So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

your MOM's so gay...

i'm not sure yet what i think about this new Think B4 You Speak public service campaign.

on one hand, i'm sympathetic to the bullying and harassment faced by teenage (and younger) gays, lezzies, and non-GLBT kids who are labeled based on assumptions, stereotypes, and/or ignorance. i've been there. i know it's a problem. i know it can be traumatizing. we all know kids are assholes.

we also know that suicide rates among
gay/bi/queer teenagers is alarmingly and disproportionately high. i know depression riddles these youngins. we've got to do something.

and for that reason, it's a great idea to initiate this dialogue and inform our nation's youth that words have both power and consequences.

on the other hand, i've long believed that words have only as much power as we will give them; to that end, we are able to slowly drain words of their potency. we can defuse these terrible slurs that can cause and have caused so much pain.

i'm no longer afraid of the F-word the way i used to be. in high school, the word's very utterance made me sick to my stomach, even if it was in no way directed at me (though it frequently was). over the years, i've heard it - and said it - enough that it's now just another word. like plenty of other nasty words, it can be used in a threatening and assaultive manner.

but fearing it and shunning its use doesn't solve the problem.

in fact, i think the word that shall not be spoken is much more powerful than the word that's taken for granted, ignored, shrugged off.

if ninth graders say "that's so gay" often enough, the word "gay" will cease to have such a devastating effect. it certainly won't be as powerful when it's hurled at an innocent teenage boy who may, in fact be gay. yeah, the bully just called you gay in the locker room. but you know what? three minutes ago he said the same thing about the field trip to Gettysburg. and everyone knows Gettysburg effing rocks!

as for the F-word, it's a more sensitive subject. it has become one of the most loaded words i can think of, and even some of my close friends cringe when i use it casually. apparently it's even worse than the C-U-Next-Tuesday word, which i more freely toss around, to the chagrin of my female friends.

for now, i'll keep using these terrible words. i'd rather own them than be wounded by them.

then again, i'm not a sensitive teenager stuck in one of the most terrifying environments known to humankind: high school. so i'll try not to scream "queer!" when i see an awkward 13-year-old boy walking down the street. there, a nice compromise.

what do you bitches think about this?

1 comment:

a said...

i think its a good ad - although admittedly a tad idealistic. it's a difficult question. my concern with your argument: how long will we have to wait until being called gay is a sterilized insult? 10 years? 20 years? how many 14 year olds will be scarred in the process? i'm not sure that i'm willing to have gay/bi/unsure teenagers for the next 20 years act as the collateral damage in our attempt (albeit well-intentioned) to rid this word of its power.