Tag Archives: faggot

Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination. — Christian Nestell Bovee

Though I always knew I am gay, it was not until the spring of 1989 that I accepted the reality. It was after a weekend visit with my friend and confessor, Father Basil Zion, a Russian Orthodox priest on the faculty of Religious Studies at Queen’s University, my alma mater. It was Father Basil who convinced me I should be true to myself. With newfound confidence, I took my first tentative steps out of the closet. I did not declare my homosexuality to the world at large. I made my first visit to the GO Centre, the gay community centre in Ottawa at the time. I started reading the local gay newspaper. Things were off to a good start, but my confidence took a hit when I read an article in the newspaper on a murder trial in Texas that sent a chill down my spine. In December 1988, Richard Lee Bednarski, an 18-year-old college student, was convicted of the murder of two gay men, Tommy Lee Trimble, 34, and Lloyd Griffin, 27. Berdanski was sentenced to thirty years in prison for his crime. It looked as though justice was seen to be done at face value–even though his crime merited a life sentence. However, in handing down his judgement, District Judge Jack Hampton openly expressed his disdain for the victims as they were gay.
 
In Hampton’s view, the fact that the victims were gay made it a lesser degree of murder. That and their killer was a good boy, a college student with no criminal record–it was only his first murders after all. He reached his conclusion despite the evidence that “he (Bednarski) and a group of North Mesquite High School students drove to Dallas’ Oak Lawn area to harass homosexuals the night of May 15.” The motive for his crime was the harassment of gay men. (AP News) As Hampton mused following the trial,
 
″These two guys that got killed wouldn’t have been killed if they hadn’t been cruising the streets picking up teen-age boys. […] I don’t much care for queers cruising the streets picking up teen-age boys […] I’ve got a teen-age boy. […] These homosexuals, by running around on weekends picking up teen-age boys, they’re asking for trouble. […] They really are.” (AP News)
 
The news report was a grim reminder that many still view gay men as predators who target adolescent boys for sex. As I said in previous posts, growing up gay, the onus on gay men my age was to prove to the broader society we are not perverts. Yes, the stigma of being a gay man lingered well into the 1980s. In fact, in 1980, when I served as a Reservist in the Canadian Army, I remember a fellow Reservist who spoke openly about going with friends to “roll the faggots” at Majors Hill Park in Ottawa. Also, in the spring and summer of 1989, several men were murdered in Ottawa. Their attackers killed them because they thought they were gay. At least one of the murdered men was not gay, not that it matters. The police investigated the murders, and charges were laid against the assailants who went to prison.
 
Looking back, I was not comfortable accepting my homosexuality as living with the stigma of being a gay man remained a heavy burden. Over time, however, through the hard work of brave gay individuals and the gay rights and human rights groups who supported them, gay men threw off the stigma. Life is good for gay men these days, but they should not forget their troubled history. As free and equal citizens, we must focus on our issues as gay men and not allow our movement to become diluted with causes, notably feminism and transgenderism, that have no bearing on our history and the present. As we exercise our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, certainly we can sympathize with those around us but not at the expense of our interest in the consolidation of the gains of the gay rights movement.
 
Posted by Geoffrey

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary. ― H.L. Mencken

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Geoffrey out duck hunting.

The words “gun lobby” and “gun nut” are slurs invented by prohibitionists–people opposed to gun ownership and hunting–to besmirch the character of gun owners and hunters. I heard the term “gun nut” used on American television sitcoms like “All in the Family” as early as the 1970s. I shrugged it off at the time as inconsequential. I had no reason to believe as a boy that there was anything wrong with gun ownership and hunting. I remember how other children brought things like duck wings for show and tell in kindergarten and primary school. Wings taken from the wild ducks that their older brothers and fathers shot while out hunting. Other children proudly told the class about their fathers, who had returned from successful big game hunts. My dad and my uncle enjoyed hunting cottontail and jackrabbits when I was a boy. It was not until late in 1989, following the mass shooting at the engineering school at the University of Montreal that I first heard mention of the “gun lobby” used as a pejorative term in public parlance. It came as an unwelcome surprise. Continue reading

When a man does a queer thing, or two queer things, there may be a meaning to it, but when everything he does is queer, then you begin to wonder. ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

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Geoffrey and Mika in their library.

I cancelled my subscription to what was formerly Huff Post Gay Voices when the editorial director Noah Michelson changed the title to Huff Post Queer Voices earlier this year. Michelson justifies substituting “queer” in place of “gay” on the grounds the “word is the most inclusive and empowering one available to us to speak to and about the community.” (Noah Michelson as cited in OUT) The thinking behind it is people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, etc. form a “community,” that is they share a collective group identity. Following this train of thought, Michelson asserts “‘queer’ functions as an umbrella term that includes not only the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people of ‘LGBT,’ but also those whose identities fall in between, outside of or stretch beyond those categories, including genderqueer people, intersex people, asexual people, pansexual people, polyamorous people and those questioning their sexuality or gender, to name just a few.” (Noah Michelson as cited in OUT) I get that “queer” is used by some as a blanket term for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, etc., but I heartily disagree with and refute of this point of view. Continue reading

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.–Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

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While attitudes toward gay people have changed a great deal for the better in my lifetime, prejudice and stereotypes remain. There is one stereotype in particular that kept me from coming out until later in life: that of the gay man as a predator from whom children must be protected. I am told I am good in my interaction with children and young people. I am gentle and soft-spoken and very easy going, and children generally like me. Because of this, it was suggested that I consider a career in teaching by one of my mentors at Queen’s University. I was reluctant to go into teaching because of this stereotype. I was confronted with this stereotype and the prejudice against gay men as teachers in 1986, the year I graduated from Queen’s. The Chairman of the Frontenac County Board of Education, in commenting on the amendment to the Ontario Human Rights Code which added sexual orientation to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, was dismayed that he no longer had any legal grounds to refuse to hire a teacher if he knew he was dealing with an “obvious faggot.” Continue reading