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Author Topic: Using certain words
BlackRoseFaery
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A while back I saw a movie that had a gay couple in it. One of the guys had a tattoo on his hand that said Fag, so my question is, what do you think of GLBT people who use words like dyke, fag, etc, to describe themselves? DO you think it's ok for GLBT people to use them, or should the words be considered offensive when they're said by anyone, no matter the sexual orientation?

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Some days the line I walk, turns out to be straight.Other days the line tends to deviate. - Ani DiFranco


Posts: 88 | From: Hixson, TN, US | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Milke
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'Fag' still tends to seem a lot more offensive than 'dyke', maybe because one's been reclaimed to a much greater degree than the other. If you're queer (another reclaimed word, and one I'm quite fond of) and okay with these words, that's great, if they offend you you should avoid them, and if you're out to be offensive, well, you know where you can go. It's all down to personal preference, and remember, language does evolve.

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Why can't you have your cake and eat it too?
Why believe in things that make it tough on you?
Why scream and cry when you know it's through?
Why fall in love when there's better things to do?


Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlackRoseFaery
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The only time I think the words are offensive is when people use them in a discriminating way. I was just wondering everyone else's opinion.
Posts: 88 | From: Hixson, TN, US | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sh!mmeR!ng*staR
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i think the words are fine as long as the person using them isn't doing so to demean homosexuals or insult them in any way. i personally call myself and my friends "homos" or "dykes" all the time, and none of them are offended because they know i'm not saying it to be mean.

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Prosperity that
the golden Muses
gave me was no
delusion: dead, I
won't be forgotten
-Sappho


Posts: 97 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TenohSetsuna
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I have problems with words like "f----t", "d--e", and "n----r." Yes, I just compared all of them, and I think it's fair. Here's why.

"F----t": It originally meant a bundle of wood, kind of like kindling. But then, in the Middle Ages, when gay men were burned at the stake like kindling, the meaning was expanded as a derogatory word for gay men.

"D--e": "Dike" means, of course, a wall built to hold back water. Back to the Middle Ages, where lesbians got drowned and left in whatever body of water they'd been drowned in. As the bodies piled up, they formed a "dike," how the spelling got changed is beyond anyone, to the best of my knowledge.
Note: I have also heard some contemplation that "d--e" comes from the phrase "all diked out," a slange term from the mid-1800s meaning "all dressed up and ready to go out for a night on the town," which we would call "all decked out." The other theory I've heard is that it's from "bulldike women," who were women who dressed as men around the latter part of the 1800s and up to around the 1920s, if memory serves. [That's when the phrase applied, I realize that cross-dressing is as common as ever, heck, I'm a cross-dresser]

"N----r": Derogatory term for black people, the use of which began a long time ago, and continues today, as with the other words.

Basically, all of the words I've mentioned have been used to insult and belittle people throughout history. They carry centuries of hate with them, so to speak. I can't see the point of bringing that back.

I hold slightly differently upon words such as "queer," which were used first, I believe, by the LGB community back in the early 1900s(I'd add a T, but I'm not sure if a transgendered community existed back then. Does anyone have any information on that?). On the other hand, it's probably more practical to say that I like the word "queer" because I just like all words beginning with "q."

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I don't want eternity. But Arashii is mine.

"I never said I was a boy." - Tenoh Haruka, episode 92, Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon


Posts: 102 | From: SoCal | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Confused boy
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I dont feel that just because a word was used to insult people in the past, it should be instantly be banned from polite usage. "nigger" is now used by black people, particularly in rap and does not necessarily have racist connotations. Liberalism and political correctness should be about reclaiming words for good usage, not destroying them.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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logic_grrl
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quote:
"D--e": "Dike" means, of course, a wall built to hold back water. Back to the Middle
Ages, where lesbians got drowned and left in whatever body of water they'd been drowned in. As the bodies piled up, they formed a "dike," how the spelling got changed is beyond anyone, to the best of my knowledge.

I've never heard that etymology before, nor do I know of any evidence that drowning in particular was used as a punishment for lesbianism in the Middle Ages. Could you give me a reference for where you read this theory? I'd be interested to know - thanks.

From what I've read, the etymology of "dyke"is apparently very obscure, and there are various theories around - some people (like the poet Judy Grahn) have argued that it might be derived from "Boudicca" (or "Boadicea"), the great woman warrior who led a rebellion against the Romans in Britain.


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TenohSetsuna
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If I remember correctly, I read the stuff on drowning from either "Becoming Visible : A Reader in Gay & Lesbian History for High School & College Students" by Kevin Jennings, or in this skinny little book called "Homosexuality" by the head of some organization for LGBT youth. I'm really sorry I can't remember who wrote it. I tried to look for it in the library catalog of where I read it, but with a title like that it was rather impossible. My apologies. Honest.

"Becoming Visible" is actually a really good read, if a little simplistic at points, and I'd recommend reading it. In any event, who's Judy Grahn, and do you have any idea where I can get more information on the "Boudicca/Boadicea" theory? I love history, and I've got nothing to do with myself this summer.

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I don't want eternity. But Arashii is mine.

"I never said I was a boy." - Tenoh Haruka, episode 92, Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon


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logic_grrl
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Thanks for the reference .

Judy Grahn's a lesbian poet, writer and activist. The bit on the Boudicca theory is in her book "Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds" which is entirely about the history and etymology of words and symbols connected with lesbian and gay life (it's also part autobiography and part history of lesbian life in the 20th century). It's out of print, but it's very easy to get second-hand copies on Amazon and places like that, and it's a fantastic book - I really recommend it if you're interested in this sort of thing.


Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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