Faggot: Say it Loud, Say it Proud

faggot

Sean Weaver

Sean Weaver is a blogger, writer, and reader. He is a graduate student at Kutztown University, Pa studying English. Bodies and sexualities are his expertise.He spends his time being somewhat neurotic about the clothes he wears, the books he reads, the endless papers he writes, and his next hair cut. Queer is his middle name.

I’m sitting in a local bar, drinking a long island, and making conversation with an extremely attractive guy I met on Grindr.  We get close; we’re touching hands, and I lean in for a kiss.  Hey, I’m a sucker for the kind of smile that makes you feel all warm inside, a smile that says, “I’m sexy, smart, and damn I know it.”  Plus, unlike the other locals around here, this guy managed to keep an intelligent conversation that lasted well beyond three minutes.   He was attractive, and I was attractive. What’s wrong with two guys sharing a kiss?

All facts aside, this isn’t your local cruise spot or gay bar.  But I’m comfortable.  After years of having to deny my sexuality I feel no need to hide it. From the jock in high school that I had a crush on even though he tormented me with every slang word imaginable, to those closeted frat boys, I’ve managed to ignore the snide remarks so far.  

 I’ve heard every insult when it comes to my sexuality – cock sucker, flamer, homo, etc.  You know them all, and if you’re gay I’m sure you’ve heard them many times.  They’re the usual insults that have to do with the ways in which people visualize the way we have sex.  These insults make it seem that the way we have sex is some dirty taboo act that defies all that is natural.

Yet, there is always one insult that stands out more than any other.  It’s one that stops me dead in my tracks. I get so angry when I hear it, and it’s impossible for me to control the feelings that coincide with it.  It’s pushed me to the point that I want to act out in violence, yet I can’t manage to lift a finger. It’s also one I never have a response for, it stops my heart cold.

I set my long island down, and get up to go the bathroom. As I’m making my way across the bar, one of those frat dudes, like I mentioned before, chuckles and says rather loudly, “What a FAGGOT!”.  I stopped and questioned whether or not I should grow a pair and give him a verbal lashing.  I didn’t though, mainly because I had no words to say. I walked to the bathroom in shame, and tried to piss my anger away. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even do that.  I finished and walked out the door. My date was waiting there for me, “This is bullshit. I’m going to go give him a piece of my mind. Maybe even start a fight.”  He looked at me, “Sean, didn’t you just say to let those types of insults go. They’re not worth it, and neither are their words.”  I stopped in mid anger; I really just wanted to face-up to that asshole.

FAGGOT.   As my fingers make their way across the keyboard, I cringe.  Maybe it’s because that word and I go way back to high school. Maybe it’s because I know that some of my heroes, like Harvey Milk, were abused and killed through the use of that word.

But how do I get past it?  How do we get past it? How do we get past the anger and frustration of such a word?

Here’s my proposal.

We make it ours.  No this idea isn’t strictly my own—it comes from a man whom I greatly admire, Franz Fanon. Franz Fanon argued vehemently that blacks should reclaim the word “nigger” and give it new meaning. By doing this, it would become a new political statement; a slogan to fight the oppression that the word represents.  Use the master’s tools against him.

I know the next question you’re going to ask: how can you change a word that represents so much hatred and won’t others still use it?

No matter what, there are still going to be those that use the word in a derogatory way. Old habits are hard to break, but if you know the nature of the word, and its meaning, it has no power over you.  The word is yours do with as you please and choose.  Smile at its sound, hug it for its hatred, and embrace it as your own. 

Use it and abuse it, destroy the oppression associated with it.

Hey dude at the bar, please tell me something I don’t know.

 Yes, you’re right. I AM A FAGGOT. I’m a faggot from my stylish hair, to the clothes I wear, and the way I am. Your word has no sway over me.  It’s my word, and I give it the power that you so blindly wield.

I am a faggot, in all my rainbow glory, and I wouldn’t have it any other fucking way.

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