And then, please read this article by Tristan Taormino as well as the following quote, "Adam has just released his second music video for the song 'Faggoty Attention' which is featured on the soundtrack for the film '4 Letter Word'," taken from "news" on this website, and now please read this interview with "Jonny 'The Gay Pimp' McGovern and Adam Joseph, where the word "faggot" is liberally used and "justified" as a source of "liberation" and "empowerment."
Indeed, McGovern is quoted as saying in this interview:
"When I was a teenager dealing with coming out, the idea of being a "fag" was terrifying. But as I came out and came into my own I realized all of those 'faggy' things that I was afraid of being are what made me truly myself. And as I got older I embraced the idea of faggotry as a great thing and I became less afraid to use it as a term of empowerment for myself and my crew. Make no mistake, it’s like the N word. I don't stand for straight people using it in an ignorant way." [As if there can be an intelligent use of that and other such hateful epithets.]
Adam Joseph jumps right in and is quoted as saying the following:
"I refuse to give the word Faggot any type of negative connotation. I'm using it to empower or fem-power."
Even the interviewer used the term, "faggot artists," and they are discussing Jonny's upcoming release, "Keep it Faggity."
Even though the interviewer prefaces the interview with the caveat that some young people are really questioning the use of such derogatory terms, it must be acknowledged that not only are such derogatory terms bandied about with aplomb by both homophobes and many Gay people themselves, but their use is very influential in the formation of self-image and mind-set of many Gay and other youth who usually blindly come to believe in the acceptability of these derogatory terms as self-identifiers.
Why is this phenomenon so important? I've been asked that question many times, and my stock answer is that use of such words trivialize Gay identity; their use reinforces the stereotype of Gay people merely being sexual creatures and nothing more; their use is a manifestation of unconscious self-loathing; those who use such terms believe the big lies that by use of such terms the user is thereby "empowered," and their use also helps "reclaim" and "neutralize" terms that have never been renounced by the oppressors of LGBT people, so that Jonny can blindly state that "...the idea of faggotry [i]s a great thing and I became less afraid to use it as a term of empowerment for myself and my crew." However, he betrays his rationalization for use of that word by then saying, "Make no mistake, it’s like the N word. I don't stand for straight people using it in an ignorant way."
Well, what the hell does he think he's doing using that word? Does he think that his and other people's use of it and other such hateful words is not the height of ignorance? Is he that stupid or oblivious to the fact that such words heap further abuse and outsider status upon Gay people and their relationships, and help insure continued outsider status for all Gay people, regardless of whether or not they appreciate his music or not?
McGovern then says, "...Gogo hottie Jay Star's track 'This is How You Go-Go' is also a fave because its the masculine edge of faggity - it is sexy and real retarded. And of course 'This is NYC Bitch' which was the song that started the whole project and features my favorite queen, Kevin Aviance."
So, "bitch" is ok to use as well, as is "queen." This is the height of irony, given the fact that when Aviance was gay-bashed not too long ago, those cowardly attackers used some of those hateful words with every punch and kick that they delivered to Kevin, as those who gay-bash almost invariably do to all of their victims.
This irony is given a much finer point when Kevin stated right after the attack, "I thought they were going to kill me. I was thinking 'Is this the way I'm going to die?’
"Police call the assault a hate crime and say that four boys ages 16-20 are responsible for the attack. Police also say the boys were calling Aviance 'faggot.' Jarell Sears and Akino George, 20, Gregory Archie, 18 and Gerard Johnson, 16 are being charged with first-degree assult and hate crimes." ( See here.)
I'd like to know the rationalizations and twisted logic that can be used by those who call themselves by such hateful terms that the violent oppressors' terms can somehow be used as a source of pride? Or is it just for the money? If it is for the money, then these people are simply willful traitors to the acquisition of full and equal rights for LGBT people.
And for those who don't do it for the money, is it just plain stupidity? In which case, they are traitors who are oblivious to what they are doing in helping to retard the acquisition of full and equal civil rights!
