Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I, Fag

I have no problem describing myself thus. In fact I might even say that I really, really enjoy using the word.

You could agree, acknowledging that not only does it reclaim the erstwhile insult, it connects me with my kind.

Though, probably, you don't. I offended my best friend by calling him a fag, starting a year+ of stand-offish situations.

I agree that some would say it's an insult and that insults translate into real problems for homosexuals.

"Dyke". Powerful scary and other. Not a nice girl, though nice girls may often want them...

But might it have a favourable ring?

Playing with gender, femininity, linking those tagged with the masculine view of lesbianism, for some a proud badge?

Can it ever be used in a positive way?

Some gals love the aspect of gender bender that dyke implies, being not overly butch and a connection with broader lesbian community.

Whatever, we're not really solid us fags and them dykes. Why, see even on this blog I'm derogatory. Reference, those ladies who munch.


SteveA said...

I'm gay and I find it hard to call my fellow gay friends "fag". I just think it's a bit derugatory and I try not too use it - that's just me!

MadeInScotland said...

I think in the US it's different; fag is more derogatory there, but not really in common use here. Really we only here it from US shows etc.

liminalD said...

I think it's one of those things where it's ok for a person to use the word in describing themselves or others like themselves, but inappropriate for other people to assume they have the right to use it in describing those persons, such as 'the N word'.

I'm quite happy to call myself a fag, homo, queer or poofter, and for my queer and queer-friendly friends to call me those names in jest or out of affection, but I feel uncomfortable with other people using them.

I think it's all about the intention behind the use of the word - where it's clear that no generalisations are being asserted as fact, where it's clear that nothing spiteful, malicious, condescending or mean-spirited is intended by the remark, then there's no real issue, but with strangers you can't always be sure of that.

The one that really gets on my wick is when people (younger people particularly) use the word 'gay' to mean lame, boring, ridiculous, stupid, untrendy, unwelcome, pathetic etc... they do so not knowing or not caring that people around them may in fact be LGBT-identified or struggling to accept themselves, after sometimes quite horrific personal histories, and in making those comments they reinforce pervasive negative stereotypes and sentiments and make those LGBT individuals feel that their identities, choices and lifestyles are invalid.

That, and they fail to realise or appreciate that more than one generation of their predecessors fought hard to challenge the restrictive gender and sexual norms of their time so that following generations can enjoy the liberties that they do - I find it quite disrespectful of the bravery of those previous generations, and I'm only 30.

MadeInScotland said...

I cannot disagree with anything that you say.

It's sensitive, and what's acceptable for my sensibilities may not, I appreciate, be sensible for anothers.

I acknowledge very deeply the debt we owe to those coming before us. In many ways.


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