Friday, March 5, 2010


Dan Savage, in his advice to someone who wrote to him regarding her sex life: ...your boyfriend is a fag.... (See here.)

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:

Mr. 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.

Don Charles
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genevieve said...

People like Savage and his ilk hinder the progress of LGBT people. If someone called me the N-word, we have a problem. Self loathing contributes to the suicides of many LGBTQ people and Savage is unconsciously contributes to it. It's also why I have beef with LGBT media. They're the last people who should be reinforcing laguage which is used to demean us.

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks genevieve. Savage, and so many others, reinforce and reflect the shame and self-loathing of so many LGBT people merely by use of such epithets, and mystify the experience for them by seeming to think that such words are "liberating" and "empowering."

Moreover, especially in America, a good rule of thumb is, "Follow the money." If there was revulsion expressed against those who use such demeaning and hateful words by LGBT people who do demand dignity and who do have self-respect, and who are strongly motivated to acquire equal rights, those words wouldn't be used by many who now use them and who are rewarded for so doing by having an audience.

Best wishes, Jerry.


My apologies, Jerry, for introducing barnyard language to your blog! If you'd prefer to censor it, feel free to do so. I just felt that the corrupt idea of reclaiming sexual slurs needed to be denounced in the strongest terms possible.

Jerry Maneker said...

Believe me, Don Charles, absolutely no apologies are necessary! I use a whole lot worse than that! I absolutely agree with you that the use of sexual slurs as self-identifiers must be denounced, outright condemned, in the strongest terms possible. Regarding those who persist in using them: "Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do." They don't realize that they are betraying unconscious and/or conscious shame and self-loathing, and they are also retarding the cause of equal rights, all the while fooling themselves that they are "liberated." Best wishes, Jerry.