(written July 19, 2008)
Last week, I got a book that I ordered through interlibrary loan. It’s called Three Gay Tales from Grimm by Wanda Gag. Having taken a class in undergrad called “Queering the Canon,” I thought it would be a queering of three Grimm tales. And I figured it would be worth looking at the book, especially since Wanda Gag received a Newberry Honor for her Millions of Cats.
I had to laugh at myself while I was reading the first story. Gay didn’t mean queer at all! It is actually used in its more original sense, meaning happy or lighthearted. I should have known that. Wanda Gag worked during the first half of the 20th century, and the word “gay” didn’t have the same connotation then as it does now.
Funny how words take on different meanings over time. Funny how a three-letter word can mean something innocuous on one hand and something that is threatening to some people on the other hand. I say, as a t-shirt I used to own say, be gay!