Monday, November 16, 2009

Will Phillips for President

Gay Wads for Justice Edition

A ten-year-old Arkansas (yes, you read that right: Arkansas) boy says he will not recite the Pledge of Allegiance until gays and lesbians have equal rights. Will Phillips, who wants to be a lawyer when he grows up, says he carefully studied the Pledge, particularly that ending business about "liberty and justice for all," and realized that we are a long way from fulfilling that ideal, because, Will explains, "gays and lesbians can't marry, [and] there's still a lot of racism and sexism in the world." When Will's teacher (a substitute) gave him grief for refusing to stand and recite the pledge, Will pointed out to her that it was his right under the First Amendment to do so. After four days of challenges from the teacher, he apparently ran out of patience, telling CNN's John Roberts on American Morning that he
very solemnly, with a little bit of malice in my voice, said, "Ma'am, with all due respect, you can go jump off a bridge."
At which point, of course, young Will found himself in a little bit of trouble. Will's parents have been supportive of his stand, though he did have to write a letter of apology to the teacher for telling her to go jump off a bridge. He tells Roberts that many classmates have assumed he is gay and that he has had to put up with being called a "gay wad" in the cafeteria. "What's a 'gay wad?'" Roberts asks. "I really don't know," Will replies. "It's a discriminatory name for homosexuals."

Did we mention that Will Phillips is ten years old -- and from Arkansas? Take that, all you chardonnay-swilling blue state elitists who can't even preserve marriage equality once you've managed to achieve it!

Dear Will,

When you grow up, before you run for president, we hope you'll consider attending Queer the Turtle University, where you can practically major in being a gay wad, and everyone will think you are really really cool for standing up for what you believe in. We think you are an awesome kid, and we look forward to the day when you will be running this country. We think America needs more close readers committed to strict constructionism when it comes to the phrase "liberty and justice for all." Best of luck getting through fifth grade. And, you know, law school.

Yours sincerely,

You must watch this vid. (A transcript of the 7-minute interview is up on Newsbusters, but we don't want to supply a link. Just Google "Arkansas boy won't say pledge," and you'll find it.) Should we send a few anonymous copies of the tape over to the White House so that the president can study an example of what a Fierce Advocate for LGBT equality really looks and sounds like? Sounds like a swell idea to me. PAWS UP for Will Phillips!

(H/T to FB pal Kelly for the link to the CNN story.)


  1. This kid had me at the "solemnly and with a little bit of malice" line! I know it violates the spirit of the training, but I'm secretly hoping he's working toward his black belt and will soon be able to upend the kids calling him "gaywad."

  2. What a great kid--very well brought up by his parents, too.

    Just a lexicographical point: I always thought it was "gaywad," one word. Was I wrong? (I don't get how "gay" can modify "wad.")

  3. Oh, look at the Official Historian of Roxie's World go all spell-checky on us! Let's see if we can figure this thing out.

    Urban Dictionary lists this school yard epithet in three ways -- as "gay wad," "gay-wad," and "gaywad." Wow, that helps, doesn't it? The English profs 'round here have decided to take a strict "wevs, kids" position on this one. On Tuesdays, we'll be gay wads; on Wednesdays, gay-wads; on Thursdays, gaywads. On other days, we'll just be big honkin' middle-aged dykes. ;-)

    Hope that helps. We are here to serve.

  4. Well, until it's in the OED, I guess we can go with a "wevs" spelling on gay-wad, gaywad, or gay wad.

    There was a dorm suite of men I knew in college who were called "the WADS" because the last 4 digits of their dorm phone spelled out WADS on the phone touchpad. I don't know if any of them were in fact gay or straight, for that matter.

    Can anyone be a straightwad? I kind of like that--it's a little awkward, but it calls to mind the notion of "tightwad," meaning someone who is tight with money. Could a straightwad be someone who is uptight about sexuality and is overly interested in calling other people gaywads?

  5. Straightwad does seem a bit awkward to us, but, hey, wevs, we'll happily help you launch it, Historiann. We might also consider "hetwad," or perhaps "Jesuswad," for those whose policing of others' sexuality is motivated by religious fervor.

    Moose notes with wry satisfaction that Urban Dictionary is content to define "dickwad" as a "commonplace reference to George W. Bush." It may not be the OED, but it seems pretty smart to us!


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