Tag Archives: LGBT

Words As Weapons

I’ve been meaning to get to this for a few weeks now, but wanted to clear my head before I dove in.

A CBS poll a few weeks ago revealed something interesting in how Americans perceive the LGBT community. With the Obama Administration, along with the military top brass teeing up the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, new organizations are polling to get the pulse of Americans on the issue.

In 1993, it was pretty clear most Americans didn’t no support gays, er, homosexuals to serve openly in the military. This word-play is precisely what CBS tested. When Americans were asked if “homosexuals” should be allowed to serve in the military, the numbers were much lower compared to when they were asked if gay men and lesbians should be allowed. The former is cold, clinical, and intellectual. The latter, “gay men and lesbians”, is relational, real-world, and person-oriented. See the poll results below.

What struck me most after seeing this poll is thinking about how different groups within America talk about the LGBT community. Browsing conservative Christian websites you read “homosexual, homosexual, homosexual”. They focus on behavior and consequences, and don’t even acknowledge gay people as people, but rather as someone with identity issues. Their narrative of the homosexual is one in which this person is alone, in the dark, simply waiting to fulfill a physical desire. No community, no meaningful relationships, or desire for intimacy. There is no inherent person hood in the way they talk about gay people.

What this poll shows is that the way in which people talk about others really determines how they view that person or community. It makes me wonder what those who will only say “homosexual” are trying to get at. Do they view it against their beliefs or “giving in” to larger culture to acknowledge gays and lesbians as people? The term, “homosexual”, in the ears of  younger generations seems a lot like older generations of Americans referring to African Americans as “colored people”.

I studied words and communication in college because I believe in the power of words. How we use them, the meanings that they carry shape our world and how we think about it. Words have the power to affirm, to grant person-hood, and they have the power to demean and destroy. Words can be building blocks and they can be weapons. It’s all in how we use them.

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Lime, Lime Oooo La La

If I had to decide on two of my favorite things as of late, they’d be Lady Gaga and Tostitos Hint of Lime chips. Hands down.

Okay, I know a lot of people have their own issues with Lady Gaga. Some say she doesn’t have any talent. Others just say she’s a bit of a freak. I’d say no way on the former – she was the first artist ever to have 4 number one songs on a debut album. To the latter, maybe a little. But think how much she has enriched our lives, our ears, and pop culture in general. She’s worn an outfit made of Muppets, a bird nest on her face, covered completely in red satin lace, and bloodied herself of for the VMA’s. Besides some of her oddities, she, as an artist, puts her money where her mouth is…particularly with the LGBT community. A lot of celebrities pay lip service to stepping on cultural land mines, and then other actually prance on and around them. With a bird next on your face and fiercely loyal gays by your side, what is there to fear? Not much. The Fame, then The Fame Monster came packed with addictive dance selections and lyrics that go above and beyond the typical pop cliches.

Second favorite of 2009: Tostitos Hint of Lime chips. I seriously cannot get enough of these delicious, salty and tangy chips. Consuming nearly a bag in one day is not beyond me. I know they’ve been around for a few years now, but they never get old. Don’t you dare try to smother them with salsa — I don’t care how gourmet or fresh it is. These chips stand firmly on their own, without need of any assistance to satisfy your taste buds.