My best friend is amazing. I love her to death, but she recently started using the word “faggot”. She used it once, and I gave her my best glare and she apologized and said she wouldn’t say it again. This was 2 months ago. But yesterday, in Bio lab class, she said that our sub, who had a higher pitched voice, “was such a faggot.” Normally, she’s totally “it’s ok to be gay” and I don’t think she realizes just how offensive the word is. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to explain the gravity of her words?
I’m glad that you decided to write to the Trevor Project. The use of this word is a common and unfortunately overlooked offense and the fact that you’re seeking advice on how to help limit its usage shows that you are both perceptive and sensitive to feelings of others. Kudos. As regards talking to your friend, there are a number of things you can do.
First, I would recommend honesty. Be gentle, but frank about your friend’s usage of this word. Let her know that it is offensive and explain why. It may also help to mention that, technically speaking, a “faggot” is a bundle of twigs that was used in kindling fires that burned people at a stake during the Salem Witch Trials, so one could interpret usage of this word as implying that someone deserves to be burned at a stake. There are a number of resources such as www.glsen.org (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) which is an organization designated to helping people overcome homophobia and transphobia. However, from what you are telling me, it sounds as though your friend didn’t mean to be offensive; sometimes people make mistakes.
If everyone were as aware and sensitive as you. The world would be a much better place if we had more people like you. Thank you for your service to the LGBTQ community.
The Trevor Project