Anyone’s Business: More Than a Bundle of Sticks

by: In Our Words Staff 

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Welcome to Anyone’s Business, the article made by you.  We ask a question, you  comment and discuss below, we would really love it if you did:

A recent Azealia Banks twitter feud brought back to light an old discussion, who can say the word faggot, and in what way?  Has it been/is it yet effectively separated from being a slur for gay men (as writers for South Park and rapper Tyler, the Creator, among others) believe?  Has it been reclaimed by gay men and transformed into something positive (in the case of 50Faggots) , or is it still even used by them derogatorily?  Can heterosexual people use it affectionately or in a joking manner ?  Can bisexuals (like Banks), lesbians, pansexual, or queer people use it, especially if they do not have the word used against them?

Note: The focus should be on the term faggot, there are so many other words in so many other stages of being reclaimed or destroyed,all for their own reasons.  Those can be discussed, but the focus should be on this word and its history, implications, and usage.  

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3 responses to “Anyone’s Business: More Than a Bundle of Sticks

  1. The word faggot is a complex one for me. So I have a few somewhat related thoughts on it
    1) Though I grew up in what is considered a very liberal community, it was used almost as liberally, but never in earshot of our former peacenik parents. I got it yelled at me, especially the one time (thank anything holy) that I got beat in middle school. But more often than not it was spoken casually and calmly as a tool of behavior restriction, a method of referring to others, something you never wanted to be so you steered clear of the idea, the concept, of male effeminacy or homosexuality. I hated the word because of this, because I hated myself, my voice, my walk, my softness, and my empathy. As I grew up, grew out of some of my shame I literally would be transported to another headspace whenever I heard someone say the word faggot and not have it mean something wrong. It made me feel better, it made me take something and celebrate it rather than try to destroy it.
    2) There is always space for growth and nuance, and yes there is a larger argument that it is an out and outright slur, and it is valid, but what that fails to take in is our communities ability to transform and no longer be a victim of language, in a way we become a survivor. Also some portions of the queer community have already turned the phrase or given it new meaning, and it’s up to all of us to understand why someone would want to use it or not, or that it might mean something different to them.
    3) Tone means everything (to me). I have friends who I love, who I live for and who complete my life, but when they say faggot in a way that just sounds like the old way I have to ask them (sometimes accidentally tell them sharply, only to roll back a little and explain) to stop saying it for a minute.
    4) I have a straight friend who can say faggot around me, describe other gay men as fags to me from time to time, strictly because I know she has been an ally to the gay community for decades (and is learning to be a better one to lesbian, bisexual, and trans* folks). I know it might smack of slightly acknowledged ageism, but she put in time, paid dues, loves me and other gay men in her life, and she has this brashness about her that it almost seems like it wouldn’t be right if she didn’t say it.
    5) Anyone who has been called a faggot can use the word faggot but you better check with other faggots or easily offended straight people if it is cool with them if you do. It’s kind of like smoking indoors, but good for you.
    6) While part of me wants to not use ever (I use it sparingly), the part that feels so tired, that makes me want to say “Hey, we just taught a lot of people they shouldn’t say this, why are we saying this? Don’t you think that the hateful might find a loophole in this?” There is a strange iron in my spine. It wants to hiss out faggot, stomp out the letters, bellow it out only to bring it to a high and screeching wail. It wants to rip into the air with it and tell people and myself this is what a faggot looks like and there are millions of us, so don’t try to think you know it all, it makes me want to say it and have someone else who had it screamed or constantly lobbed at them for years to say “Me too.” And wail in their own way and gnash their teeth. Yeah, that’s a little bit dramatic, that’s a little too much for most, but that’s because I’m a faggot. I get that.

  2. An Eastender asking the grocer for a pack of cigarettes And … anyone else who enjoys sucking on things. Preferably not 20 at a time in any case.

    As faggots are things you suck on, and the people who enjoy doing it.

    Personally, I think much like the N word. Nobody says it more, or better than those who are that thing themselves. I remember the good old days when it wasn’t a big deal for people to say it harmlessly and in a sarcastic humorously intended tone as a joke or as a pun, I grew up hanging out with the drag queens in the East Village, and that was the most mild of all the “insults” they hurled at one another. It was always in good fun, until some homophobic fuck walked by using it to their own agenda as a slanderous term.

    It’s the malicious hateful assholes who ruin words for everyone. Intent is everything. For the same reasons you call your best girlfriends “hey bitch!”

    It’s sarcasm… and if you don’t mean harm, then just because some other tool does, we shouldn’t take the intentions of tools out on everyone else. We should make examples of the haters. Not those they hate.

    I’ve learned sarcasm from gay people. They’re better at it than most. They know it, and therefore we should condemn not the words themselves, but the specific idiots who use them to hurt specifically.

    Problem with that is, people are such shit these days you can’t tell the difference, so everyone has just taken to censoring everyone, and that my frilly little frou-frou friends… Is EXACTLY how the hateful tools win.

    By silencing, sequestering, and removing common vernacular because really, they would rather you disappear than to be heard, spoken of in any context or seen at all. So by posing as candy assed politically correct little touch me not’s, the haters win.

    If you like sucking dick… that’s what faggot means. And really… so fucking what! Get your swizzle and your guzzle on babies… Here: I’ll hold it for you! The only way to treat a faggot right… Is to get all these pent up little assholes… yes dolls, and dames… TO RELAX! And fuck um if they can’t take a fucking joke!

    Gay people… you’re stronger than all this hyper sensitive bullshit. Come on now! Don’t appease the haters by not seeing them for what they are and worse, for not letting other people see you for what you are. You haven’t come this far in life, been abused, beaten, treated like shit by straight motherfuckers who would more than not take a turn themselves when they knew no one was looking than to succumb everything that you have fought so hard for the right to know, and do and be than to allow some bullshit little word to define you, or not.

    Go suck a dick… and baby! Do it right! Do it proud and let it be what it is! Faggot… be you! I for one… love you all! And that being said, if and when some perpetually and tragically straight little motherfucker came walking by a group of gay people and said it in a malicious tone… I personally believe that asshole should be held down and given a facial that would scare some Jesus into the little bitch.

    *Wink

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