Faggot, freak, queer and poofter are slurs that I choose to embrace.
I know some folk eschew them, and that’s fine.
Since the age of 6, I was called a girl, pansy, fairy, poof, nancy, etc.

(Note the misogyny – many slurs used against homosexuals are also misogynistic.)

My early responses were:

‘Takes one to know one,’

or

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’

But the words were hurting me, and I knew I was different, though I didn’t understand it.

When I finally accepted myself as homosexual, “came out,” I chose to accept these terms, to reclaim ownership of them.

I am homosexual.

I am gay.

Yeah – and also happy.

Being queer is an act of subversion for me.

I will call myself a faggot.

By reclaiming the slurs slung at me, I not only found shared identity – I could finally disarm my abuser.

Now, when someone shouts “faggot” at me – my response is along the lines “Yeah – I am – I’m a big poofter – the biggest faggot there is.”

I am a big faggot. I do loads of shockingly homosexual things. And I do them very well.

There is no sting in the slurs – they are mine – the insults are powerless – the abuser is generally confused.

I can laugh – I am happy and proud to be homosexual.