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Why You’re a ‚Faggot‘

Gay men get stereotyped constantly. It should be simple: Gay men are sexually/romantically attracted to other men. That’s all „I’m gay“ should tell someone. Instead, a landslide of assumptions follows the the word „gay.“

For a long time, if you were gay, society assumed you were effeminate, a deviant and a pervert. As the LGBT rights movement gained momentum, the stereotypes became more nuanced, but not necessarily any more flattering.

For over a year I researched the words that people use to describe gay men — words like „faggot,“ „pillow biter,“ „queer,“ „gym bunny,“ „bear,“ „twink,“ „homosexual“ and even „gay“ — to get at the heart of these assumptions.

I asked an (insanely talented) artist friend, Joe Sinness, to create artwork based on my findings. Below you’ll find a few words with my favorite histories and my favorite artwork.

Every gay man has to struggle with these words, and getting to know the etymology/history/mythology surrounding the words might make them less destructive. I hope you find that this is true for you.

Why You're a 'Faggot'

Reclaiming the word ‘faggot’ is a tricky business

For some gay men, reclaiming the word ‘faggot’ as a point of pride, rather than shame, is an important step. For others, it can seem cavalier and bring back painful memories

As a kid growing up in the Midlands, my first encounter with the word “faggot” was when it was served at the dinner table with mash and gravy. A “fag” was something the older boys smoked at the bus stop. Then I was called a fag by a classmate. He didn’t even know I was gay at the time, it was just something that cruel boys called each other, but I knew and it amazed me even then that a word that was so innocuous in its other contexts suddenly felt like a punch to the gut.

Since then, like plenty of other gay men, I’ve encountered the word a fair bit and not just every time “Fairytale Of New York” comes back on. Over the last year or two, I’ve noticed more and more gay men using the word self-referentially online, to the point that there is a running joke about which pop culture icons get to say it. Ariana Grande can, apparently.

For the most part it’s good-humoured, even celebratory. The celebration of “faggotry” by members of the community is intended as mischievous and sincere, yet my hackles still rise every time I see the word. Hearing it aloud elicits a fight-or-flight response in my gay primate brain.

I’m not the only one who finds the f-word to be a trigger. “I know it can be tossed around on occasion in a playful way between gay men, but personally, I still cringe when I hear it,” says sex and relationships writer Sean Abrams. “I have vivid memories of being called a faggot when I was younger, so despite having less of a negative connotation when used among members of our own community, that doesn’t take away the associations I’ve always connected it with.”

“I have come to find power in it,” says Ryan Killian Krause, a journalist from New York. “I know re-appropriation of words can be tricky, but I’m at the part of my personal identity journey where I’ve come to revel in the fact I’m a faggot. I would also be lying if I didn’t say that I enjoy the subversive power I feel using it in hetero-dominated spaces… I’ve had straight women tell me I can’t use the word and to them I’ve essentially said, ‘That’s not your call to make.’”

There’s precedent in reclamation of language, of course. “Queer” was once a term used as a means of othering sexual minorities, to categorise us as social aberrations. It has since been reclaimed by the community as a celebration of our differences, carving out a whole area of academic study and providing a handy, single-syllable catch-all descriptor for anyone who lands somewhere on the LGBTQIA+ continuum. Elsewhere, in Latin American lesbian culture, masculine-of-centre women are retaking ownership of “camiona”, a derogatory term once used against them, derived from the Spanish for a female lorry driver. Can the same be done with “faggot”

For some, “faggot” is a badge of honour. Gay author, playwright and activist Larry Kramer certainly owned it in his 1978 novel Faggots, which chronicled gay life in pre-Aids New York. More recently, in 2014, queer writer Casey Legler outlined her own definition of the word in the Guardian: “Faggots are beautiful, magical, brave humans who have overcome the loss of an entire generation of their elders to HIV and Aids and who have, despite this, approached life with resilience, grace and class,” she wrote. “Being called a faggot is, in fact, a compliment of the highest order. Those of you who use it as anything less than a term of celebration are incorrect.”

This line of thinking, that words only have power if we give it to them and that we get to choose what a word means to us, is admirable but arguably inaccurate. Language is forged through history and it feels naïve to think that negative connotations that have been ingrained generationally can be simply willed away. “I come down hard on anyone who tries to argue that it’s ‘just a word,’” says Tom Bluntnonbinary but has been on the receiving end of “faggot” as a slur. “It’s a magic word, the kind you find in a scary old book and wielding it carelessly can make terrible things happen.”

