Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Soapbox

I'm going to start un-friending Facebook friends who use slang for one's sexual orientation as an insult, greeting, or adjective for what they deem unacceptable behavior. (i.e. cheering for a certain team or liking a certain band.)

I've reached the point where it's no longer about respecting viewpoints that are different from mine. I can respect differing views on abortion, government spending, war, etc. I absolutely can not when it comes to gay rights. It's my line in the sand. It's seriously the only issue I can think of where my only response is "You're wrong," end of story.

It is just incorrigible to me that in 2010 people still think it's acceptable. I guess it should count for something that the vast majority of people I know now, the people I've been exposed to since high school, even those with the most conservative beliefs, would never use such language. They may not agree with the "lifestyle," for lack of a better word, but they would never demean them in such a way. There are good, classy people out there. There are.

My anger may be partly because of something that happened on Facebook a few weeks ago. Someone I barely know from high school, who didn't go to the school, posted a status about liking Carolina basketball. Someone else responded "why do you want to cheer for those fags?" To which the person responded, "no, the b-ball team isn't fags, just the students that go there."

First, let's get this out of the way being that it is my number one pet peeve, thorn in my side, line I refuse to cross: using slang for sexual orientation as an insult, adjective, or method of judgment is unacceptable. I HATE IT. And even hate isn't a strong enough word. Gay doesn't mean weak, effeminate, dumb, or sad. There are plenty of words that mean those things, so use them!

Second, basketball players are students. And from what I've read about players, at least past players, they adore Chapel Hill and would not be ashamed to be considered a part of it. And I know he or she intended the "fag" to be an all-encompassing insult for that which they fear the most: PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT. People who buck the status quo, dress differently, think! Because compared to lots of places, Chapel Hill is different. (Thank, God.) I've been faced with this kind of judgment of UNC students for years, long before I went there, while I was there, and even now after. It doesn't bother me so much if people want to assume I'm a crazy liberal lesbian who doesn't shave her legs. Whatever. I am a crazy liberal, I'm not gay but I love them, and I do shave my legs, but not because society tells me to, but because I want to.

I'll never forget a trip home-- a place I love and defend, by the way, but does have its flaws -- while in college and having a grown woman ask me about Carolina: "Is everybody just really weird there?" Again, the word "weird" an expansive term to cover everything she dislikes or fears. It was then that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that age doesn't equal knowledge, that money and social standing can get you far but it will never get you to a place of tolerance and class. All three of which, by the way, I was brought up on and only had reinforced and strengthened at that "weird' Chapel Hill.

Bottom line: "Gay" either describes your mental state or your sexual orientation; that's it.

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