So, here we are. We’ve finally reached the end of this mini-manifesto. It kills me that it has taken me this long to get from part 2 to part 3. I would love to say it was my attempt to emulate a great writer that is delaying finishing up their compelling trilogy, but the truth of the matter is….life gets in the way sometimes. Working a full time job, and then coming home to help take care of a little 10 week old devil….er, baby is kind of….let’s say time consuming.
The time off, while lengthy, can probably also be looked at in a positive light too. After the second installment I kind of hit a creative wall of sorts. I was really stuck on what I wanted to talk about. That happens to me quite a bit. When I get a case of writer’s block, I get it bad.
People always offer me ways to solve these issues; like carrying around a little pad of paper. They say, “Write down all the little things that come to you, and when you’re ready to write, you’ll have all your ideas at your fingertips.” While that is a good idea, I unfortunately am one of those people where my best ideas (in my opinion) come at very inconvenient times to whip out a little pad of paper, i.e. driving down the road or…..well, let’s say while I’m indisposed. By the time I am done doing whatever it is I’m doing, the idea is gone; lost to the vast space of nothingness where ideas go to die. Whoa, that was a bit heavy, eh?
I’ve also been given the idea of doing an outline before writing, but I’m like, “What do I look like, a 10th grade English student here? Outlines are for nerds!” But in all seriousness, I just don’t work like that. Outlines never work for me. I pretty much just shoot from the hip. This is probably why it usually takes me so long to write anything, and, why I will probably never see my dream of being a writer for a living, ever materialize. Anyway, that’s not what we’re here to talk about.
I finally decided to go back and ask myself why I started this blog trilogy in the first place, and that’s when I decided on what to write about. I picked two topics that I could not seem to get a full blog on either topic, but started to see how both were intertwined enough that they could become one. The first topic is language.
It’s ironic to me that I couldn’t seem to get a whole blog out of this topic, because from the get-go, this was the main reason why I wanted to start this blog series. But, then so many things started happening (i.e. the hate-filled email from Mr. Spitz) that I kind of forgot about this original topic altogether.
Language is tricky thing these days. On one hand you have people getting SOOOOO OFFENDED at every little thing other people say; almost to the point of ridiculousness. But, then on the other hand, and in my opinion probably worse than being overly-touchy, is how desensitized we have become as a society to how words make others feel. It doesn’t seem like there are many things anymore that are taboo to say, or inappropriate for that matter.
A good example is the N-Bomb. You can easily count on probably 20 hands how many times you will hear that word used in 99% of all rap/hip hop songs. But, if you remember, it wasn’t but just a few decades ago that that word was forbidden on all fronts. But now, society has desensitized the use of that word to the point where we say, “It’s ok if THEY say it.” Why, because “they” are that word? That word is ugly, no matter who says it. There is no possible positive definition behind that word. That word was created out of pure hate; why would anyone want to keep it alive? This is why there is a growing movement within the African-American community to stomp out that word altogether. And while they are fighting a very long uphill battle, I salute them. The LGBT community falls into this same trap regularly. Words like fag, homo, and even gay can all be seen as the LGBT equivalent of the N-Bomb.
To be honest, it’s kind of hard to see who is “really” at fault for those words gaining so much recognition over the last few decades. Some will say that it is straight people using the phrases like, “Oh, that’s so gay” to describe something they think is stupid, or saying, “You’re such a fag” to describe a friend as being dumb or acting weird. On one hand this is true. It’s a sad trap that most straight men fall into all the time; trust me, I am one of those men.