Perhaps the only comparable example of a community retaking ownership of language used against them is the n-word, used in all manner of contexts within the black community, but also still considered very much a racist slur when uttered by anybody else. “It’s encouraging to see people reclaim the word ‘faggot’ and use it in a power move, in the same way that as a man of colour I find it empowering when black celebrities use the n-word,” says David Chipakupaku, who works in TV in London.

“But as with rappers who use the n-word, we need to be aware that those who want to harm us will see our empowerment as an excuse to feel free to use those words willy-nilly and claim that we’re attacking their freedom of speech when we challenge them. I’m happy to be a faggy fag, running around in my faggotry. But I worry about saying it in public, around non-gay people, as they may feel they have a right to use it.” He raises a good point. Earlier this year, a single line of dialogue in sitcom The Other Two (“I am gagging for you, faggot!”) perfectly captured the everyday horror that many gay men feel when a well-meaning, self-identified “ally” uses language that doesn’t belong to them.

So where does that leave the gay men who find a sense of agency or empowerment in retaking the word? Policing the words that people use to identify themselves doesn’t feel right, nor does judging or dismissing the concerns of others who have a negative, instinctively fearful response to that language. What constitutes a funny joke within one friendship group might just as easily cause pain in another.

“If another queer person had serious qualms with my use of the word faggot, I would want to hear them out and respect that,” says Krause. “Because what I take from the word is a sense of renegotiated power and if my actions served to undercut that in another queer person, what’s even the point?”

As a cis man, it is only relatively recently that I have begun to understand, through conversations with transgender and nonbinary people, how the language we use surrounding our identity can be just as personal and nuanced as our identity itself. Maybe it will never be possible to reach a consensus on what the word means to us. After all, no community is a monolith. For me, the word “faggot” is so specific in its violence against gay men that even when I hear it used in jest it is hard not to feel rendered powerless – as if it had been shouted at me from a passing car.

Reclaiming the word ‘faggot’ is a tricky business

faggot (n.1)

late 13c., „bundle of twigs bound up,“ also fagald, faggald, from Old French fagot „bundle of sticks“ (13c.), of uncertain origin, probably from Italian fagotto „bundle of sticks,“ diminutive of Vulgar Latin *facus, from Latin fascis „bundle of wood“ (see fasces). But another theory traces the Vulgar Latin word to Greek phakelos „bundle,“ which is probably Pre-Greek.

Especially used for burning heretics (emblematic of this from 1550s), so that phrase fire and faggot was used to indicate „punishment of a heretic.“ Heretics who recanted were required to wear an embroidered figure of a faggot on the sleeve as an emblem and reminder of what they deserved.

Faggots, the traditional British dish made from the innards of pigs (liver, lungs, heart, spleen) mixed with bread crumbs, rolled in balls, and braised in stock (1851) apparently is the same word, presumably from the notion of „little bits and pieces bound up together.“

„male homosexual,“ 1914, American English slang, probably from earlier contemptuous term for „woman“ (1590s), especially an old and unpleasant one, in reference to faggot (n.1) „bundle of sticks,“ as something awkward that has to be carried (compare baggage „worthless woman,“ 1590s). It may also be reinforced by Yiddish faygele „homosexual“ (n.), literally „little bird.“ It also may have roots in British public school slang noun fag „a junior who does certain duties for a senior“ (1785), with suggestions of „catamite,“ from fag (v.). This also spun off a verb (see fag (v.2).

Other obsolete British senses of faggot were „man hired into military service merely to fill out the ranks at muster“ (1700) and „vote manufactured for party purposes“ (1817).

