The LGBTQ Community Reclaims Insulting Terms!
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me!”
How many times have you said that classic phrase on the playground? As members of the LGBTQ Community, it’s likely we’ve been hurled insults during our youth and some to this day. Currently, acceptance is wide and long, however, there are still plenty of bigoted, loud mouths that run amuck. Speaking from experience, I was called a “fag” so much during elementary school that it could have been my name. Privately, I’d break down. Who could be that strong of a child not too?
With survival of hate comes growth, courage, and perseverance. While humor was instilled in my personality from birth, it became favorite superhero trait: invulnerability. From consistent bullying due to a flamboyancy that other children feared; I transcended flawlessly into my teenage years where I would blossom into the gay man I am today. Although rare, I laugh at insults now!
Fairy. Fag. Fruit. Queen. Queer. Gay. Girl. Pansy. Nancy. Sodomite. Salad Tosser.
Since those days, I’ve seen the words that used to slice and scar my soul become taken over by the gay community. Those scars on my soul have turned into fashionable tattoos. Now, I often hear the words thrown around in gay slang and conversation as much as I hear “bitch”. Within my social circle, these once hurtful terms have turned into a joke. We aren’t offended by them anymore. We can laugh with one another using these words during “kitchen table talk” aka privacy.
Is it politically correct to steal these insults and turn them into terms of endearment? No, of course not. But, what are we going to do? Pretend as if they didn’t happen? These insults unite the gay community as much as coming out and the weather does. I will proudly claim these former insults because we deserve to take back the words. Why was I so hung up on being called a girl during my childhood? Girls are among the most hardworking, beautiful beings I’ve met along my life’s adventure.
No, I won’t be standing on top of The Abbey with a microphone shouting derogatory terms. You won’t hear me publicly dropping the mentioned words in public conversation. But, I am not going to act like these words are insults anymore. They aren’t. As a community, we must stress to the younger generations, who get an endless amount of data from the internet, these words will eventually mean nothing. As a 90s baby, I was fortunate enough to deal with schoolyard bullies; there are curious teenagers who are on social media getting an opinion from those around the world. They have a much larger platform to discover the non-acceptance and hate from the comfort of their homes.
Yes, some of us are fairies: We’re the ones teaching you how to contour in YouTube videos! Yes, some of us are pansies: Don’t call me to do any heavy lifting. Yes, some of us are salad tossers: And I’ll refrain from talking about my hobbies! Some even prefer these words during their act of intimacy. I believe these terms are reclaimed.
Have you reclaimed a hateful term once used as an insult? Is it acceptable too?
This article was inspired by Advocate’s “21 Words The Queer Community Has Reclaimed”.