Reader Alert: Homophobic Language


I've been called "fag" many times in my life, but probably the last place in the world where I would have expected to have it happen again was the “Paganism and the LGBTQ+ Experience” panel discussion at Paganicon.

It always hurts more when your defenses are down.

Let me hasten to add that this hate speech was no fault of either the panel's organizer or the panelists themselves. It came, rather, from an audience member who stood up to speak during the post-presentation discussion.

(Since I don't know pronoun preferences for this specific individual, I'll use “3.”)

This person, who self-identifies as Third Gender, talked—inter alia—about how, although it wasn't 3's real identity, 3 used to pass as a “fag” because it was easier.

Yeah, tell me about how easy it is to be a fag. Tell me all about it.

Sorry, sweetie, that's not the way it works. I'll take “fag” from another fag, but I won't take it from you. “Fag” is in-group language, and for us fags only. From anyone else, it's a slur.

So listen, 3.

You've opted out; fine.

But in-group language is for the in-group.

From anyone else, it's hate.


Because homophobia kills.

That's why.


Above: Matthew Shepard (1976-1998)