Last month I had the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion at IPFW where we talked about diversity and issues which resident assistants in the new student housing should be aware of. While not a perfect discussion, I did feel like the RAs heard us, and that in particular, I was able to make my point.
“Pay attention to what you say, because we [gay people] pay attention. When you call your friend a gay, faggot or fag, we hear that, and we draw the conclusion that you don’t understand that those words are hurtful and demeaning. Even if you think it’s only the two of you, people are always listening, and people are paying attention whether you like it or not.
This afternoon I had the, uh, “opportunity” to put my words into action. I was walking from the parking lot to my first class, and a girl was walking ahead of me, loudly talking on her cell phone. She was telling the other party about some event or show she had witnessed; I’m not clear on the exact context. What I do know is that she makes the statement,
“So there was this Muslim person… [looks around] ok, I just had to make sure no one around me was Muslim. Anyway…
At this point I was tempted to tap her on the shoulder and say, “excuse me, miss, I’m a convert to the Islamic faith,” but decided against it. I walked past her, as she continued her conversation.
“And then, they brough out this fag…
And suddenly, I was “that guy;” you know, the one everyone whispers about (“hey, did you seem that guy outside of Kettler Hall this afternoon? he was, like, fuckin nuts!”). I spun on my heel and at the top of my lungs said,
“Hey, I’m a fag and I don’t appreciate that! Why do you feel you need to look for Muslims but not faggots, bitch?”
Admittedly, my deliver could use a bit of polish, but the look of abject shock on her face was worth it. IPFW, take notice: I’m sick and tired of hearing your ignorance, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.