Another reason why I strongly object to the use of such words is not only the betrayal of the struggle for full and equal civil rights for LGBT people, but the very use of such words is tantamount to fiddling while Rome burns. There is a struggle going on to obtain full and equal civil rights for LGBT people, and the users of these hateful epithets are delusional if they think that they are neutralizing, empowering, or reclaiming anything!
And if they feel empowered by using such epithets, and somehow feel psychologically better by using them, they also show a decided need for a healthy source of self-esteem, and they betray a lack of dignity and self-respect that are the essential ingredients for any meaningful participation in the struggle for such basic civil rights as marriage, rights of inheritance, and all other rights enjoyed by avowed heterosexuals.
And, to add insult to injury, in the above cited interview, it is stated, "Jonny 'The Gay Pimp' McGovern and Adam Joseph are leaders in a new crop of revolutionary gay artists." Revolutionary? Quite the contrary! They represent the very opposite of "revolutionaries," if we're talking about acquiring full equality for LGBT people. However, if we're talking about feathering one's own financial and/or psychological nest, there is nothing revolutionary about that, as those self-serving goals have been around since the dawn of human beings!
As expected, throughout the course of a day I read many so-called "progressive" LGBT blogs, and I don't that often hear the need for full and equal civil rights expressed, let alone what tactics and strategies are best to employ to achieve those rights. Rather, either venting about assorted homophobes, or taking delight in the exposed hypocrisy of some homophobic people, are relished and discussed at length.
And it is on such blogs that the hateful epithets are used with abandon, by people seemingly oblivious to their destructive implications and consequences, and without anyone seeming to care about those destructive implications and consequences for themselves and for other Gay people. And, when told about such destructive consequences, the outpouring of venom is of such a nature that it would be greatly desirable and refreshing if that animosity, that venom, were directed and expressed toward the homophobes who bear unspeakable ill will toward LGBT people and who actively work against Gay people's rights as citizens worthy of being treated with dignity and who deserve to enjoy full and equal civil rights.
During the civil rights fight for full and equal civil rights for African Americans, could you imagine such heroes in that fight as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, A. Philip Randolph, Medgar Evers, and Bayard Rustin referring to themselves and to other African Americans as "Niggers?" The very thought of it is unimaginable and obscene! Believe me, they didn't suffer, fight, and many sacrifice their very lives, so that future generations of African Americans could consider using racist epithets as self-identifiers.
In the struggle for African American rights there were always the sell-outs, the "Uncle Toms," those who loved the system as it was and didn't want to disrupt it, and even used the White Supremacists' language and mind-set in their view of both themselves and of the world, who would think nothing of informing on those African Americans who sought and demanded full equality. Malcolm X referred to these traitors as "House Negroes" and it would be a "mystification of experience" to deny that there are many Gay equivalents of "House Negroes" of the world (who all too often view and portray themselves as "progressives") who have wittingly or unwittingly sold out to their oppressor. And, unlike even many House Negroes, many of them think that by so doing they have become "liberated."
The Jonny McGoverns, Adam Josephs, Tristan Taorminos, and others who wittingly or unwittingly ignore or sabotage the cause of equal rights, and view the use of hateful epithets as indicators of "liberation" and "empowerment," serve to aid and abet the nefarious homophobic rhetoric, stereotyping, and homophobic work of the James Dobsons, Pat Robertsons, and Fred Phelps' of the world! Those "House Negroes" within the bosom of the Gay communities are helping them do their exclusionary and hateful work. By their having credibility among a lot of Gay people, they are also reinforcing and helping the religious and other homophobes to further inculcate "deviant" identity, and resignation to "outsider" status, among impressionable Gay youth!
The fight for equal rights for LGBT people must begin with the realization that people of dignity and who have feelings of self-worth, people who are psychologically intact and politically savvy, don't use hateful or disparaging words as self-identifiers that have been used, and are still being used, by gay-bashing oppressors! And it is only people who have feelings of self-worth, and who realize, and demand, that they must be treated with dignity and have the very same rights as anyone else, who will meaningfully participate in that fight.
To do otherwise is to consign LGBT people to a subcultural netherworld of "the outsider" and "the deviant," and is both counterproductive and traitorous to the fight for, and acquisition of, full and equal civil rights for all LGBT people!