Introducing my inner faggot

22 Jul

wow, what a word that is.  just try saying it out loud.  seriously.  if you can, say it. right now.

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faggot. faggot, faggot, faggot, faggot, faggot.

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how did it feel?

did it hurt?  did it feel good?  did you spit it out in one big rush or did it come out in a whisper?

I have to admit, in a list of words I use to describe myself, it’s one of my favorites.  It has so much power in it, and most of it isn’t good.  A large part of what I like about the word is that it’s brutal and that I’m not at all sure it’s a word I can use to describe myself.  (Although, clearly I can because I just did).  But the fact that it’s so brutal and the fact that I’m so afraid of it makes this a very difficult topic for me to delve into.

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(which is exactly why I’m going to do it here)

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my gender identity makes it difficult to associate with an orientation label.  I mean, how can one identify as being attracted to the same-sex (or to the “opposite” sex) if they don’t identify as one sex or the other?  If genderqueer is like a third gender, that would make pretty much everything “opposite sex”, but since my gender is always queer it’s hard to imagine any pairing being a straight one.

I feel very odd when describing my attraction to men because my gender identity is very much wrapped up with my orientation.  When I feel masculine I often feel VERY attracted to men, and I rarely feel attracted to men when I feel feminine.  When I do it’s MUCH different… and much more platonic.  This makes it difficult for me to identify as a bisexual, partially because of the same no-gender-identity quandary, but also because the word “bisexual” implies equal attraction to both genders, and that’s not how I work.  If anything, I’d be a bisexual with qualifiers.. but even that doesn’t quite right.

My other problem with identifying as a bisexual has to do with a lot of cultural assumptions about bisexuals.  There is a false assumption that bisexuals identify as more cisgendered than their homo comrades.  Even though it is a false assumption, labels are only as good as how they are read by other people.  If it’s not going to help other people read or understand me, I’m not going to use it. It’s one of the reasons why I used to use the word “dyke” to describe myself (even when I was fooling around with men).  It hinted at my gender identity without requiring I explain what genderqueer means.  Even at my most masculine, I’m not much more than twink material.  I’m also not at all into sports, cars, or other stereotypically man-like activities.  While this doesn’t make me feel any less “male” (for me it’s just a different flavor of masculine) it means I’m read as a feminine boy, making the epithet “faggot” describes me pretty well.   Since my orientation with regards to men is SO gendered for me, and since the word hints at the feminine-like masculine side of my gender, the word feels very appropriate.

The word also suits me for another reason.  I have a considerable amount of shame and guilt around my attractions to men and my masculine identity.  I was raised with the belief that men (even the nice ones) want nothing more than to degrade you sexually and will lie, cheat, and trick you to get what they want. I’m know I’m not the only one (see Sinclair Sexsmith’s writing on How to Make Masculinity Stop Hurting) but the fact that the word has so much venom and hate attached to it suits me in a very queer way.  Claiming the word for myself, even though I feel odd using it because I am at least biologically female, is incredibly empowering.  It’s a way for me to claim this part of myself, for myself, while still acknowledging the shit I had to fight through to get where I am now.

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so for now (or at least until I come up with a better one) my I’m pleased to introduce to you my inner fagot.

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