My Mission: Word Reclamation

Earlier this week I had a lovely dinner with Eugene, an old friend who works for the Point Foundation. Eugene explained to me the mission of the foundation: helps LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential. “Whoa.” I said. “Q?” What’s the “Q?” I get Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered, but Q? Is that new? Am I that old that there’s a whole new gender or sexual orientation classification I’ve never heard of?

“Q” is for Queer, Eugene explained. Huh. “Isn’t Queer derogatory slang for homosexuals?”I inquired naively.” It is, but not in this contact, Queer is for those who just don’t seem to fit in any category, any where, ergo they are Queer. “Clearly I’m queer then!” I shouted with glee.  This two paragraph intro brings me to my point. I want Gay back and while I’m at it I want Fag back in the British sense of the word.

Long ago I went on a quest to reclaim the word gay to its original meaning: cheerful, gleeful, hoyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling, jaunty, sprightly, blithe etc.  Not convinced? Really? What did the Flintstones have? That’s right, a “gay old time” Not a jaunty old time. A gay one. Would the Jovial Divorcee have the same ring? I don’t think so.

You get the point. My original mission lasted about 20 minutes, but I was serious about it. And now more than ever, I’m back on my  Word Reclamation Quest. Gay is for picnics, maypoles and sunny summer afternoons with my girlfriends drinking Prosecco and discussing men.

And fag is for cigarettes.

Across the pond the word has kept its original meaning. But somehow North Americans have managed to turn this lovely word into hate speech. Stupid bigots. Anyway, the etymology of fag lends itself beautifully to correct usage.  faggot: late 13c., “bundle of twigs bound up,” from O.Fr. fagot “bundle of sticks” (13c.), of uncertain origin, probably from It. faggotto, dim. of V.L. *facus, from L. fascis “bundle of wood.” Yes a pile of sticks, now dried and rolled in paper, but still the origin makes sense.

In return, since gay has long lost its negative connotation, I will give the homosexual community a new word, applicable to men and women (’cause really why are men homosexuals and women lesbians? Aren’t people who are sexually oriented to their own sex all homo sexual as opposed to heterosexual. Homosexual community I give you: Saseseor! (pronounced say-see-see-or) as in SAme SEx SExual ORientation. Plus I will retract the word “Straight” from meaning heterosexual, because it’s not like the sasesor  community is curved.

Consider these two descriptors of the evening I had with Eugene and then just try to tell me I’m wrong.

Choice A:
I had a lovely dinner with my gay friend Eugene.* When we left I had a cigarette.
or Choice B:
Eugene, who happens to be saseseor, and I had a gay evening in Brooklyn. Upon completion of our meal I treated myself to an illicit fag.

Gay. Fag. There’s no stopping my quest.

*The only reason to point out Eugene is saseseor in this context is so my mother doesn’t think I was on a date which would lead to a whole bunch of questions with disappointing answers.

2 thoughts on “My Mission: Word Reclamation

  1. larry grimm says:

    She is back and blogtastic …nothing queer about this girl.


  2. Zora says:

    I was totally just wondering about that Q! I swear, it just got tacked on in the last couple of months.

    And for word reclamation, I want to be able to keep using gay and fag not as insults of course, but to preserve a little of my snickering fourth-grade self. We didn’t even know what those words meant or were supposed to mean–they just sounded funny, because we knew they weren’t about maypoles and picnics, at least. If Wanda Sykes is going to chide kids for calling people gay, which I totally see why she wants that to stop, then I think it’s a downright mitzvah to start calling picnics gay again. As long as I get to snicker just the tiniest bit.


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