LGBT Advocate Ash Beckham Takes Back The Word ‘Gay,’ Calls For Societal Change
In this clever, poignant and uproariously hilarious video, Ash Beckham, a lesbian and advocate for LGBTQ acceptance in schools, re-appropriates the word “gay,”reminding viewers that language can be a powerful tool that can either be wielded as a weapon or used to enact positive change.
“Say what you mean, and mean what you say because the words that you choose matter. When you use ‘gay’ in a pejorative way, the effect that it has on the gay kid in the room or the kid with gay relatives is that being gay is less than or inferior to,” Beckham said to a supportive crowd at Ignite Boulder 20 late last month.
“We need all hands in on this one. 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,” Beckham continues in her speech.
For the most part, the online response to Beckham’s presentation has been extremely heartening, with many netizens expressing support for the woman’s cause.
“Completely worth watching,” blog The Union Pacific wrote of Beckham’s video.
“She is awesome! Very inspiring,” YouTube user “thinkingology” said on Tuesday.
In August 2012, a University of Michigan study published in the Journal of American College Health supported the idea that derogatory uses of the word “gay” can have a negative effect on LGBT youth.
In particular, the study revealed that LGBT college students who often heard the phrase “That’s so gay” — an example used in Beckham’s presentation — were “more likely to report feeling isolated and to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite or eating problems,” according to a CBS Detroit report at the time.
Watch Beckham’s presentation in the video above, and tell us what you think.