Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Little Update on Progress

Warning: May contain strong language.

I have something to admit.

I had an evolution, personally, in regards to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender culture and LGBT people.

Not so much that I ever really questioned the need for equality in areas such as marriage or civil rights, but in terms of how I used language related to LGBT people.

As a teenager in high school, and probably well into my late teens and early 20s, I casually used the word "gay" as an adjective. I remember using the word "homosexual" rather than "gay" to describe a gay man or gay people. Which in itself isn't specifically slander, it is a much more clinical term and in the context of how it is used today, it is often followed by words like "the homosexual agenda" or "the homosexual takeover of America".

It also isn't too hard to find old social media accounts (before Twitter or Facebook were a thing) where I even casually used the word "fag" or called my friends "faggot".

I don't know if I ever used those words in front of someone who was gay or lesbian. But statistically speaking, if they are anywhere between 2-5% of the population within the United States, my high school probably had a few. And as someone who has been hurt by words, I should realize how hurtful hearing those words can be. Even if they weren't directed at them.

This is something I really regret. I'm not proud of it. But it is something I've done in the past. I've recognized it. And I'd like to think I take a more careful consideration of my words. Not just when talking about LGBT, but for all groups of people. I know words can hurt.

Having been listening to a lot of conservative radio going ga-ga over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration (Enrolled) Act, I've started to notice something. That even among conservative pundits on radio and television, the language has completely changed from what it was from 10 or even 5 years ago.

Some are saying "gay" or "lesbian". Very few are using "homosexual". But most seem to just be saying "LGBT" or "GLBT" or they say the full four words. Most aren't even adding a joke about "alphabet soup" after saying it. I'm sure someone has used "faggot" on the radio, but not any show I've heard.

I think that when you win a fight like that, it might be something you haven't even noticed. But I think winning that kind of fight is huge. When people who, weren't that long ago, were decrying the "homosexual agenda" are now just saying "gay" or "Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender". I think that is huge.

Maybe my selective radio listening is why I'm noticing this. Maybe in the radio host's life, someone has come out of the closet to them. Maybe the parent company that owns the station had a corporate suit give them a mandate. I don't know the cause.

But I think a win like that. I think that's big. I think that shows the culture is changing. And that even if some political battles might result in a stalemate or even a loss, the overall war and culture are being won over.