Last semester, the Queer Alliance I run was observed by a grad student. It sounds weird, but it wasn’t. She interviewed the kids and asked questions and brought them cookies and it was cool. The last question she asked me wasn’t fully formed. It had to do with the way I talk to the kids. I said something to a baby gaymo like “kid, that shirt is straight up dyke. It’s like the hella gayest shirt ever” (yes, this is the way I speak to them). And our friendly graduate student wanted to know why I so frequently use common pejoratives as compliments. And, more importantly, why the kids seem to enjoy it so thoroughly.
I do it for all the standard reasons. It’s a reclamation. It’s a method of inclusion. Our club is the only place the queermos are in the majority. Most of us had to wait to hit 21 (or 18, at least) to experience that feeling. It’s whatever.
But it’s more than that. Ultimately, I tell the kids they are looking super gay that day because the heteronormative remainder of the staff can’t. Have you seen my gay face? Can you imagine being 15 and having an adult at your high school with a face as gay as mine? Neither can I.
I’m old (apparently) so I don’t fully understand half of what the kids say and they don’t fully understand half of what I say. It’s a cute thing we do. But I know every possible incantation of the word gay. I can imbue it with power. I can give that power to a bunch of pint-sized queers.
Don’t we all deserve that magic?