Queerty Query

When Is It OK To Call Someone “Faggot?”

jeepgThe word “faggot” has been driving discussion on Queerty since last week, when we reported that Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein warned an interviewer to “leave me alone with that faggot [Johnny Weir.]”

Many supporters argued that gay-on-gay “faggot” use did not amount to an insult, insisting that context and personal history are everything when determining just how offensive a historically disparaging epithet is to be taken. As an LGBT icon and activist, people like Fierstein and comedian Lisa Lampanelli are more or less “allowed” to use the slur, especially when referring to gay men specifically.

“Faggot” is a cultural term that has been appropriated by the gay community as a term of endearment, Queerty reader Ryan Harris wrote in a response to our coverage of the issue. “When you use the words that hurt the most in your own vernacular, the words begin to lose meaning,” he says.

Alternatively, many readers believe the word “faggot” should be retired permanently, and feeble attempts to “reclaim” it should be rightfully squashed. Debate was even more heated when we reported that rap collective Odd Future’s affinity for the word drove heterosexual group leader Tyler, The Creator to use it 213 times on an album — some argued that a straight person does not have the right to “reclaim” a word that isn’t theirs.

So you tell us, Queerty readers. Zero tolerance, or tolerance in context? When is it OK to call someone “faggot,” and who is allowed to do it?