Reader Rant: Is it still okay to hate gays?

by on December 27, 2010 · 29 comments

in Civil Rights, Ocean Beach, Popular, Reader Rant

Derivative of photo by Ashley Lewis

Reader Rant: I am a gay OBcian. I noticed with broad interest that this blog published a photo and short commentary on some recent anti-gay graffiti in Ocean Beach.  One commenter even pointed out the obvious hate slur in a piece of graffiti – but it brought out the usual response, variations on “No, you’re wrong.”

Some gay men address each other as “fag” in the same diminutive and familiar way as some black people address each other with the “n-word”. Words like “fag”, “faggot” and “queer” should not be used by straight people to describe gay people, just as the “n-word” should not be used by white people to describe black people. These words are sometimes used within a group, but should never be used from outside the group. When coming from outside the group, they are an expression of hate and intolerance for that group, even if not intended that way.

Younger people who did not live through the civil rights movement or the gay liberation movement tend to use hate slurs in a very cavalier way. They don’t know how much hate is packed into those words, so they just toss them around like it was nothing. Their lack of knowledge does not excuse their use of hate slurs.

Just to illustrate how far gay liberation still has to go, consider this: How would the community have responded if that graffiti had been the “n-word”?

What if it had been a racial slur instead of sexual orientation slur? I suspect the public outcry would have been much louder and not so supportive of the graffiti artist’s right of free expression. Gay people are still “okay to hate”.

So often, when someone takes a stand, the immediate response is “No, you’re wrong”. Regardless of the facts, too many people just have to take the opposing view. How can anybody defend the use of a hate slur? That’s why I keep my mouth shut most of the time and keep my opinions to myself, to avoid the inevitable confrontation. The inevitable “no, you’re wrong” response pushes my hot button and gets me riled up. Not many people can understand the concept of disagreeing and both being right.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Diane5150 December 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm

“Jane, you ignorant slut. ”

Long before it was fashionable to hate gays, we hated Catholics, Jews, Japs, Spics, Micks, N’s and of course women. Woman are still held up by the world of men (I snicker when I say world of men) as being worthy of nothing more than the passing consideration of any other object in their field of vision. Which is to say if a man can’t can’t screw her she must be gay.

My point, get in line.

Save yourself from the high blood pressure in your future, and consider the source.

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avatar annagrace December 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Is it still ok to hate gays? NO. Period.

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avatar Sunshine December 27, 2010 at 1:13 pm

i will save my disdain for principle and value violations like stealing, lying, and general debauchery by any one in any class, race, or sect. imho, hating someone because they prefer different sexual interests/orientations is shallow, petty, and highly ignorant at best. painting their slurs on public or private property for others to see is cowardly. those that perpetuate hate never have the balls to step forward and take a public stand. they thrive on anonymity and covert shadows to sell their wares.

i can hardly wait until ‘they’ start attacking the mentally ill. I’ve been called ‘crazy’ all my life for thinking outside the box and dancing to the beat of my own drum. imagine with me for a moment the nonsensical hatred those with mental illness have endured for centuries bases solely on their unique, albeit liberated, thought processes.

i don’t know if i’ll live long enough to see the day when all people will accept the differences of others and keep their ignorant opinions to themselves. but I can continue to hope for such a loving influence to prevail.

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avatar Goatskull December 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

“and keep their ignorant opinions to themselves.”

Ahh but that’s the key. It’s not so much a matter of keeping ignorant opinions to themselves; it’s to actually not have ignorant opinions to begin with. THAT unfortunately will never happen in my opinion. Not to excuse bigotry in anyway shape or fashion, but there will always be ignorance and there will always be people who hate others for whatever reason. One thing about ignorance is that it’s equal opportunity. There are ignorant people of all races, all religions,all ethnicities, all social economic levels, all education levels and all sexual preferences.

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avatar Goatskull December 27, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Was it ever?

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avatar dave rice December 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Author on ‘fag,’ ‘faggot,’ ‘queer,’ or ‘nigger’:

“These words are sometimes used within a group, but should never be used from outside the group. ”

I really don’t like the double-standard of saying that only black people, or only gay people are allowed to say or do certain things. I’m not particularly enamored of any of the terms listed above, but I kind of feel like the community as a whole needs to decide whether they’re acceptable or unacceptable, and then try to adopt whatever guideline is reached.

On sexual preference hate versus racial hate, I’ve got to hesitantly agree with the author that is really is easier or more acceptable to hate on the gays these days…but it’s also okay to hate Hispanics (just call them “illegal Mexicans”) and a handful of other groups. The author says ‘fag,’ ‘faggot,’ etc. Diane5150 chimes in that she’s been exposed to hatred for, among others, ‘Japs,’ ‘Spics,’ and ‘Micks.’ But even though both of you directly address it, neither of you will type out the word nigger. How does that word attain such an untouchable status while we’re okay with faggot, a term that to me is on about the same level.

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avatar Nonpollutant January 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Way to touch the untouchable, Dave! Call it like you sees it.

