The Fourth

The word ‘faggot’ has been a favourite of mine for years. In fact many who know me have mentioned that they have been expecting this post for a while. The O.E.D. lists the ultimate etymology as unknown, so there is some wiggle room here. ‘Faggot’ to me is a badge of pride. It is a connection to Nazi prisoners, to the folk stories of sodomites being thrown into the fires—in lieu of being burnt at the stake—, and to the Stonewall riots. Any who know me know how much I adore this word. I adore it so much that many L.G.B.T. individuals find it difficult to be around me—their loss—; however, this is not about the word ‘faggot’, but about pride in oneself. As an adult gay, for I accept that I am no longer a little faglette, I have had to come to terms with my own sexuality in a new way, and with a new generation. With this comes the interesting change in viewpoint. I feel happy with most of the L.G.B.T. young ones; however, our history has been consistently down-played in an attempt for ‘normalisation’. Some may prefer the term ‘assimilation’, or ‘main-streaming’. The former sounds like the Borg/Dalek, and the second sounds like drug-use; nonetheless, the concept is the same: we, the community, are accepted more, and more into the cozy moderate spectrum of society. With this comes the losing of the extremes. Gone are the days of Fire Island small community of safety. Gone are the days of wild orgies as we chase the only comfort we had, ourselves. Gone are the days of ‘militant’ activism in exchange for posters, and peaceful protests. Some may say it is a good thing, and good riddance. I, yet, wonder why they are gone. Not if they were good, or bad, but why? I think it is to do with A.I.D.S., to be frank. A.I.D.S. is still connected to the L.G.B.T. community more so than the straight—shout out to my friends living with it: you are all amazing—. Now, although rates are going up in many sectors of society, that association has gone one step further: A.I.D.S. is now connected to our history, all of it. Even the 60s, and 70s when A.I.D.S. as a syndrome—remember: it is not a disease—did not exist. Could this be one aspect of the distancing of our history? We have connected the pride of homosexuals/bisexuals/transgenders in the olden days with a medical condition. Obviously, such social paradigms neither can be deduced down to a single cause, nor should one try. Another explanation is the general down-playing of any variation of American society. We are, as a society, uncomfortable with any facts of our history that portrays a time of injustice worse than now. Slavery is boiled down to a single time period, the Civil War—or War of Northern Aggression for my Southern friends—to a single cause, Ireland’s 800 years of oppression ignored, the Highland Clearances ignored, et cetera. Is our trend of anti-intellectualism so strong that we are willing painting ourselves into a corner of ignorance? Are we so focused on being one-of-the-guys that we are ignoring our differences, our pains, our separate histories, and the subtle-but-important aspects that make us who we are? More questions brew more tea.

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