Friday, March 08, 2013

My Weekend Crush

The words we use matter. And they matter beyond the realm of political correctness, where we do things just because we fear being publically scorned if we don’t. They matter because of the message they send. And as we struggle and fight to create a more equal and just world, our fight is also over the language we use to express ourselves. It is why those of us who are so gay get upset when someone else calls something or someone that isn’t actually so gay “so gay.”

Like I remember vividly going to see the seemingly innocuous teen drama “Can’t Hardly Wait” years ago in the theater with my little sister and liking its throwaway charm until, in a climatic scene, one of its leads (a young, not-yet father of a sparkling vampire brood Peter Facinelli) is humiliated because he is called a “faggot” in front of everyone. I remember how it stung and turned my stomach, souring the movie for me because the utter shame of being called a “fag” was such a key plot point. And, otherwise, it was a really cute film that starred pretty much everyone in Hollywood (I mean it, everyone – Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauren Ambrose, Clea DuVall, Ethan Embry, Seth Green, Jaime Pressly, Jason Segel, Selma Blair, Sara Rue, Leslie Grossman, Jenna Elfman, Melissa Joan Hart, Donald Faison….I could go on.) But that one word, one word ruined it. Some might call that picky or oversensitive. Yet one word matters because it’s not just a word. It’s what that word represents.

So for those of us who occasionally get tongue tied – because words matter, but are sometimes hard – here is Boulder-based LGBT activist Ash Beckman deconstructing the “so gay” problem perfectly for us all. And now, in the spirit of the only acceptable alternate usage of the word “gay,” please have a gay weekend, all.

8 comments:

Michelle Rodgers said...

The "So Gay" speech is fantastic!! It would be great if she could tour middle schools and high schools. What I wish too is that my gay friends would stop saying "thats so gay" and meaning stupid just as a straight person does. I always get a dirty look, "don't you get it? I'm gay so its cool...haha?" It's still not cool. In effect, you are calling yourself stupid. I agree with Ash that we should call people out for saying gay and meaning stupid, but it can be exhausting. I worked in fast food where people would say it and then look at me and go "oh sorry" and do the same thing the next day. Hopefully this video can make it sink in for people.

TheWeyrd1 said...

I saw this the other day and wished I'd known that Ash was doing this live right down the road. Would have loved to have been in the audience! She rocks!

Shasta said...

That is just spectacular! I had a coworker do the same thing the other day and I gave him the Gary Coleman and told him that linguistic precision was a good thing. Jackass!

And happy international women's day! Hug a woman with your legs in friendship! ;)

Kristan Hoffman said...

A friend shared that on FB yesterday and I loved it. Then someone emailed me this today and I was crying so hard: www.upworthy.com/15-year-old-bypasses-the-awkward-teen-phase-and-skips-straight-to-genius?g=4

Mahlers5th said...

Extraordinary tour de force! Thanks for posting.

joi said...

Ash is my always-for-lifetime crush! Love this speech.

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