Around four months ago, I wrote a piece about being gay. This morning, I woke up to the news that Sam Smith doesn’t mind being called a ‘faggot’. Here’s what I would add to that piece if I were writing it now (yes, I know I could literally add it to the bottom of that, but hey, that’s long af already).
In that interview, Sam Smith was having a chat about how he’d rather be called a “faggot” than “fat”. Admittedly, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Nobody likes being called “fat”, do they? I mean, there is no ranking scale of offensive slurs, but I imagine “fat” would rank quite highly.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t call anyone names (unless it’s a nice name, which tbh I think should be more of a thing). Every derogatory word is as bad as the next.
The difference between “fat” and “faggot” is that the vast majority of gay men will be called a “faggot” and some point in their lives. There isn’t a group of people who the word “fat” had collectively offended. It’s a word that I first heard in school, when some ‘lads’ in the year below me were throwing rocks at me. It sounds cliché, but the words did way more harm to me than the rocks did. Imagine being told by someone who doesn’t know you that you are a certain way, when you’re not really sure yourself.
Which makes it all the more annoying that one of the most famous gay men in the world can discard the word so easily. He says it was because he’s proud of being gay. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to be called a “faggot”. It doesn’t mean that a person who is happy in their body wouldn’t hurt if they were called “fat”.
The other big difference between “fat” and “faggot” is that weight will (unless you have a strict eating and exercise regime) fluctuate throughout your life. I don’t want to sound to Katie Hopkins here because obviously weight-loss can be nigh-on impossible, but weight can be lost. You can’t stop being ‘gay’.
It’s all just a bit annoying that one the biggest gay voices right now is so heteronormative.
The other thing that has annoyed me is the closure of The Black Cap in Camden. The venue is about to be redeveloped and turned into flats.
I guess the big question is: do we still need gay clubs? After all, we’re all equal now legally.
‘Equal’ doesn’t mean ‘the same’ unfortunately.
The reason why we still need them is that we are still part of one community. We have shared experiences. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and we’ve all had a ‘life or death’ moment. Ok, so it’s not as extreme as that, but every LGBT person has to learn to love themselves or spend the rest of their lives miserable. Therefore, we have to support one another, and there’s no place more welcoming than a gay club.
You just don’t get that on Tinder or Grindr. Yes, hooking up and dating may be moving away from the clubs, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t want to drink a disgusting vodka substitute and dance to Britney album tracks (I heard Drop Dead Beautiful the last time I was in Heaven and it was EVERYTHING).
Even as men, there will be nowhere to go for a cheap night out if all the gay clubs shut. It’s hard enough as men to get into West End clubs, and even when you do, you have to pay £20 to get in. Even then, it’s not fun because there is less of a sense of community there – there is nothing that connects all of these people together.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t quite get to that. You can all come round to mine if that happens.