The explanation that male homosexuals were called faggots because they were burned at the stake as punishment is an etymological urban legend. Burning sometimes was a punishment meted out to homosexuals in Christian Europe (on the suggestion of the Biblical fate of Sodom and Gomorrah), but in England, where parliament had made homosexuality a capital offense in 1533, hanging was the method prescribed. Use of faggot in connection with public executions had long been obscure English historical trivia by the time the word began to be used for „male homosexual“ in 20th century American slang, whereas the contemptuous slang word for „woman“ (in common with the other possible sources or influences listed here) was in active use early 20c., by D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce, among others.

faggot (n.1)

Gay Faggot

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Gay Faggot

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The Subjectivity of ‚Faggot‘

While its power is unquestionable, the sheer usefulness of the word “faggot” is largely unsung. There are its non-slur meanings—a bundle of sticks, a , cigarettes in the U.K. (generally referred to as fags)—but even as a pejorative, it’s been endowed with an uncommon multivalence. It is foremost known as a crude synonym for a gay man, the kind of thing people hear before they’re beaten to death, the kind of thing bigots say casually to refer to the group. As such, it has been both reiterated and reappropriated by gay men (as well as other queer people like trans women who themselves were inevitably called a faggot prior to transitioning and perhaps still are) as an insult and term of endearment. At times it is an in-group simultaneous expression of endearment and contempt, because emotions are complicated, especially those deriving from how we feel about ourselves and others like us.

But for years, there’s existed a rather mainstream rationale that the word “faggot” doesn’t necessarily refer to gay people, particularly in homosocial settings of self-identified straight men. In these social settings, it’s a generalized insult to note weakness. “You don’t have to be gay to act like a faggot. You don’t even have to be a man to act like a faggot. Anybody can act like a faggot,” said Chris Rock in a stand-up set before going on to describe a scenario that would make him a faggot (getting so wrapped up in singing Gwen Stefani in his car that he misses when the light turns from red to green). In 2013, Eminem claimed that his use of “faggot” in his music was not homophobic, but “more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole.” To explain why he used the word to refer to a paparazzo in 2014 Jonah Hill explained, “I said the most hurtful word I could think of at that moment and, you know, I didn’t mean this in the sense of the word… I didn’t mean it in a homophobic way.” His apology seemed more sincere than most because he acknowledged that effect superseded intent: “How you mean things doesn’t matter. Words have weight and meaning and the word I chose was grotesque and no one deserves to say and hear words like that.”

While no one would mistake these ostensibly heterosexual men as queer theorists or sociologists, there is an academic reading that supports their perspective. The word faggot (or fag), Peggy Orenstein writes in her book-long survey of masculinity among young American men Boys & Sex, “has become less a comment on their sexual orientation than a statement about their manhood.” Orenstein cites the work of sociologist C.J. Pascoe, whose 2007 book, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School, detailed the potentially non-homophobic usage of “faggot,” arguing that it’s used to maintain social order amongst straight-identified boys, and as such, referring to it as an anti-gay term is reductive. Wrote Pascoe:

Homophobia is too facile a term with which to describe the deployment of fag as an epithet. By calling the use of the word fag homophobia—and letting the argument stop there—previous research has obscured the gendered nature of sexualized insults (Plummer 2001). Invoking homophobia to describe the ways boys aggressively tease each other overlooks the powerful relationship between masculinity and this sort of insult… Fag is not necessarily a static identity attached to a particular (homosexual) boy. Fag talk and fag imitations serve as a discourse with which boys discipline themselves and each other through joking relationships. Any boy can temporarily become a fag in a given social space or interaction… [B]ecoming a fag has as much to do with failing at the masculine tasks of competence, heterosexual prowess, and strength or in any way revealing weakness or femininity as it does with a sexual identity.

The linguist Arnold Zwicky, who is not only gay but identifies as a fag, affirmed this stance on Slate’s podcast in 2012: “Starting from a slur on homosexuals or presumed homosexuals, the word has moved to a generalized insult with actually no imputation of sexuality at all. That’s paralleled roughly by one of the extensions of gay itself, in the stupid, lame sense that’s often associated with teenagers: That’s so gay.”

Reading Pascoe’s book shook my world. For years I assumed that those who made the fag-not-gay argument were trying to pull one over on us. Having an outsider, who had studied the boys in an American high school, support this line of thinking upended my own philosophy. I believed that in order to have a claim to an epithet in order to ethically reappropriate it, one had to have been called it with some regularity. What Pascoe argues is that straight men who employ the word fag have their own relationship with the word that theoretically has nothing to do with actual gay people. Having been called a fag about as much as my actual name by other boys while growing up, I assumed this word was the property of me and my kind. (And surely, “fag” hits differently depending on whether you are actually are one or not.) Because so many straight men seem to have a relationship with the word, and its power to organize social order, there’s an argument to be made for their own discrete claim to it. So many of us have felt the sting of “faggot,” but for only some of us, it continues to radiate.

