I swore when I started this blog I would never try to tackle the “gay is not an insult” issue because what could I bring to the subject that hadn’t been done or said? Why would I want to rehash an old argument that doesn’t seem to have much impact?
Short and sweet, I’m having a conversation with my brother about superheroes and we get onto the subject of Robin and how his costume originally did not have pants, but was a green leotard. My brother calls him a fag. I tell him gay jokes aren’t funny.
He says, “Well, they’re funny to me.”
“They’re only funny to you because you’re straight.”
He looks at me as if we’re just having a minor misunderstanding and asks:
“What does it matter? You’re not gay.”
“Well I’m not straight either.”
And the conversation ends there with no acknowledgement of the legitimacy of my sexuality or the legitimacy of my argument.
Phrases like “that’s go gay” are not just harmful to the queer community, but are harmful to the rest of the world as well. Any words that preach heteronormativity as acceptable are devastating on every front. If people are uneducated as to why gay being synonymous with stupid is detrimental to equal rights, fine. Those people can be educated, there are SafeZone trainings and lecturers for that.
But what about the people who believe gays on one side, straight people on the other and equal rights is only an issue for those who are not straight white males? The answer is we need to prove them wrong. People from every walk of life, queer, straight, rich, poor, colored and white, need to do more than just be taught to know “that’s so gay” is wrong. It’s not about knowing, it’s about acting.
It’s about showing those who promote heteronormativity that equal rights is not just a project of minorities.