Thursday, January 24, 2008

No More "Lesbian" -- Gayelle

Huh.  Apparently there is a movement afoot to not use the word "lesbian" and to instead use "gayelle."

The Husband told me about this, and I must admit that my reaction was first confusion as to the name.  I thought he meant something like Ga-El.  "Wasn't that the real name of Superman?" I asked, puzzled.  He guffawed, then explained, no, it's like Gay-Elle.

I'm not a lesbian, so I don't have a dog in this hunt.  But it is curious to me ... as feminists, we have tried to go to non-gender specific titles -- don't call me actress, don't call me waitress.  I'm an actor.  I'm a waiter.  

The argument against just "gay" seems to be that it's associated with male homosexuality.  But again ... so was "actor."  (Oops, I don't mean that as a joke ... I mean that "actor" was associated with "male actor."  Not male homosexual actor.  Necessarily.)

Now ... and I swear, I'm not making this up ... gayelle also has another meaning.  And it's associated with cockfighting.  Comedians, start your engines!

If this becomes the new term, preferred by the lesbian community en masse, I have no problem. But expect some jokes.  Any group that tries to go by a new term faces that.  But eventually it'll become mundane and common.  And "lesbian" will become an old-fashioned term that someone's grandma will use, like mine used "mongoloid."  

Now that I think about it ... the word "lesbian" has been a difficult term for two people whom I've known.  Like my homophobic high school drama teacher wouldn't let us start us "International Thespian Society" because it sounded so much like "lesbian."  Or my mom's cousin who, when asking his eldest daughter about her sister, said ... "Do you think she's a Lizabethan?"

I can't make this stuff up, folks.

3 comments:

h sofia said...

I thought you were saying "Gazelle" and I kept trying to figure out what savannah animals had to do with being a lesbian.

The LH likes to use the term "Lebanese."

Comrade Kevin said...

How about coming up with some uniform word to denote anything, be it be a group of people or a large concept, and not letting semantics dictate anything negative or positive about it?

Why don't we argue about issues which really matter to the gay community and stop worrying about pointless, silly things like this?

Semantical arguments are so counter-productive. Not only counter-productive, but they subdivide and distract from the larger purpose.

Anonymous said...

OK, let me get this straight, so to speak...now that the homosexual community has tweaked it's labeling to accommodate a group of angry people who felt they were not included in the word GAY, we are now asked to "relabel" everything again. Apparently Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender is not sufficient...How do we handle "Dyke" as in Dyke March (in which men are not allowed to participate) or Dykes on Bikes (in which men are not allowed to participate)? Let's focus less on labeling ourselves, and more about coming together as a community. Survival is our common thread, why get bogged down with semantics?

P.S. the only other person, aside from my lover, for whom I would lay down my life s my best friend, Julie, a self-proclaimed lesbian.