QUEER-TIQUETTE with Hinerangi

CANTA issue #10, 2017

I’m back, and this time I’m talking about words, more specifically, slurs. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me –we’ve all heard it, and at some point we’ve probably all said it. But it’s not true. Words can be incredibly hurtful and damaging, and often even more so to people who are a part of a marginalised group who are already facing other forms of harassment and discrimination.

WHAT IS A SLUR?
A slur is an insulting or offensive word, specifically one that carries a historical weight against a particular group. The reason these words are so hurtful is that they can carry decades or even centuries of derogatory use accompanied by individual and systemic violence. For many people in the LGBT+ community, hearing words such as faggot, homo, dyke, or tranny can call up traumatic memories, or force them to relive some of their worst moments. These words are more than insults, and using them is irresponsible at best.

NOT-SHIT INSULTS 101
If most of your insult dictionary is filled with politically charged slurs, never fear, we’ve compiled a list just for you!

Pooface – numbnut –toadhand – armpit breath – $2 noodle – mouth breather – shitstick – asshat – uc wireless – cheesedick – douchenugget

NOW LET’S TAKE IT BACK
Something important to note about slurs is that they can be reclaimed – that is, a group that has had a particular slur used against them can reclaim it for themselves as an act of empowerment and a firm middle finger to all the people who have ever used it against them. Queer is a great example of this: originating as a derogatory term for LGBT people, it has become so widely reclaimed that it͛s used as an gender and orientation descriptor, and it’s even found it’s way into the title for this column, neat right? However, even if your lesbian friend proudly declares herself a dyke, and your gay friend identifies completely with “homo”, you should still not use these words without consent! Slurs used against specific groups can only be reclaimed by members of that group, and not everyone does, which is cool too!

Issue Two: The Greasy Wok 4