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Public university warns against saying ‘you guys’

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center at the University of California Davis warns that some “words hurt” — including the expression “you guys.”

That common phrase is among a list of “Words that Hurt” detailed on the public university’s website. The expression “hurts” because it “erases the identities of people who are in the room” and “generalizing a group of people to be masculine,” the website states.

“Sometimes we say words without realizing the impact they may have on others,” it adds. “Take time to educate yourself about language and histories of oppression.”

Under the “pronoun” webpage, the resource center advises saying “Hey y’all” in a group setting instead of “Hey guys!” or “Hey ladies!” It’s cited as a way to “make language more inclusive.”

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Other words that “hurt,” according to the UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center staff webpage, include: illegal alien, retarded, lame, crazy, dumb, whore, slut, ugly and tranny. Phrases that “hurt” include “that person doesn’t really look like a woman/man” or “who do you see yourself ending up with?”

That latter sentence is problematic, according to the university tip sheet, because “this is another way of implying one has to ‘end up’ gay or straight and ignores bisexuality as an identity versus a relationship status. It also assumes everyone desires to be in a long-term monogamous relationship.”

Another “hurtful” expression? “I’m being such a fat-ass,” because it demeans and devalues fat bodies and “reinforces harmful assumptions that fat people are gluttonous and are fat because they have no restraint around food,” the website states.

The webpage was created in the 2000s and is updated when appropriate, with the last update posted in Sept. 2015, the webpage states.

There is also a lengthy LGBTQIA Resource Center glossary that lists some 80 words and their definitions. Among them:

Bear Community: a part of the queer community composed of queer men similar in looks and interests, most of them big, hairy, friendly and affectionate. … Bears, Cubs, Otters, Wolves, Chasers, Admirers and other wildlife comprise what has come to be known as the Brotherhood of Bears and/or the Bear community.

Internalized oppression: The fear and self-hate of one’s own target/subordinate identity/ies, that occurs for many individuals who have learned negative ideas about their target/subordinate identity/ies throughout childhood.

Leather community: A community, which encompasses those who are into leather, sado-masochism, bondage and domination, uniform, cowboys, rubber, and other fetishes.

Neutrois: A non-binary gender identity that falls under the genderqueer or transgender umbrellas.

Omnigender: Possessing all genders. The term is used specifically to refute the concept of only two genders.

Ursula: Some lesbians, particularly butch dykes, also participate in Bear culture …

Womyn/Womxn: some womyn spell the word with a “y” or an “x” as a form of empowerment to move away from the “men”…

The most recent update for this glossary page was this week, Monday Aug. 8, 2016, the webpage states. The glossary is provided “as a starting point for discussion and understanding,” it adds.

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.