I totally disagree on this one. I understand why some non-heterosexuals would be offended by the word “faggot” but I think they should give it more thought. That word, the way it was used against us, the way it was forced upon us, the tone it was said with, the intent and hatred it was said with – horrible, horrible language.
But I am a strong believer in reclaiming these words for ourselves. When we claim them as our own, and start using them for our own purposes, we rob the homophobe of its power. When the gay rights movement began it immediately stripped homophobes of their legitimacy, and reclaiming the word faggot is an integral part of that.
We can use that word with pride, and also as a reminder of where we have come from, and what the older generations had to endure if they dared come out of the closet. If we stop using that word, in all is amazing applications, then we might as well hand it back over, along with a cheque and our souls too.
I love the word faggot. I love saying it, I love applying it, and I love that it is MY word. And I love that when a homophobe uses it against me, I can rip his face of because of it.
Gays in 2012 are for the most part sick, assimilationist apologists, and lacking a real identity. Faggottry, on the other hand, is still alive and well.
I don’t feel that we are “reclaiming” the word faggot since our self-hating community uses the term against one another with the same negative tone that non-homosexuals used against us originally. The same can be said about the N word… I assume.
I don’t feel empowered. I cringe when it’s used because I don’t feel that the weight of hate that word carries has depleted at all.
However, I rarely hear the word faggot thrown around in the gay Asian community in general. Clearly we are dealing with other sorts of prejudices; reclaiming “faggot” is last on our to-do list when “no asians” is thrown at us as a direct blow to our culture, heritage, appearance. For gaysians it appears that we are trying to reclaim the word “Asian” first as a label we can “use with pride”… at least in the grindr / mainstream gay community before we tackle broader derogatory labels.
I can agree with you completely here. When “faggot” is used in the derogatory sense, it doesn’t matter who’s using it. But there is definitely power in the fact that it is taboo for heterosexuals to use the word, and not so for us.
As for your comments about Gay Asians needing to reclaim the word “Asian” before they can focus on reclaiming anything else, I’ve never thought about the issue in that way before, and I think you are absolutely right. A really great insight.