As I have said earlier in this blog trilogy, I am, and have always been a supporter of the LGBT community. But I too have acted like an ignorant fool at times. I have used those words many times in the past. Never was I intending to hurt anyone, because I know at their roots, those are words of hate, but instead I was being an immature straight male thinking I was being funny, and never taking the time to comprehend what those words really meant. Even on the many occasions when my Wife (who I recognize is clearly smarter than me) would gently question me by saying, “Honey, why do you use those words so much?” or “Is that what you really mean?” I would always scoff at her and say things like, “Come on babe, you know I’m not like that. I don’t mean it in THAT way.” I would always go on some diatribe about how people are too sensitive these days, and how we shouldn’t give words so much weight. Man, I thought I was so clever with that, but damn was I wrong
It wasn’t until last year some time that I read an article on the topic of GAY being used as an adjective. The author explained how we should stop saying GAY in the place of other words like “stupid” or “lame,” because in essence you are saying in turn that individuals that “ARE” gay are stupid or lame. It started to sink in that this is what I was doing all this time. But it really clicked when I spoke with a good friend of mine, who is also a coworker of the Wife’s. She is a non-gender conforming individual, who also happens to be gay; but more importantly someone I have a tremendous amount of respect for.
One afternoon we were having a conversation on this topic, and she expressed her concern on why straight men choose to continue to use those words, for any reason, but most of all to describe something as dumb or stupid. She shared a story with me on how her own brother does this, and no matter how many times she explained to him how those words hurt, he continued. I was struck with the thought that I didn’t want to be like that. I never wanted to hurt anyone. And at the time, with our child on the way, what kind of example was I going to be setting for him? From that day forward I have not used any of those words, for any reason.
Before I move onto my final topic I have to lay some blame at the feet of the gay community on this as well. With society starting to embrace the LGBT community as a contributing member, the media has picked up the ball and started to run with it. More than ever we have numerous shows on a variety of networks making money off of the gay community, and they are eating it up. While some of these shows are helpful and educational, the rest, like the majority of television are completely exploitive in nature. And on these shows when gay actors and actresses use degrading words to describe their fellow gay actors, it just furthers the struggle we all face in fixing the language we use. Come on, be better than that.
So, the last topic I want to talk about has to do with something I just mentioned; my newborn son. The Wife and I have recently joined the ranks of new parents. It has really been an eye-opening experience becoming a father for the first time. It truly does make you look at the world in a different way.
To be completely honest, even with all the ideas I had previously, and then the nasty email from that person; I have to say my son, and the world around him that he is still ignorant to, was the main driving force behind writing these blogs.
In the midst of writing this trilogy I really had no direction on how to talk about the feelings I was having about my son, and how this topic relates to him. Of course I was going to talk about the example I was going to set for him, but I still felt like there was more I should say. Then between blogs #2 and #3 (this one) a good friend of mine posed the question, “How are you going to feel if your son comes to you some day and says he’s gay?”
Well, at first it wasn’t even a thought. My answer was instantaneous; I’m going to love him no matter what. But then I began to think about it more. It’s actually deeper than that; not as cut and dry. As I thought on this topic even more I began to realize how scared I was that this was a very real possibility. I was scared that my son might actually be gay; right now, as we speak.
Now, before you look at me like I am a hypocrite and say everything I wrote before this was all a lie, hear me out. I’m not scared of him “BEING” gay. If my son were to come to me and tell me he has discovered who he is really is, and this is a gay man, I would embrace him as quickly as I could and tell him how much I love and how much I admire him for the courage he was showing.
But, I would also be scared beyond belief. The reason is, like any good parent, I would be forever worried for his safety and well being, because even as far as it “looks” like society has come, there is still a lot of hate in this world, and the LGBT community is a quick/easy target for that hate. But, I would forever be in his corner. I will also be his biggest supporter, as will the Wife.
One last quick note on this topic here, the Wife shared a great article about a dad (click on the word “article”) who’s 7 year old son has shared that he is gay. All men should aspire to be like this man. It gives me hope.
Well, this is it folks. I am done. Not done on this topic by a long shot, but done with this mini-manifesto. I cannot express how good I feel about the words I have put down on this topic. I have many friends and loved ones that are part of the LGBT community, and I feel that have forever changed my life in the most positive of ways. I only hope, as a straight man, that I have done them justice. I will forever be a supporter, but from this time forward I will also now be an active fighter for equal rights.