At Christmas lunch a teenager who I’d just met told me I was an “indie fag”. Fair enough, I coughed. She then explained it had nothing to do with me being gay. Hang on. Wha? We were having a conversation about genres of people in the schoolyard. In my day it was all about grunge kids, homies and jocks but as you’d imagine the labels have changed since then.

These days, at this girl’s school at least, it’s metros – the well-groomed, well-mannered gents, lads – yobbos in designer sportswear, and yep, indie fags. I’m guessing she meant the arty kids who don’t listen to top 40. In which case, sure, I’m happy to wear that indie badge, but fag? Really?

Surprised at how matter of fact she was, I totally played it up. “Yes I reeeally am an indie fag.” Rubbing my girlfriend’s knee. “Noooo that’s not what I meeaant,” she squealed.

My girlfriend and I then gave her and all the other kids at the table a big lecture on homophobic language and how messed up it is.

Day-for-the-F-Word webNow I’ve written about casual homophobia before, but that fucking F-word, just keeps rearing its ugly head.

Just last week bisexual rapper Azealia Banks (the girl who sings about “cunts gettin’ eaten” in her awesome track 212) called gay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton “a messy faggot” during a tweet-war. She then posted “A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference.” as if to make up for it. So now Azealia’s dissing gays and women? So not cool.

In the olden days faggot referred to a bundle of sticks and somewhere along the line it morphed into a pejorative word for gay guys.

I’m in the camp that’s not offended when queer guys call themselves or each other fags because I feel we all have a right to reclaim and reappropriate language that’s been used against us. Just likes “dykes” can own that word. But you’ve gotta say it with love.

Plenty of folks who jokingly chuck around the F word would say they don’t have a problem with gays, and while I reckon that’s true in most cases, it doesn’t make homophobic language cool. If you’re using “faggot” to diss someone, you’re spreading anti-gay vibes.

 

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