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avatar Dan Shay December 27, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I guess you posted the picture upside down on purpose? I too found the reference to cigarettes ridiculous! It will be tough to make any progress when people won’t even acknowledge an obviously derogatory term. It makes no difference if “they” call themselves that either. It is irrelevant.

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avatar Christopher Moore December 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

People like to argue, about anything :)
I am not sure the reaction would have been much different had it been a racial slur instead.
People’s expectations from jackasses spraying painting stuff on other people’s walls aren’t very high to begin with, I suspect.

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avatar OB Mercy December 27, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Just the other day I asked a gay friend if he is offended when someone says, “That’s so gay.” He does not like it of course because it indicates that something is bad, wrong, not good. It is an incredibly prevalent and widespread phrase, and it probably has a bit of ageism attached to it. I would imagine mostly under 40 somethings say it…but I’m just guessing. And I here I thought making fun of fat people was the last acceptable prejudice.

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avatar Marisag December 27, 2010 at 7:05 pm

People who spray on walls are ignorant fools to begin with. It doesn’t mean that the majority of society agrees with what is written on a wall by a jerk. No matter what subgroup of society one belongs to, there are going to be stupid people who will be bigoted against you and use slurs. No matter if you are gay, black, hispanic, asian, woman, jewish, hippie, yuppie, whatever. Hopefully, those who hate are the minority in our society. I hate the word fag, but its amazing how many people who have plenty of gay friends and believe in gays’ rights, including the right to marry, use that word towards straights as a ‘burn’. I think people may be blind to the fact that simply using that word towards anyone is derogatory towards gay people.

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avatar Frank Gormlie December 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

As I posted elsewhere, I spent more than 15 minutes today trying to find the anti-gay graffiti and could not.

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avatar ChargedUp December 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Wow!!! Does anyone understand that these are just letters in an alphabet that we ‘as humans’ have put so much value in? I’m going to add a little bit of humor to this comment because things are getting heated. I read this article and it (surprisingly) sparked a nerve BUT (no pun intended) I quickly caught myself… then let it go, and thought that the person writing this article has their own point of view and I’ll will leave it at that.

Then I started thinking… In society we’ll always have a percentage of idiots doing stupid things like spray painting words on a wall. ‘Dave Rice’ summed it up perfect on the fact, I thought we were ALL equal. What gives someone the right to say a certain ‘word’ while any “outsiders” are forbidden to say that exact same word without being ridiculed? If you want equal rights, then EVERYTHING must be equal. Start leading by example. And BETTER yet(using your example of being able to use certain words because you belong to a certain group)…. The wall said, “Bisexual” and “Fags”. Who deciding if this is a hate crime? It could have been written by a bisexual (I hope that isn’t offensive) or a gay person (again, I hope that isn’t offensive).

And on this issue, where do you draw the line? This will sound ridiculous (just like this article), but what if that wall said, “San Diego Chargers SUCK!!!” ??? (In my opinion, I LOVE, live and die by the Chargers football team.) Would that be a hate crime? Most people won’t understand my love for the Chargers and would write it off as a joke. What is the difference between saying, ‘Gays suck’ and saying ‘Chargers suck’? In most minds they would say the Chargers are something you ‘choice to love’ but in reality, I was born into loving the chargers.

With that said, I can’t wait till next year when the chargers win the superbowl!!! (oh damn, is that a hate crime to every other football team out there?)

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avatar Goatskull December 28, 2010 at 7:33 am

You’re comparing saying the Chargers suck to being called a nigger, faggot, spic, chink, etc?
Nobody is perfect and we’ve all been guilty of saying derogatory terms about others at some point in our lives. The key is once you stop to really think about your words and their effect on others you make it a point to stop. The simple fact is, saying a derogatory term about some one’s sexual preference, ethnicity, and culture is not the same as saying their favorite sports team sucks.

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avatar Frank Gormlie December 28, 2010 at 9:15 am

Hey Charged Up – here’s some more humor: you’re an ass-hole. It’s just words, letters strung together. Is it okay?

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avatar Dan Shay December 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

If anyone else used profanity on here (especially directed at a reader) you / OB Rag would “moderate” it. I was the victim of your moderation just for saying homeless people annoy me. Yet, you find it perfectly acceptable to cuss and call readers bad names. Wow.

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avatar ChargedUp December 29, 2010 at 11:40 am

Perfectly ok! Frank, I think you truly understand my point. Thanks for the support!

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avatar Frank Gormlie December 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Charged – I wasn’t supporting your point – I was pointing out the inherent contradiction in your argument that it’s “just words”, “just letters”. Words do have an effect, and hate-speech is not where we’re at. This website is not a platform for haters, whether they hate gays, women, or homeless, or ethnic groups / nationalities.

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avatar ChargedUp December 27, 2010 at 7:54 pm

btw… is it a Hate-Hijack that the rainbow symbol is now used for the gay community? I remember I loved drawing rainbows as a kid and even the rainbow Apple (computer) symbol. Now ask yourself, why did Apple change it to the ‘white’ apple logo? And on that note, is everyone other race offended that it’s now white (excluding whites people)?

