I have written the Hurriqueen column for almost two semesters now. During this time, the column has been mentioned everywhere from parties at fraternity houses to The Miami Hurricane office to a forum about JuicyCampus.com (and then actually being on Juicy Campus itself). I got you talking; I have done my job.
But the dialogue I have started is not what I expected. When I first approached Greg Linch, editor in chief of The Hurricane, about writing this column, I told him it would be an innovative way to provide an inspirational, witty, thought-provoking and positive homosexual voice to our campus community. He took a chance on me and has stood by his decision to run the column, something for which I am beyond grateful.
But while Mr. Linch has had an open mind about my column, many of you regrettably have not. To the critics, I am a stereotypical, trashy and irresponsible queen who wants to piss people off with vulgar and obnoxious language about nothing of any importance. Indeed, many of you have said that I give gay men on this campus a bad reputation. If this is how you feel, I ask that you critically reconsider your assumptions and read between the lines of my column.
Yes, please think about the messages my column sends. If you search the Hurriqueen archives on TheMiamiHurricane.com, you will find positive commentary on practicing safe sex, embracing the power we have to define our reputations through moral behavior, being considerate of the people in our lives, ending unhealthy relationships and sticking up for one’s self.
So, if the advice I have given is so positive and ethical, why have I received so much criticism, particularly from the UM gay community? I think the answer lies in the language I use in the column. You see, every time I sit down to write, I determine the most responsible way to answer the reader’s question. Next, I find a witty way of expressing the advice. I rely on things I’ve heard from the gay community througout the week. I draw on the ironic stories I’ve heard at lunch, the hilarious advice my gay friends give me over the phone and the sly phrases I’ve heard at parties. In short, the language I’ve used is inspired by how we talk with each other. Therefore, if you don’t like it when I say “sweetie” or “queen,” it would seem as though you don’t feel comfortable with more than 10,000 readers knowing how we talk.
As a community, if we are as strong, united and evolved as we act, we should be proud that people value our input and are entertained by our language. Our reaction to seeing our language in print shouldn’t be any different than when we hear it around each other.
However, for just this once, I don’t want the final word. Nuh uh. This week, I would like you to answer my questions. Now that I have made my argument, in your opinion, do the critics dislike this column for legitimate reasons? Or do they attack it because their (internal) homophobia has allowed them to let the colorful and outrageous language I use distract them from the important and socially responsible advice I have offered? Furthermore, as a minority at UM, are we – the gay community – so ashamed of the words we use that we are driven to criticize the one campus media outlet that gives us a voice?
Send responses and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.