Even if they’re trying to fool us with this argument, though, it doesn’t mean straight guys who say “fag” aren’t trying to fool themselves. In a well-known , disgraced comic Louis C.K. rhapsodized “faggot,” saying: “I miss that word, you know. I grew up saying that word. It never meant gay. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what gay was. I hadn’t been told that people do that. I had no idea.” In his conception, a faggot was a sniveling, scolding killjoy. “I would never call a gay guy a faggot unless he’s being a faggot, but not because he’s gay, you understand?” said the comedian. Orenstein and Pascoe similarly documented boys claiming that they’d never use the term on someone who was actually gay.

But ignorance is not absolution. The failure to realize the origins of a word does not erase them. “It’s not the word, it’s the context in which the word is being said,” says Rock regarding pejoratives. But there is subjective context (what one means) and objective context (what something means given its usage and history)—Rock’s conception ignores the latter for the sake of the former.

In a sense, language is defined by its evolution. This is why slang and internet-speak are routinely added to standard-setting dictionaries. The issue here is that, unlike an ableist term like “lame,” whose earlier popular usage to refer to disability has practically evaporated and whose status as a generalized expression of contempt has clearly prevailed, “faggot” has never ceased meaning a gay man. It’s only expanded to be able to apply to men who aren’t gay but nonetheless exhibit some sort of behavior that, just like homosexual behavior, could be considered to fall short of the standard of masculinity. But the notion that it is a generalized insult divorced from its homophobic context seems a relatively new convention, at least in mainstream media.

I’d theorize that even the dilution of “faggot” itself owes to homophobia. Before the red scare and McCarthyism, homosexuality was not a major feature of the mainstream American discourse. As queer people were through arrest and the denial of employment, they organized and fought back, gaining greater cultural visibility and thus an even stronger backlash from the moral majority. In 1990, psychologist Dr. Gregory Herek told the New York Times that homophobia was primarily motivated by the reaffirmation of one’s own values, and psychologist Bob Altemeyer said of those most strongly opposed to gays: “Their self-righteousness makes them feel they are acting morally when they attack homosexuals. It overcomes the normal inhibitions against aggression.’’

(I want to posit that it was in this sort of environment that sought to protect society by both naming the villain and muting the love that dare not speak its name. By hating the sinner, one didn’t even have to contend with—or expose his children to—the sin, thus detaching “faggot” from the nuts and bolts of what defined it, thereby fostering a more generalized epithet.)

That people like Rock, Louis CK, and Orenstein’s and Pascoe’s subjects acknowledge that “faggot” could refer to a gay man but swear that it doesn’t in their usage just goes to show how intertwined the meanings are. Further research might actually test whether people are increasingly unaware of the status of “faggot” as a slur to refer to gay men, but it seems pretty obvious when you read about a high school kid coming out only to be abused and called a faggot, or a guy ranting about a “fucking faggot homo,” that it still means what it’s meant since at least 1914, loud and clear. Did the guy who drove his truck with “” on its back windows to a protest of openly gay Colorado Governor Jared Polis in May just use that word coincidentally? When Fox Sports broadcaster Thom Brennaman referred to “one of the fag capitals of the world” on a hot mic in August, did he merely mean a place where nonnormative-presenting men convene? I doubt it.

That “faggot” was once used to refer to women, particularly those deemed old or unseemly, and continues to hold space as a derisive evaluation of a man’s masculinity shows that no matter how far it’s come, it’s barely strayed from its belittling intentions. Because it remains a word that is used to denigrate gay men, and presumably most people who use it are aware of this, even in its supposed non-homophobic context, it is at the very least an affront to those most vulnerable to the word. For if the person using it had gay friends he cared about, or was interested in fostering a prosocial environment, he wouldn’t be furthering the use of a word that still exists to subjugate. In that sense, there’s at least a bigoted negligence that arises in even the most (supposedly) benign uses of the word. That adds yet another use to an impressive put-down: it’s a litmus.

Correction: A previous version of this post described the podcast Lexicon Valley as defunct; it is not. However, the hosts of the podcast during the time the referenced episode aired, Mike Vuolo and Bob Garfield, both left it in 2016.

