by Dan Savage
on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 12:12 PM
GLAAD now says that the "fag" is a word that fags can only use in the privacy of our own homes, late at night, with the shades drawn, and after the children are asleep. Michael Jenson begs to differ. It's required reading:
Where might this slippery black and white slope of GLAAD's lead us? Well, I guess I must be in trouble with them just for writing this column. And how awful would it be if a straight person who supported gay rights inadvertently used the word and got fired for it? Surely, that would never happen, right? Well, it already did happen to 82-year-old Freddy Schmitt, an American Airlines employee who last December, during a workplace discussion about why Don't Ask Don't Tell should be repealed, said, "Back then, a faggot coulda saved my life."
Just to be clear, Schmitt was expressing his support of gay soldiers, but because American Airlines—like GLAAD—thinks context doesn't matter, Schmitt was fired, additionally losing his health and travel benefits. I honestly find it hard to believe that most readers think what happened to Schmitt is a fair outcome—even those who agree with GLAAD about "fag." However, what American Airlines did is the logical result of, and completely consistent with, GLAAD's policy. Either the word is expressly off limits and context doesn't matter ever, or since we are grown-ups, its usage and intent should be examined in how it is used.
If that isn't the case, if wrong is always wrong, then Larry Kramer needs to change the title of his book Faggots to F*ggots, along with Frank Anthony Polito who needs to call his book something other than Band Fags. And since context doesn't matter, I assume that GLAAD will now be boycotting every British movie where a character smokes a "fag," which is UK slang for a cigarette. Unless they bleep the word out, of course.
What? I'm being ridiculous? Well, if a gay guy writing a recap about gay characters can't use the word "fag" ironically, then I don't don't see why Kramer, the British or any other writer or artist should be allowed to use it either. I mean if we have to worry about every ding-a-ling who isn't smart enough to deduce what a writer is going for when using certain words, then can we really be too careful? Where do we draw the line? And who gets to draw it?
Apparently GLAAD does.
Hey, GLAAD: A lot of my breeder coworkers at the Stranger have used the word fag—affectionately, ironically, supportively. And their fag (nominal) boss isn't gonna fire any 'em for it.
You know, the LGBT community probably needs an anti-defimation organization. It's a shame that the one we've got insists on oscillating between useless and ridiculous.