Let it be known that I'm surprised that I am posting on this subject, but my friend Jacquie got my attention. While I agree with much of what you said, Jacquie, because I think this thread is about how we identify ourselves (correct me if I'm wrong 'cause I haven't been reading these until now) I feel that because SGL is the least marred by connotations and negative energy, it is for me the best of the terms we've got out there.
"Gay" originally meant happy or free-spirited or some such. That is not the state we are in much of the time, and was never what we were, in terms of what made us OTHER. To gay I add terms like "puff," "fairy," "sugarfoot," etc.
"Faggot" is akin to nigger, though, unlike with nigger, I've reclaimed it and use it with my friends, and for the most part am not offended by it any longer. When someone calls me one, I simply say, "And?" But a faggot means a bundle of sticks, I believe used for kindling. This, of course, also carries with it the bizarre, but possibly true, legend of gays being used as kindling to burn witches back in the day. It also means a cigarette or its butt in some places.
"Cocksucker," "Butt Buddy," and their ilk reduce what we are to sexual acts. This is simply not the truth of the matter. It is possible to perform these sexual acts and not be SGL.
"Queer" just bugs me. "Well isn't that queer?" Huh! It's sort of the word you need to use if you're to find a somewhat visual antonym to "straight," besides "bent."
I won't discuss terms like "butchqueen," "femmequeen," "man," "banjee-cunt," etc. because those are the ones we use on our own. And they're kind of cute, if divisive. But humans do nothing, if they don't try to fit things into neat little categories, hence "homo and heterosexual," "bisexual," "transgender," ad infinitum.
In the end, I think Same Gender Loving is the root description of what makes us and propels us to be who we are. I don't need anymore politics than that. The rest is pretty much just sex and...well...talk that will either more specifically define the ways in which we are SGL, or will distract from what's important.
Just because SGL doesn't make someone else heated doesn't mean that one is closeting oneself. The forehead test also interests me. It makes me wonder if we're seeking to go about our lives like everyone else (respected), or whether we are looking for fights.
I agree that perhaps shouldn't argue with one another about how we self-identify. That is, unless there's someone out there identifying as a lowly sinner, damned to hell for being who they are. Then, I think we should talk.
I get a little edgy about entering these debates online because my narrow black butt has been chewed once or twice. Since you can't see people's faces sometimes you can't tell whether they're being as hurtful as they seem, anyway...
All that aside, I have never viewed the terms (gay, etc.) in quite the way many have. Perhaps this is because when I started hearing them I was too young to think so politically--much less so race politically. I don't think the coiners of those terms intended that they be inclusive of only whites, but of people who performed the acts of sex or love that they (society) deplored. "Batty boy," a Jamaican term, which may have been coined by whites, maybe not, is no more nor any less offensive to me than "faggot." God knows, if we get right down to it, there are few words in the English language that weren't used by whites first. Worse, these terms are defined by whites. Really what is the difference between "sex" and "gender" anyway? I scarcely know. and am not sure that I should care, but the "academy" thinks so.
My earlier response was strictly on the deno- and connotations of the terms we use for ourselves. I am not sure where the race card came in, but storm in it did. I can't help think it was carried there from earlier posts on different subjects. God knows, I have my issues with blacks dating whites, but those issues are complex and personal, spiritual and political. I don't have many white friends and have a spiritual, centered-as-a-motherfucker black lover and we sometimes use the terms gay, lesbian, faggot, etc. We ain't thinking about no white people when we use them, and aren't even thinking about reclamation. Reclamation of those terms would be from homophobes, not any race in particular. (BTW, if you ask me "nigger" should not be reclaimed, but stricken so that the only references to it are historical. It did not just mean black, but lazy, shiftless, dirty, less, submissive, ignorant, etc. These are not qualities I look to embrace in our race, though they exist.)
I hope I haven't rambled, but as we hear in the media all the time, I think we should be careful when we pull the "race card" on one another. Sometimes a pen is just a pen.
I also, don't think we need to re-invent the wheel in terms of language. I prefer SGL, certainly, but self-acceptance starts with the self. There is no greater or lesser context (white, black or otherwise) for it. Then people can call you what they like, and it will only be the sound of the vibration of their vocal chords and air to you. In the end, a person can fool other people into believing his centeredness, but he can't lie to himself. I try not to let rhetoric fool me.
Last updated: 28 June 1977 by Chuck Tarver