“Sometimes you should fight for what you love and keep on trying to make things work and never stop chasing it down but once that’s over and you’ve reached your limit or realized the expiration date already hit, you should let it go. Life works better that way.”
Gay men have complicated relationships with the word “faggot.” While we’re at a moment in time where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are slowly gaining rights and visibility, that doesn’t mean the stigma surrounding gay identity has dissipated. And, for some, the words that have historically been used to inflict pain on our community still hold a lot of power.
Some find power in taking back or reclaiming words — like “queer.” We use the word queer because we find it the best way to describe the vast spectrum of experiences and identities that receive visibility in our section — and because we think the word is the most inclusive.
However, the word “faggot” still inspires a mixed response among gay men, and that response is often due to context and intent.
Cut Video brought 30 gay men together for a word association exercise and asked them to respond to the word “faggot.” Predictably, their responses were mixed and often times emotional.
“[It’s] the last sort of acceptable kind of dirty word that people still say in public a lot,” one middle-aged gay man says. “Not even if you’re apparently gay but I guess if you’re just suspected to be gay, it’s very common. So I look at it as a very abusive, vocal assault.”
Check out the video above. What are your thoughts about the word “faggot”? Let us know in the comments below.
Photos by Benji
While we’re making slow but steady progress on several queer rights fronts it’s important not to forget that there’s a lot of catching up to do in some places.
Achievements like marriage equality, anti-bullying laws and out celebrities have helped to normalise the view on the queer aspects of sexuality & gender in many countries. In these places kids grow up learning that the love between two people of the same gender is every bit as real as any other kind. You won’t raise any eyebrows if you’re out on the streets, holding hands with your boyfriend in a town in Norway, Scotland or the Netherlands.
The same can’t be said about countries like Russia, which actually have and enforce anti-gay “propaganda” laws, as the little experiment by Russian YouTuber ChebuRussiaTV below will make obvious.
The start of the video is very loud // Don’t forget to enable subtitles
Keep in mind that this was done in Moscow, the most modern and progressive place you’ll find in Russia. I’d rather not imagine what would happened in a smaller town. And that does not only apply to Russia.
While it’s tempting to approach the issue from the high horse of “modern Western values” one should not forget that this horse is a pretty hypocritical nag. People get beat up in places like Germany for being gay, people get murdered for being transgender in America and kids get bullied into suicide all over the world.
There’s a lot to do.
Every summer, Lindsay Morris goes to camp. She sits around a fire roasting marshmallows, she kayaks, she swims. On the last night of a relaxing week, she eagerly awaits what she believes is the camp’s highlight: a spectacular fashion show, where younger attendees strut down the runway sporting a look of their choosing. Kids of both genders zip up silky dresses and rock rainbow-hued gowns.
The camp is for families that teach their children about gender fluidity, allowing them to choose clothes and pastimes based on genuine interest rather than societal expectations.
Morris, a photographer, has acted as the camp’s documentarian for years, hoping to log the friendships formed among campers and moments their parents want to relish. Her images were published byThe New York Times, but she vowed to keep the name of the camp and campers anonymous. “It was through this experience and several others that the parents came to the consensus that only through visibility was the conversation going to move forward,” she said.
And move forward it has; the images have been compiled into a book, and will be featured in the artist’s first solo show this month in New York City.
Morris believes introducing children to gender fluidity is essential to raising kids who are open to difference. “Children are affected by anti-gay prejudice and adults have a responsibility to address it,” she says. “They have this innate ability and eagerness to have honest conversations, and when these discussions are presented in a non-judgemental fashion, the children benefit.”
The camp is organized and run by parents who support their children’s exploration of gender fluidity. It provides a haven devoid of the unexpected prejudices that can arise at school and in everyday life outside of the house. And Morris’ images make the laid back air of the camp palpable. In one of her most striking images, a young, blonde boy poses confidently in a halter dress; his stance can’t be described as masculine or feminine, but merely at ease. He gazes at the camera, smirking proudly.
“I hope that my images convey a narrative of what support looks like,” Morris says. “How beautiful and freeing and basic it is to be allowed to be one’s self.”
Surprisingly these shots are from a shopping site…
Last week, the internet-famous New York City street photographer Brandon Stanton posted a poignant picture of an unnamed young boy sharing his fears about being gay. “I’m homosexual and I’m afraid about what my future will be and that people won’t like me,” the boy told Stanton for his wildly popular Humans of New York project. Read more…