Let’s see… Here it is:
ac·tiv·ist [ak-tuh-vist] –noun 1. an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, esp. a political cause.
I do certainly have my causes, political and otherwise. But am I “especially” active? Gosh, I suppose I am.
You see, some people (one of their names starts with an L, for a hint), have called me an activist, and a couple times. Now, I absolutely know it’s meant as a compliment, and clearly it’s used accurately, but something is wrong with me with regards to this word. Each time I’m called an activist, I’m partially hit with something like “Hey, I’m not an activist! How could you insult me with such an epithet?”
Have I heard the word uttered too many times by Rush Limbaugh, in that certain way, that it’s become a subconscious insult to me? Do I associate it with the gay activists with whom I once butted heads in my early gay life? Maybe it’s the idea of a particular sort of activist, so myopically focused on their one issue that they’ll trample over the rights of others? I hope I have and I hope to keep from being such an “activist”, but they are out there on both sides. Could that be it?
Actually, I think a bit of all of those are the problem.
I certainly wasn’t an activist by any definition 6 years ago. Heck, while we lived in California I barely realized we were gay :-). If and when I was any bit “involved” it was in online venues, or in giving advice to the gay kids of family and acquaintances. Then we came here, and the hostile legislation started popping up. Our kids came to be, and they certainly changed me. I became a defender of my home in a way rooted deep in my psychology, and consequently I started to feel that need to do something more.
It was actually my father who brought that first something to light and encouraged us into it. We did one thing, and it was to be a quiet thing, and yet it wasn’t so quiet and it snowballed. Now, yeah, we go to many events, even rallies; we are inarguably in “the community”. We speak up, we lobby, and not only online as I used to :-). I guess I am an activist, and [gulp] I’m okay with that…
I just wish I could get over the nasty aftertaste I find in the word.