Like any gay, GLAAD holds a special place in our hearts. The organization throws fun parties and does diligent work watching a lot of television to learn which networks are featuring the most queers. But they’re also like a whiny overprotective parent on the sidelines of their kid’s soccer match: Always complaining and crying foul. So when GLAAD got offended by a cartoon drawn by Kenny Be in the Denver Westword (for using the word “fag”), eyes rolled. But also: Kenny Be has responded. In kind. And who looks like the bad fags now?
What got GLAAD so upset in July was Kenny’s “Campground Confidential” comic, where he referred to the camping-obsessed as “gear fags.” (Amusingly, Kenny notes, “Ironically, I was originally going to use the term ‘gear queers’ because I liked the rhyme. But I chose to use ‘fag’ because the word gets less gay every day.”) It wasn’t a derogatory use of the word, he says, and he should know: “If you have read only one of my comics, I may come across as an attractive, laid-back, athletic and straight-acting version of Rush Limbaugh. But I assure you, I am all gay. I have been ever since I came out to my family in my late teens.”
So in responding to GLAAD, not only does Kenny draw a few new funnies, he also notes GLAAD’s hypocrisy:
GLAAD’s attempt to publicly shame me in the name of gay rights is a lost cause. I have been shaming myself — without help — for years! … I don’t recall GLAAD ever offering to lift a finger to help me during those eight long years when Republicans controlled the Statehouse and I singlehandedly had to shame myself repeatedly by drawing comics that taught conservative politicians how to dress for Gay Pride, with tips on how to be handled by the gay press.
[…] It was brazen of me to make such a campy word choice without GLAAD’s permission. But if you GLAADsters could just tear yourselves away from TMZ.com for a moment and look at the Urban Dictionary website, you’ll see that the word “fag” can now also mean “Hard-core fan,” as in art fag, band fag, fur fag, Twitter fag, Apple fag, bike fag, shoe fag and past fag, just to name but a few.
Imagine my (lack of) surprise to find that many winners and nominees have used the word “fag” and yet still have won GLAAD Media Awards of distinction! Comedienne Sarah Silverman used the word in a noun phrase, much like I did, and was still nominated for an award in 2008. Award winners Margaret Cho (GLAAD’s Golden Gate Award 2000) and Kathy Griffin (Vanguard Award 2009) are guilty of using the word as a gay pejorative.
So Kenny accepts GLAAD’s critique, like so: “Instead, I shall honor the spirit of National Coming Out day on October 11, 2009, and come out to accept GLAAD’s Worst of the National Media’ Award with pride!”