See, it’s endless with these stupid arguments!

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avatar Dan Shay December 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm

“These are just letters in an alphabet” – pleease. We have letters and words to express ideas. Philosophy has its place, but cummon. “It could have been written by a bisexual” – are you serious? I can not take you seriously. Go Chargers.

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avatar Reverend Lowe December 28, 2010 at 9:43 am

Now, Now, no need for bad language……..”DAMN IT!!!”

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avatar Abby December 28, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I really miss George Carlin.

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avatar Wireless Mike December 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Here is a quote from today’s Huffington Post: Rev. Pat Robertson sparked controversy in today’s broadcast of his 700 Club program when he claimed that God created the blizzard currently battering the Northeast “to punish Americans who were planning to drive to do something gay.” “Because of the bad road conditions the Almighty has made, any gay activities that people were planning on doing will have to be postponed by a day or two.” Additionally, he argued, God shut down major airports in the New York area “so that people who were hoping to fly to do something of a gay nature would have to take a train or a bus, so it might be days before the gay thing they were going to do could occur.”

The parliament of Uganda is considering a bill that would provide life imprisonment or death for any gay person. The bill would provide severe penalties for anyone who failed to turn in a suspected gay person. That bill was introduced by an evangelical Christian.

Only within the last few days have gay people been allowed to serve openly in the US military.

The Episcopal Church in the US is split in opposition to the appointment of an openly gay bishop.

In most states, gay people cannot get married. That means they have no spousal rights, such as spousal insurance coverage, hospital visitation rights, community property rights, or most of the legal rights granted to married couples.

A close friend of mine lost two of his friends, both murdered in separate gay-bashing incidents in 2010.

Have you ever been blocked from walking from your home to your car while being threatened and called “faggot”? I have, right here in OB.

Each and every one of these issues demonstrates that gay people do not enjoy equality, but endure prejudice. These are the kind of things that straight people don’t have to think about, but gay people face every day. The world is still full of hatred for gay people, and hate slurs just fuel the fire.

Even among otherwise progressive people, gay people are often seen as inferior to straight people. For example, one commenter mentioned that straight people sometimes call other straight people “fag.” That is usually meant as a demeaning slur, indicating that they view a gay person as somehow inferior. When young people say “That’s so gay”, it is meant as a demeaning term. How can a person say things like that and claim not to be prejudiced against gay people?

If you were Jewish, how would you feel about finding a swastika on your door. If you were black, how would you feel about a cross burning in your yard? That’s how many gay people feel about the word “fag”. Do not trivialize the word or the hate that it conveys. It is more than a group of letters. And it is most certainly not equivalent to a cheer for a sports team.

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avatar Goatskull December 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

To be fair and honest Wirless Mike, I used to do stuff like that all the time. A lot of us grew up not even thinking twice about it. As I posted above, once someone stops and realizes how words do in fact hurt others (that is if they even care) then that’s when it’s time to stop. I’m not making excuses, but I am guilty of doing that in the past.

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avatar dave rice December 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Mike, I’m going to jump on Goat’s bandwagon here and admit that, when I grew up, that’s just how things were – things that sucked were ‘gay,’ people we didn’t like were ‘fags.’ That kind of stuff was drilled into my psyche before I was even old enough to contemplate sexuality. I can’t really apologize or make amends for being raised as kind of a white redneck bumpkin, but I can say that attending a high school where lower family incomes, broken households, and ethnic diversity were the norm really caused me to reconsider the kind of things I said as a kid. Even though the anti-homosexual atmosphere was as prevalent (or more) there than ever, being part of a white minority made me think a lot about how it felt to be the odd man out.

All I can do now is say that I’ve learned to transcend the attitudes of the last generation, and that I’m doing what I can to raise the next to never learn to embody that kind of single-minded ignorance in the first place. Change is a long time coming, but I feel like we’ve got to settle for trying to make tomorrow at least a little bit better than yesterday.

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avatar dave rice December 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Also, in my desensitized world, I have a Jewish friend that cracks anti-Semetic jokes, black friends that bring humor to their love of fried chicken, and gay friends that refer to me and my fiancee as ‘fag hags’ when we tag along with them to gay bars (gotta love happy hour at the Cantina). I think a lot of us younger types sometimes latch onto taboo terms and try to bring them mainstream in an attempt to lessen their overall effect…I just wish I knew more funny anti-WASP jokes to join in the self-deprecation parade.

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avatar Abby December 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Dave, you are correct. Many of the younger generation choose to mock the stereotypes rather than clutch their pearls in horror.

I think it takes the power away from the people who would use these words to harm.

As a WASP you can take pride in your love of mayonnaise and lack of dancing ability!

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avatar dave rice December 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Oh, I show off my lack of control of both left feet whenever given a chance (and at least six shots of Patron)…but mayonnaise is the spooge of the devil, I;m tellin’ y’all!

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avatar Abby December 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm

You do know that Huffington Post article was satire, right?

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