One of the most annoying things about being me is persistently feeling let down. I’m an optimist, and not only that, I expect a lot of people. I want them to be creative, to break free from what’s expected from them, to challenge the status quo, even in their everyday actions and attitudes. A way to challenge norms and convention is through one’s use of language. Too often I hear my friends use the word ‘gay’ in a sense that makes me uncomfortable. Not like, “OMG DON’T TALK TO ME ANYMORE,” but it just makes me less interested.

Not saying I haven’t done this before. I’m no saint. I’m not trying to be hypocritical. However, I understand that my own use of that word is a direct violation of my own deeply held principles. I feel guilty when I use it improperly. I didn’t always feel this way, but it took someone else to show me how anti-intellectual the use of that word is. It’s a pejorative. It’s meant to demean an entire group of people.

I’m not trying to get people to change the way they talk. This is just an expression of how I feel. I don’t want people to come to me ranting about how it’s really nothing and it doesn’t hurt anyone, but the truth is we all have people in our lives that are gay, lesbian, transgendered. You wouldn’t like someone using the word ‘nigger’, ‘retard’, or ‘spic’ to describe someone in your family. Also, it’s just not funny. Comedy can be intellectually stimulating, but this isn’t. It’s cheap. ANYWAY

Maybe the trick to end this sort of behavior is convince yourself to act like you want to be seen. Do I really want to be considered a bigot? In the end you can tell yourself it’s someone else’s loss if they can’t handle your language, but is it really? Is it really their loss?

I try to be a better person everyday (how successful I am is a different story), and this has been bugging me for a few months now. I don’t think that your language is necessarily a direct representation of the type of person you are, but it definitely sends out a message, and it’s not a message that I want to convey to other people.


5 thoughts on “#nohomo”

  1. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. “Gay” may not be my own pejorative vice, but I certainly throw the race words around for fun. You know that about me.

    There’s nothing funny about being a nigger. There’s nothing unfunny about it, either. Tacking the “nigger jab” on the end of a sentence has nothing to do in my conscious mind with black people or the subculture African-Americans are associated with. Like most “Satirical Racists,” it’s a cheap-trick and a one-off.

    But you’re right, that’s not good enough.

    “Rape” is the one that bothers me. It makes me feel so helpless and it makes me think about Sarah. “Rape” becoming synonymous with “victory” is just about the cruelest lingual joke I can suffer to imagine. There’s nothing worse.

    I think my point is that, like most things, the choice to replace Filler Speech with Filler Slurs is entirely ego-centric. It’s shock-value designed to rope in attention. As you said, Dago, there are better ways to receive much better types of attention, but a lot of us are stuck in old habits.

    Short of inspirational posts like yours, breaking of old habits requires new and forceful change.

    Imagine the girl you’ve fallen in love with, stuck shuddering under four fleece-blankets and crying dry tears – that’ll get you to never say a word again.

    Actually, that should be enough to get me to stop using the whole lot of them. I don’t want to make anyone feel like I have.

    1. Knowing someone definitely makes things much more real. Rape is another thing that really bothers me, probably more than ‘gay’. It’s something I refuse to say. I can’t. There are too many women in my life that have suffered sexual abuse, and it’s an insult to them and their families to say that word.

    2. First off, I am guilty of saying “gay” as a replacement for dumb or stupid and I am aware of the logic on why this is bad. I stopped for awhile in school, then for some reason it came back. But that’s not my real reason for commenting.

      I was thinking about this last night on my way to Happy Hour actually. The way I talk at Happy Hour is certainly not the way I talk in my office. Leaving “gay” out of this, I also say Fuck, Bitch, Asshole, etc. But I also think that as a culture, we feel the need to say these words to give ourselves credibility. I don’t actually understand this at all, but I am so guilty of it. When I’m working with other referees, my point comes across when I say “you fucking sucked today” rather than “you could’ve been better today.” I think girls that hang out with lots of guys are a great example of this, their language changes because the guys tend to such vulgar language. I don’t know where any of this is going, but I just wanted to point out that I’ve also been thinking about this.

      And since we are sharing, the word I hate is “faggot.” Except when it’s used in one of my favorite YouTube videos. Whenever I think of that word, I think of the whole Matthew Shepard thing.

      Additionally, I get annoyed when girls are “hot.” Girls can be really cute, beautiful, or my favorite gorgeous.

  2. I had a similar experience when someone very close to me wouldn’t stand for that kind of speech whenever I made it. I told myself, “She needs to get over it. It’s not aimed at anyone. I’m just trying to be funny.” But the fact is, it wasn’t. More than appearing bigoted, I realized how ignorant I appeared. Unfortunately, and sometimes fortunately, I am one of those people who care a lot what others think and how they see me. And this is not the image I wanted other’s to think of when they hear my name, especially those who have been affected by this kind of speech.

  3. Dago – this is fantastic. I couldn’t agree more. I personally don’t use that word because it has bothered me since it became fashionable in the 6th grade (I used to lecture my friends on its implications/parallels as a racial slur… apparently 12 year olds aren’t responsive to that kind of stuff).

    What struck me most in this post is how anyone can still rationalize that “it isn’t meant to demean a particular group of people.” I guess that kind of statement is just a facade for their own stubbornness and/or ignorance. Even beyond use of the language, our world’s tolerance of LGBT people is so disappointing. I know change can’t happen overnight, but I would hope at this point in civilization we could focus on something more important than another human’s sexual orientation. I really enjoyed reading this post and all of the comments. Proud to call you a friend. :)

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