Monday, January 28, 2008

RS: What's In A Name?

Ok, I really don't give a hoot in hell what people want to call themselves. I'll play along with just about anything. I don't proactively call anyone African American. I have no frickin clue whether someone is actually African--or American for that matter. I say black. I don't know if it is right or wrong, but that's what I do. And if someone tells me they prefer to be referred to as African American, I'm all for it. That assumes I can remember that someone made the request. Fortunately, not a single person in my life has ever asked, so this is all pretty much theoretical.

The one word I refuse to use is queer. I don't care how many times someone asks, I ain't using that word, you can't make me. It offends me. It is an ugly word. It has mean-spirited origins. And I don't buy that whole empowerment bullshit. But if you want to call yourself queer, knock yourself out.

Now comes word that there is a movement afoot to replace the word lesbian. I had no idea the word needed replacing or that there was some lesbianic identity crisis brewign; but I'm not a lesbian so what the fuck do I know? I am aware that many lesbians use the word gay as a reference identity. I assumed it was an effort to find a shared identity for all gay people that does not require compartmentalization, an inclusive word to demonstrate inclusion in the community. For those who want clear lines drawn, they always had lesbian. Whatever, not my issue. I usually just refer to myself as Rodney and move on--my identity is right there on my driver's license, and I'm just fine with that.

Anyway, it seems that "gayelle" is the identity du jour. The gayelle website (http://www.sapphicchic.com/xdefine.html) reads:


"By choosing gayelle, the feminine factors in 'the equation of who is gay and who is not' can reassert their interest in the word gay, as well as, assert a displeasure for the word lesbian. More importantly, however, to choose gayelle over lesbian, would demonstrate a form of action that, most assuredly, would be helpful in restoring the rightful dignity that belongs to the mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends, who have been victims of hatemongering and or a poorly-conceived joke, and or, a lack of sensitivity.

Gayelle is the logical and reasonable alternative, in that, it contains the words gay and elle (the French pronoun for 'she'). Gayelle is a word that has relevance to our time, and it's easy to say, as in the gay-gayelle community. Unlike the capitalized form of Lesbian, which is defined 'a native or inhabitant of Lesbos,' and 'of or pertaining to Lesbos;' gayelle and the capitalized form Gayelle, in essence, have the same meaning.

The choice is yours. Be hip and sapphic-chic with your preference for gayelle. Define this decade of the 21st-century with a new word and a new outlook. Go gayelle!"

Some man (possibly a friend of mine, possibly the author of the article, I doesn't matter) said, "I'm not flunet in Gayelle yet, so I have no idea what the hell that says. Lesbo is like an ancient word taken from the Island of Lesbos in Ancient Greece. That's where the first chicks did each other or something. The Island of Lesbos is now known as the Rosie Family Cruises. Gayelle is the gayest thing I ever heard of in my life. Hey, but if that's what you want to be called, more power to you. I will gladly call you Gayelle to your face and then turn around and call you a 'stupid dyke' behind your back. I won't say it too loud, because I'm scared of Gayelles. They can beat me up." Now, I know that is offensive. Funny, but offensive.

I'll be honest, I hope no one asks me to call them gayelle or Gayelle. I'm not sure I could get it out with a straight face.

1 comment:

sezhoo said...

yep. Funny as hell, but ... not exactly offensive, but ... cheesy peesy .. "gay*elle*"????

It almost sounds like we should be gathering together at the water's edge while we leave a scout to watch for predators.

but at least we'll be pretty when we run.

Rodney, you can call me lesbian, lesbo, even dyke. You can also call me queer, but surely I promise to only call you Rodney.

-av-