment and violence.

Through Marc at the Oscio blog I discovered a real-time counter that tracks the use of just four homophobic words and phrases on Twitter: "faggot," "dyke," "no homo," and "so gay," and also posts the tweets themselves. When I visited the site yesterday, mid-afternoon Pacific Time, the counter had tracked more than 16,000 uses of the word "faggot" -- almost 100 of those appearing in just the 15 minutes or so I had the site open to write this blog post. That's just on Twitter. For just yesterday.

The site is part of a larger campaign to bring awareness to the frequency of casually homophobic language. is a great tool for humane educators to use with older students and adults (the tweets are included in their entirety, profanity and all). We know how powerful visuals can be, and just watching the counters tick and the tweets speed by is pretty horrifying. This is a great conversation starter about the power of words and the harm of casual discrimination.

~ Marsha

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