I ditched one of my regular news reads today.
Based on what appears to be a completely internal narrative, the Gay Voices section of the HuffPo1 decided to change their name to Queer Voices. The explanation is that gay is too limiting and Queer is somehow more inclusive. Really? Are you effin’ kidding me? One of the most vile hateful words out there and it’s more inclusive? Hell naw! Even the normal definition is divisive.
I just can’t bring myself to support a news org that willingly uses a derogatory slur to describe us. Actually, I can but I won’t. I am the last person to be the word police but this isn’t about being politically correct at all. The rambling article they put out to announce the decision was full of self-serving justifications. If anything the tone was we refuse to every be considered normal or part of the whole so we are changing our name to prove it. The entire piece felt insulting and condescending wrapped in a smile of ‘we’re just trying to stay current.‘ Well, they can stay current w/o me and go straight to hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to hell.
I normally don’t put much stock in hearing people talking about how ‘offended’ they are at [action of choice]. Being offended usually just means you don’t like something. As with a lot of things these days, people conflate ideas/actions/behaviors that are considered offensive to society at large with general every day actions they don’t like. Regardless, I was offended and deeply. I grew up listening to that awful word being hurled around as an insult and slur. While I was fortunate enough to escape childhood with only a little physical gay-bashing, I did not escape the jeers, taunts, and never-ending cruel names. ‘Queer’ was front and center and I will never willingly refer to someone that way. It has not lost its bite or derogatory meaning.
The argument that we are somehow reclaiming the word is absolute bullshit. It is not slang, it is a slur!2 Even here in SF said term is not accepted. Oh there is a contingent that feels the need to refer to themselves that way for sure. And that is their right. You can call yourself whatever you wish but don’t presume to speak for the whole. It’s flat out disgusts me we could consider naming a section of an online publication with global recognition with such a shameful slur. And I’m not alone. The reaction was swift and almost unanimous. The decision is not being met well at all. At last count the article was up to 200 comments and almost all were against it. At one point comments appeared to disappear; however, the site is notorious for outages and glitches with the FB commenting tool.
I am not queer, I am a man who happens to be gay. My orientation adds to my uniqueness but it does not define me. The idea that being queer somehow exclusively makes me special or different is foolish. Call it the LGBTI voices, rainbow voices, etc but don’t call it queer and pretend it’s OK now.
So far there have been no updates, no apologies, no "we had the best intentions" acknowledgments, nothing. I’ve taken them out of my news reader and told FB to not ‘show me stories from HuffPo’ at all. There are plenty of welcoming places online that don’t decide, based on the ideas of a few, renaming themselves an offensive slur is "looking to the future." I won’t be going back to that site as long as they demean us.
end of line