‚Kill The Faggot‘ Game Briefly Uploaded To Steam

An obscenely anti-LGBT video game uploaded to the digital game store Steam this week has drawn widespread condemnation after encouraging players to shoot gay and transgender people to earn points.

The game, called „Kill The Faggot,“ is modeled after a first-person shooter. Players earn points for killing gay characters, and receive a bonus if they hit a transgender person, which prompts a message reading „Transgender Kill“ to flash on the screen.

Players are penalized for shooting „straight“ targets, and during gameplay, a voiceover repeats statements like „straight pride“ and „whoops, I just dropped the soap.“

The game was uploaded early Monday and has since been removed from the Steam website. The URL now redirects to an error page.

The project was created and uploaded by Randall Herman, a California video game developer and Christian shoe promoter, according to Ars Technica. He was able to get the game on Steam through the company’s „Greenlight“ initiative, which allows wannabe developers to submit their own creations to gain exposure.

Herman told the outlet he made the game by himself and that it was removed from the site within two hours, before calling the gaming community „overly sensitive and easily offended.“

Before Herman’s work was removed, comments were filled with angry users calling for more vigorous measures to monitor community uploads. Greenlight currently requires a $100 fee for users in an effort to keep spam and joke submissions off the platform.

Greenlight’s terms of service ban any „threats of violence or harassment, even as a joke,“ and „inappropriate or offensive content.“ Valve, Steam’s parent company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

YouTube games critic Jim Sterling downloaded a copy of the game and uploaded a play-through before the game was removed. Aside from harsh criticisms during gameplay, he pointed a finger at Steam for its apparent lack of moderation.

„Perhaps having absolutely zero vetting process on Steam isn’t the best idea,“ Sterling said.

The upload has also sparked conversations about the role of satire in video games on Reddit and in the comments of Sterling’s YouTube clip. Many have called for a public apology from Steam to the LGBT community, condemning the lack of humor in Herman’s project.

„What is it satirizing?“ Sterling notes. „Where is the fucking satire?“

From prostitutes to gays

Let’s begin with the most common term, “gay”, which baby-boomer homosexuals appropriated for their liberationist cause in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its pedigree is longer and according to Edmund White originally applied to women and meant loose or immoral, as in a prostitute. And “gay-house” was the term for a brothel. “In the past one asked if a woman was „gay,” much as today one might ask if she “swings,”“ wrote White.

„Homosexual” (or “homosexualist”) has similar 19th-century origins and was originally coined in 1869 by a Hungarian doctor, Karoly Maria Benkert.

“Faggot” has had different meanings according to where and when it was used. In eighteenth-century London it was first a term for prostitute then for homosexual. In 1920s New York, it described an effeminate homosexual who sought social/sexual relations with “normal men”, according to George Chauncey while a “flaming faggot” was an extremely obvious, flamboyant gay man.

In 1970s Australia, the ubiquitous “poofter” covered all forms of deviancy including men who had sex with other men, poor-performing sportsmen, politicians and motorists. Meanwhile, as the documentary Deep Water revealed, the literal bashing and killing of poofters caught at it in public parklands was something of a pastime.

“Cat” from “catamite” is ancient Roman with connotations of effeminacy, prostitution, and the passive role in a sexual encounter. “Fruit” was, like faggot, according to US historian Randolph Trumbach, a term first used in the 18th century for a prostitute and then a sodomite. “Fairy” and “queer” had similar origins between the world wars.

Why the fixation on prostitution? As Trumbach explains, there is a “long tradition in English usage” of words that are used to designate a prostitute being appropriated one generation later to describe sodomites.

This tendency for the words for prostitute to be later used for homosexual dates from 18th-century England when they often shared common social spaces, argues gay historian Rictor Norton.

Much later, historians such as Chad Heap and George Chauncey found similar intermingling in the underground bars that operated in New York and Chicago during Prohibition in the US.

The words gays use for themselves

Because of the sardonic nature of gayness, all of the above would have to be included also in the vocabulary of gay men and queers.

As well, there are community-specific terms, such as “clone”. Historically-specific, it connotes the style of gay men mid-1970 to mid-1980s (moustache, short hair, faded, baggy Levis and pocket and/or neck handkerchief) as exemplified by the lead singer of the Bronski Beat at the time of their hit single, Smalltown Boy.

