How many times have you said it?
I used to say it quite a bit when I was younger—I never gave it much thought.
Then came yoga, which like nearly everything else in my life, changed all of that.
I was a high school English teacher for a spell several years ago; one of the rules in my classroom was that we didn’t refer to things as “gay.”
I explained my reasoning to the students regularly, but to no avail. Many of them just thought it was funny that I was upset by something so trivial.
But it’s not trivial.
Words have power. And with power comes responsibility.
The below video has been making the rounds in my Facebook feed this week. I think it’s worth sharing. It’s from Ash Beckham, speaking at the recent Ignite Boulder event in February. In it, she explains why we shouldn’t refer to things as gay.
We have a responsibility to be mindful of the words we choose and the intention behind them, because as Beckham says, “The words you choose matter.”
Watch it—it’s hilarious and insightful, and only takes five minutes.
“Societal change begins with small steps. When you hear someone describe something pejoratively as ‘so gay,’ it’s an opportunity for connection, and conversation not to be missed…and silence is consent. And you know what, we’re better than that.” ~ Ash Beckham
Stephanie Vessely lives in Denver, Colorado and is somewhere in the middle of a lifelong love affair with words. She feels a little out of place a lot of the time and thinks writing about herself in third person is awkward. She is regularly saved by yoga and is searching for Truth. These are a few places she’s found it: the swaying of tree branches, the ocean, the laughter of her niece and nephew and her own heart, when she can be still enough to hear it. She’s an aspiring vegan who loves travel, hates small talk and hopes to help save the animals. Someday, she’ll learn how to tap dance. In the meantime, she keeps “scribbled secret notebooks,” and knows everything is as it should be, even if she has a hard time remembering it. Follow her on Facebook or visit www.stephanievessely.com.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise