Rachael Scheinman hears anti-gay slurs all the time. The senior at the Portledge School in Locust Valley, N.Y., says many of her peers use hateful vocabulary as generic putdowns without realizing the harm, the Associated Press reports.

“These slurs are used very cruelly, and when I ask people about it they say they are not being anti-gay; they are just substituting the slur to mean `stupid’ or something like that,”” said the 18-year-old, who identifies herself as gay.

Scheinman was among those celebrating Thursday at the approval of a Parent-Teacher Association chapter designed specifically for the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. David Kilmnick, executive director of the Long Island GLBT Services Network, said the new organization will lobby for stronger anti-bullying measures that target gays, and seek to have the contributions of gays incorporated into curriculums…

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staff and wire services reports