Full transcript of American journalist LZ Granderson’s TEDx Talk on The “Gay Agenda” at TEDxGrandRapids conference. “LZ” Granderson is an American journalist, a former actor, a contributor at ABC News and a columnist for ESPN. To learn more about the speaker, read the full bio here.
Notable quote from the talk:
When you hear the words “gay lifestyle” and “Gay Agenda” in the future, I encourage you to do two things. One: remember the US Constitution. And then, two: if you wouldn’t mind looking to your left, please. Look to your right. That person next to you is a brother, is a sister, and they should be treated with love and respect.
LZ Granderson – American Journalist & Actor
Hello! Oh, good. No one’s started drinking yet. Everyone’s feeling kind of perky and excited. Good, for I hope you’ll remember what we talk about, at least up to this point. After that, you’re on your own.
When I was about 16 years old, I can remember flipping through channels at home, during summer vacation, looking for a movie to watch on HBO.
And how many of you remember Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Oh, yeah. Great movie, right?
Well, I saw Matthew Broderick on the screen, and so I thought, “Sweet! Ferris Bueller. I’ll watch this!” It wasn’t Ferris Bueller. And forgive me, Matthew Broderick. I know you’ve done other movies besides Ferris Bueller, but that’s how I remember you. You’re Ferris.
But you weren’t doing “Ferrisy” things at the time. You were doing gay things at the time. He was in a movie called Torch Song Trilogy.
And Torch Song Trilogy was based on a play about this drag queen, who essentially was looking for love. Love and respect. That’s what the whole film was about.
And, as I’m watching it, I’m realizing that they’re talking about me. Not the drag queen part. I’m not shaving my hair for anyone. But the gay part, the friendly love and respect, the part about trying to find your place in the world.
So, as I’m watching this, I see this powerful scene that brought me to tears, and it’s stuck with me for the past 25 years. And it’s this quote that the main character, Arnold, tells his mother, as they’re fighting about who he is and the life that he lives:
“There’s one more thing you’d better understand. I have taught myself to sew, cook, fix plumbing, build furniture. I can even pat myself on the back, when necessary. Also, I don’t have to ask anyone for anything. There’s nothing I need from anyone, except for love and respect, and anyone who can’t give me those two things has no place in my life.”
I remember that scene like it was yesterday. I was sixteen, I was in tears, I was in the closet and I’m looking at these two people, Ferris Bueller and some guy I’d never seen before, fighting for love.
When I finally got to a place in my life where I came out and accepted who I was — and was really quite happy, to tell you the truth, I was happily gay and I guess that’s supposed to be right, because “gay” means “happy” too — I realized that a lot of people weren’t as gay as I was, “gay” being “happy”, not “gay” being attracted to the same sex.
In fact, I heard that there was a lot of hate and a lot of anger and a lot of frustration and a lot of fear about who I was and the gay lifestyle.
Now, I’m sitting here trying to figure out, “the gay lifestyle”, “the gay lifestyle.” And I keep hearing this word over and over and over again, “lifestyle”, “lifestyle”, lifestyle.” I’ve even heard a politicians say that the gay lifestyle is a greater threat to civilization than terrorism. That’s when I got scared!
Because I’m thinking, “If I’m gay, and I’m doing something that’s going to destroy civilization, I need to figure out what this stuff is and I need to stop doing it right now!”
So, I took a look at my life, a hard look at my life, and I saw some things very disturbing.
[The Super-Duper Evil Gay Lifestyle]
And I want to begin sharing these evil things that I’ve been doing with you, starting with my mornings.
I drink coffee. Not only do I drink coffee, I know other gay people who drink coffee. I get stuck in traffic. Evil, evil traffic! Sometimes I get stuck in lines at airports! I look around and I go, “My God! Look at all these gay people! We’re all trapped in these lines, these long lines, trying to get into the airplane. My God! This lifestyle that I’m living is so freaking evil!”
I clean up. This is not an actual photograph of my son’s room. His is messier. And, because I have a fifteen-year-old, all I do is cook, and cook, and cook. Any parents out there of teenagers? All we do is cook for these people. They eat two, three, four dinners a night. It’s ridiculous!
This is the gay lifestyle. And after I’m done cooking, and cleaning, and standing in line, and getting stuck in traffic, my partner and I, we get together and we decide that we’re going to go and have some wild and crazy fun. We’re used to be in bed before we find out who’s eliminated on American Idol.
We have to wake up and find out the next day who’s still on, because we’re too freaking tired to hear who stays on. This is the super-duper, evil gay lifestyle.
Run for your heterosexual lives, people!
When my partner Steve and I first started dating, he told me the story about penguins. And I didn’t know where he was going with it at first. He was kind of a little bit nervous when he was sharing it with me.