If my memory serves me well, I was nine-years-old when I first heard the term “gay” be used with malicious intent to describe someone else. Unfortunately it had to be at my own expense, at the hand of my own sister. I was watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time, and having being nine, I had no idea what was happening or the thing behind it all, so I thought it would be fun to dance around just like the characters were. I was raised by my parents to respect everyone regardless of who they were and yet my sister was not even grounded by my parents when she asked me:
“Are you sure you’re not a fucking gay?”
I was taken aback. Not only had my sister cursed, but she used “gay” to negatively describe someone. I was even more shocked when my mother only scolded her for “using the F-Bomb with your brother in the room.” Considering that my sister used this term with a malicious intent, my first reaction was to defend myself, saying that “I would never be gay” and “You really think I would want to be like them?” It’s funny really, reflecting upon this as an-18 year-old homosexual, but also rather painful. It’s funny to think I could never have been so wrong (having – for the lack of a better term – discovered that I was indeed gay two years later), but also gut-wrenching to think that from a young age, it is fine to condemn someone and brand them with the most common sexual orientation behind heterosexual.
But it is behaviour like this that carries on into adolescence, carries on into high school and becomes the burden that so many LGBT+ people have to carry in one of the most conflicting stages of a person’s life (I use LGBT+ as I believe that a large portion of the population only consider heterosexual and homosexual as real sexual orientations, electing to ignore bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality, etc). With the pressure of school, parents’ expectations, and our standards we set for ourselves, why should people find the need to inflict even more pain upon another, whether that be directly abusing said person for their sexual identity or indirectly insulting them by unconsciously using terms such as “gay,” “faggot,” or even “queer” to describe things that they have an aversion to?
It has come to the point where even people are starting to describe their friends as “fags” or “homos” as joke. That not only scares me, but also infuriates me. The normalisation of homophobic and derogatory terms has allowed for the condemnation of an entire community, and I believe that it is time for people to wake up to themselves and realise that this is not okay. Nothing is okay with calling someone who does something that you consider abnormal as a “faggot” or calling a boy with a high-pitched voice for his age, “gay.” There is nothing okay with calling yourself as an “ally” or “supporter” of the LGBT+ community and then contradicting yourself not even a moment later.
It is my understanding that the term “faggot” is correlated with LGBT+ people as homosexuals were used for kindling in witch-burnings, thus the justification “faggot just means a bundle of sticks.” And isn’t it just sick that this medieval term to describe LGBT+ people is still used, albeit not for witch burnings? It turns out that we’re just the kindling for the cruel and derogatory intentions of ignorant people that are covered up with humour.
Now, is it really “okay to be gay?”