Thursday, April 22, 2004

Coming to Terms

nate landerThe word “faggot” to me has the same level of gravity as the words “homosexual” or “gay.” It’s just another word used to denote me and my gorgeous hair. In my multi-lingual universe, “faggot” does not have the same menace as its Filipino equivalent “bakla,” which even on the screen makes me wince.

Imagine, if you will, armed with this translation, that you were nonchalantly walking (okay, sashaying) down the street when out of the blue, someone yells “bakla!” to you at the top of their lungs as they drive by in their tricked-out, souped-up and chromed Honda Civic. You instantly think: how gauche! how nouveau-riche! before realizing a full minute later that you were meant to be insulted. You belatedly give the finger to a startled 76 year-old woman pushing her walker, the offenders long gone.

When I was in my early teens, I had a crush on Boy George, the colourful and flamboyant lead singer of Culture Club. Ok, “crush” might be too strong a word, maybe “terrified” is more like it. While millions of other people conjectured if George was a Boy or a girl or something in between, I had no doubt that George was indeed a Boy, and the make-up and chapeaux were just theatre, you know, like KISS.

After the infamous Grammy acceptance speech when Boy George more or less outed himself, the word “gay” suddenly had a greater import. It was like I always knew the meaning of the word “gay”, but not what it meant, if that makes sense. Suddenly I connected my confusing feelings toward my friend Charles to love. I was so overwhelmed that I did what every love-struck teen did: I stole Charles’ lunch money and tripped him on his way to History class.

Since then I have come to terms with my homosexuality. After all, it has given me insight to an effective nightly skin regime. It wasn’t easy, there were years of deep torment, loneliness and sub-standard evening gowns.

Come to terms. An interesting turn of phrase. Let’s go through the terms, shall we?
Ass spelunker, bent, butt pirate, cock jockey, cock sucker, doughnut puncher, fag, faggot, fairy, fudge packer, homo, nancy boy, nelly, pansy, pillow biter, poof, queer, sissyboy, woofter.

Auf Deutsch: Schwuler, stricher, warmer bruder, lustig.

In Italiano: Frocio, finocchio, puppo, busone, effe, recchione.

En Français: Pédé, tapette.

Nope, just a distant buzzing.

"motherfucker fagit i fucking hate u.u make me fucking sick. all u homos..fuck all of you!!!!"

These are the words nate left in my tagboard (go look, it may still be there). These terms, possibly meant to arouse my anger, didn’t even register. I truly did not care. I was more upset when Blue Pencil left a withering criticism of my writing in the GuestBook. I left nate’s words on the tagboard but I deleted Blue Pencil’s entries. The vitriol is lessened by nate's broken sentences; his lowercase “u” is definitely not my uppercase “I”.

In Filipino: Mantsutsupa. Bading. Tsupaero. Bakla.

These terms, these slurs once had enormous power over me. Their power is much diminished, but sometimes, they still sting like bees.