A recent New York Times article – “The Decline and Fall of the ‘H’ Word” – made me realize that I am ambivalent about the linguistic acrobatics we have to employ in today’s civil and politically correct society. I understand that Rush Limbaugh, Scott Lively and their ilk use “homosexual” as a means of demonizing and diminishing us, but it’s still our word. If someone were to describe me as homosexual, they’d be scientifically accurate. I am a man who is sexually attracted to other men. But that’s as far as it goes. It does not speak to how I live my life, who I love, and what I believe. (I use “fabulous” for that.) As another example of accuracy: I was always a homosexual, even before I came out.
When neocons, homophobes, and religi-fascists use terms like “homosexual lifestyle” or “homosexual agenda,” they are showing their true need for a dictionary for these are empty terms, meant to do little more than incite grade-school outrage from their barely grade-school educated audience.
We took back queer, so let’s keep the word “homosexual.” It’s part of science and history.
And when I refer to Rush Limbaugh in the future, I will call him the “obese” talk show host because it’s scientifically accurate.
Stephan M., Bayside, NY
Bob Brigham saysMay 1, 2014 at 2:07 am
I’m down with shaming willful stupidity and bigotry – though some folks are not keen on sending any kind of negativity out into the world. But I’m not down with shaming people for their body size, even if they are enemies. I’ve seen pictures of camp participants, so I know everyone is welcome, but your closing sentence gives me pause.
Priscilla Ballou saysMay 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Bob, I hear you. I winced when I read that, too. I’m a fat woman and old to boot! I’ve also been a Camper since 2006 (with one year off for a huge project at work).
I know you said you already know that everyone is welcome at Camp Camp, but I want to reinforce that by saying that I have never, as in NEVER, experienced any fat discrimination at Camp Camp. There’s a good representation of fat folks at Camp, and we have a great time, just like everyone else. Last year I wore a tank top one day that said, “Fat Girls Rule!” I happened to pass one of the Camp Directors as I went in to lunch. He read my shirt, laughed, and told me he loved it.
This is not to say that everyone is perfectly enlightened and 100% politically correct. We’re human. The thing is, folks at Camp are willing to learn and the last thing they want to do is hurt someone else. The writer of the piece just didn’t know. Yet. He may find someone sitting down next to him at lunch this August who might raise the topic of body shaming. Who knows? 😉 And then that mystery luncher will probably offer him a hug.
Bob Brigham saysAugust 20, 2014 at 1:01 am
Thanks for the understanding and reassurance Priscilla! I look forward to shaking your hand (or sharing a hug!) next week.