Dan Savage has been a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I respect him a lot for embracing campaign tactics that I myself find would employ, were I someone with influence. However, on the other hand, I am disappointed that a family man like Savage would employ such crude strategies against anti-LGBTQ members (notably, Rick Santorum). It may very well be because of the influence public figures including Thoreau, King, and Gandhi have had on me, but I’ve always seen gay rights as a civil rights movement opting for civil disobedience over other plans.
Nevertheless, Savage’s methods have definitely opened up my eyes to the power of words in a world dominated by actions. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the phrase “the pen is mightier than the sword”, but many often attribute this to just war-related scenarios, such as diplomacy over troop deployment. The thing to note is that this quote was the source of inspiration for a myriad of famous writers over the course of human history, ranging from Sam Adam’s spiking up the Boston Massacre to Woodward and Bernstein exposing Watergate, and it’s one that all gay rights activists should take note of.
Here’s the point I’m trying to make, and I’ll give you some back story. I’ve obviously noticed the attention being given to the infamous Westboro Baptist Church in recent years. Looking at their “GOD HATES FAGS” sign, I came to the realization that the answer to fighting right-wing antagonism towards members of the LGBTQ community was simple; change the meaning of fag to be that of a synonym for neo-cons!
You may be thinking at least two things right now; one, that won’t do anything and two, it’s too hard to change the words. Regarding one, I again advice everyone to look back on all that history has provided us and see that mere words were all it took to fuel a revolution (and still today!). With regards to two, well, that’s a very ironic notion to be putting forward considering the etymology of the words fag and faggot. The former refers to a cigarette butt, whereas the latter means a bundle of sticks. Funny how two much unrelated definitions came to become derogatory terms for homosexuals.
It’s all about spreading the word. In this digital age, with social media dominating the communicative landscape, I encourage everyone who supports gay rights to start up this movement of attacking conservatives with their own words. Don’t think of this as getting down to their level. If that were the case, I’d be telling everyone to start rioting at a soldier’s funeral about how conservatism was the cause of his death (again ironic, but you get my point).
Actions may speak louder than words, but ultimately it is the pen that is mightier than the sword.
P.S. In case any of you were wondering, yes, I do follow my own commentary and very liberally call conservatives fags whenever I get the chance. It’s humorous and helpful.