The other day, I read a post from a few years ago, as it pertains to using the term “That’s gay.” This was around the time the PSA’s against using that phrase launched. I decided it was a PC ambition run amok and thought people should lighten up. In the post, I even acknowledged that I wouldn’t use the term around my gay friends. And…that’s not cool.
I’m by no means the speech police. People are going to do what they do and say what they say, and there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. This is partially attributable to the fact that you can’t change people feeling the way they feel. But reading my words made me cringe. In fact, I stopped using that term a long time ago. This blog post was the farthest thing from my mind. I didn’t forget writing it, but I just didn’t think of it as a big deal.
But the things we say are a big deal. You can’t teach your children tolerance, but stubbornly refuse to consider the feelings of a marginalized group. I maintain that not every group will be happy at all times, and there is something to offend everyone. But I’ll amend that and say that when you CAN avoid being hurtful and an asshole, you should. When you use a person’s mere existence as a pejorative, you are being an asshole. There’s no other way around it. I was being an asshole, and I’m sorry for that. When that post was brought to my attention, I considered removing it. But that wouldn’t unsay what I said, now would it.
At one point in time, my blog was merely a sounding board for me to relay my shenanigans to my friends. They know me, and they know that they don’t hear me use that term. However, my blog readership now extends to people who don’t know me at all. It’s important for all of my readers – gay and straight – to know that I am not one who stubbornly adheres to intolerance. If you guys ever start commenting (hint, hint), then I do want it to be known that this is not a free-for-all, where we can let hurtful speech fly. I also hope that those who do think that using “gay” as a pejorative will reconsider. If it is hurtful to others, it is a big deal, and it is not their responsibility to tell you WHY it is hurtful. It is for us to be honest with ourselves and examine why we choose to use that type of speech.
I’m growing. Who’s coming with me?