More arcane terms include “ganymede” (a young male) which was used by Oscar Wilde and his contemporaries and “Marianne” and “Molly” from the earlier 18th century, again connoting an effeminate (or passive) male.

“Nance” and “nancy boy” as well as “Nelly” and “nellies” were terms used by both gays and straights also connoting effeminacy or youthfulness. According to one of writer Keith Vacha’s interviewees, nellies were “common queens” by which he meant: “ones with bleached blonde hair and plucked eyebrows”.

And finally, perhaps to the consternation of some of today’s toughs, there is “punk,” which according to Rudolph Trumbach was once the slang term for both prostitute and sodomite.

Terms of abuse and endearment

Terms of abuse are a way of distinguishing those whom we choose to marginalise because we do not like the look of them or because we were there first. In other words, they are the “outsiders” of sociologist Norbert Elias’s important work from the mid-1960s.

Humans have been doing this from the outset. Gangs and groups, them and us, and in the case of sexual preference, there are the straights, the “normals”, if you like, and the others, the sexual outcasts.

The terms I’ve illustrated were used by the majority to exclude prostitutes and homosexuals from “polite” society. While these terms were used to mark their difference, this did not prevent males from that same polite society from using the good services of prostitutes and homosexuals when it suited them. And as they did so then, they still do so now.

What is also interesting is the way in which sexual outcasts could adopt terms of abuse used for them and turn them into terms of endearment for each other — as my friends and I did in the 1980s when we called ourselves fags. And so, self mockery becomes a form of defence against the strictures of the priests and preachers.

It was literally the priests and the preachers, and later doctors and lawyers, who sought to demarcate “useful” sexual activity from wasted sexual activity. According to historian Michel Foucault the monogamous heterosexual couple produced new workers; those erotic and sexual activities that detracted from or weakened it were identified, categorised, and punished by law.

That young, gay men are now starting to reclaim these words is significant. It could mean that they are becoming interested in finding out where they have came from, that is, what are the origins of the culture they inhabit?

Twenty-one years ago, AIDS, which was then the dominant concern for gay men and culture, ceased to be a death sentence and instead became a manageable disease. Young men who have grown up since then could feel that other aspects of gay life can now be explored with greater freedom.

If this is so, it would suggest a strengthening of gay culture and community because people can only start exploring their past, warts and all, when they feel safe.

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Partners

Swinburne University of Technology provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

Joe Jackson’s 1982 hit Real Men was the first time I had heard gays referred to as faggots. I was just out of the closet and in my first gay relationship in London. Jackson’s lyrics about how only our friends and other gays could call us faggots was encouraging, coming as it did from a straight man singing a song just before AIDS hit.

Faggot, often-considered a slur, has been reclaimed many times over by gay men, including in a new play by Declan Greene, The Homosexuals, or “Faggots”, currently showing at the Malthouse in Melbourne. The play looks at gay male relationships and their politics, and is apt as middle-class gay men and lesbians struggle with acceptance all over again in the face of their call for marriage equality.

My friends and I called ourselves fags because it was a way of turning the abuse on its head and laughing at the straight bullies.

And in merry-old-England there was abuse: one night when leaving gay club Heaven, a bunch of lads called us and our female friends “pooh jabbers”. It was graphic and offensive (“bum bandit” being a similar, anal-fixated term from about the same time) and it occurred to me how deeply, viscerally they hated us.

DISCUSSION

I’m a bit of a word nerd, and I’ve always been fascinated by “dirty words”.

Like “motherfucker”. Why is it bad to have sex with women who have children? Or is anyone who would have sex with your mother (fathers excluded, I suppose) automatically disrespectful on some level? I suppose it may have started out with a literal meaning, but I think it’s mostly just a guttural-sounding word with low vowels and quick, staccato consonants.

“Faggot” has a meaning that started to wander because, aside from its meaning as a slur, it’s also a great curse word. Like similar phonetic words “maggot” and “bigot”, it has a crisp rhythm and punch.

If someone says “dick sucker”, they are calling a guy gay. But anything can be a “cocksucker” – a car that won’t start, a coffee table you stub your toe on, the person (of any gender) who gives you a parking ticket. But nobody would bother with “penis sucker”, and “fellatiator” sounds positively delightful.

I’d get business cards that said “Fellatiator” and I’m not even gay.