I've written many times before about how use of such hateful words such as "fag" as self-identifiers by LGBT people not only betrays unconscious and/or conscious shame and self-loathing, but betrays one's acceptance of, if not contentment with, one's perceived "deviant" status" in society, and apparent acceptance with being viewed and portrayed as a "sexual outlaw" who has no desire to be part of mainstream society, and apparently couldn't care less about acquiring equal rights for Gay people that heterosexuals enjoy.
Moreover, the use of such words as "fag," "queer," "dyke," etc., are both counterproductive and traitorous to the acquisition of equal rights as they, along with assorted indecent public portrayals of what it means to be Gay, stick a finger in the eye of potential Straight allies as well as jurists who are contemplating the rights of same-sex couples to be married, and other such rights affecting Gay people, both now and in the foreseeable future.
My good friend Don Charles wrote a rebuttal to Dan Savage in regard to the above cited article, and with his permission I am reprinting his email to Savage here.
It is very important to understand that if one is concerned with equal rights for LGBT people that Don Charles' email to Savage be taken very seriously. The fallacy of thinking that the use of derogatory epithets as self-identifiers are somehow "liberating," "edgy," and "empowering," is a very disturbing myth that both betrays one's fallacious thinking as well as betrays the struggle for equal rights that LGBT people deserve.
Here is Don Charles' email to Dan Savage:
You and your friend Tristan Taormino have a bad case of Homophobe Mouth: You never saw a sexual slur you didn't like! In your latest column (responding to Needing Oral Tonight), you're at it again, slinging the word "fag" around like it doesn't mean anything. Would you please knock it off? Saying "fag" and "dyke" like a mischievous third grader may be big fun for you, but believe me, those words aren't fun for people who live in the Bible Belt, especially the inner city. As you doubtless know, your sex column is very popular in urban areas. For gender-non-conforming folk (homosexual, bisexual or transsexual), those words often come at them on the sneering end of a fist, a foot, a baseball bat or worse. Seldom does a month go by when I'm not called a "fag" by somebody. Never once does it cross my mind to agree with my tormentors! I'm just arrogant enough to believe I deserve respect; and that "reclaiming slurs" stuff is a bunch of bullshit. I don't feature soiling my dignity by picking up the oppressor's garbage. Please stop normalizing hateful language! It's ignorant. Stop helping bigots feel comfortable with their bigotry.