In the file at the back of the drawer labeled "Family Acceptance" is an episode that happened two weeks ago.
I am the lead planner of my Mom's 60th Surprise Birthday Party. This is a role usually reserved for my oldest sister, but I was the first to bring up the idea to her, and have been so involved that she commented it was weird for her not to be the one in charge of it. What can I say, the gay party planner in me is shinning brightly now.
I was on the phone with her discussing some details of the party when I made a corny joke. She laughed and said, "You're so gay."
—Let's pause here for a moment.—
I am out to my family. Have been for 3 years to my parents and the other sister (who is gay as well), and 2 years out to my 3 other brothers and this sister who is now calling me gay. What she meant to say was, "you're so cheesy", or "you're so weird", or "you're so stupid" (the funny stupid though).
When that phrase came through the telephone my quick wit receivers kicked out the most perfect response. Here is the conversation in real time.
Sister – "You're so gay."
Me – "Yes I am gay."
The phrase, "You're so gay" does not bother me on any level whatsoever, but I do feel a sense to correct my own family. Right after I gave my response my sister said, "Dang, I know I shouldn't say that. — (brother #3) caught me last time I said it and corrected me. I'm just glad — (sister #2, the gay one) didn't hear me say that because she always gets mad at me. I'm sorry. I'm trying."
I have heard my sister say that phrase before when someone made a cheesy joke while we were playing a board game once, and it was her husband who corrected her, openly in front of a good number of the family. She is trying. I know that she meant no harm nor did she have mal intentions in her choice of phraseology. It's simply a habit from her generation.
I think the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that she told me my brother #3 was one who corrected her before. He corrected her when neither my sister #2 or I were around. Which meant he was conscientious enough, when neither of the gay siblings were around to pique his alertness. This is surprising to me, because he would be the least likely one in my mind to be so alert.
That makes me happy. As a gay Mormon it makes me happy that my family, the ones who showed the least amount of acceptance are now the ones who are the most aware and trying. It makes me happy that my sister admits she is working to improve her vocabulary.
P.S. I know that I should be more attune and sensitive to phrases like, "You're so gay," when what they meant was, your weird or stupid (in the funny way). However, I'm so disgusted by the overly PC (politically correct) culture we live in and people's hyper sensitivity. We all just need a chill pill.