You Can’t Tell You’re Not, It’s Up to Us
The number of times and people I have heard people say they are not racist or homophobic or transphobic because they have friends, or coworkers, or family members who are and they’re not offended by them is just insane.
What is offensive to one person may not be to another. I personally find the word “Fruity” more offensive than the word “Queer”, just because of the context that word has been used in. It has been used to make fun of people based on their mannerisms, tone of voice, based on what they like, it’s essentially the nicer version of the f-word in my book. But it’s not nice.
People also constantly tell me not to be offended by the small things. But if we let people get away with the small things like those comments, they begin to think they can get away with larger things. Or they think it’s okay when it’s not and I’m personally offended.
I’m not being overdramatic either, I’m telling you how I feel about the use of a word or comment and you cannot say it’s not offensive when you are not the person the word is being used against.
Even if you have friends who are these things it doesn’t mean they’re not offended by the language you use. They may be afraid to say anything because in the past people have been hurt when they’ve defended themselves.
And what may have once been acceptable has changed in years. Some people have reclaimed the word “Queer”, others haven’t, some people have exceptions, so what was fine forty years ago might not be fine now and it’s not your choice to determine what is offensive or not unless you are a part of the community that the words or comments being used apply to you.
So, if you are straight, white, and cis, you can’t tell queer people the queer word isn’t offensive, because to some people it is, same with the t-word, that applies to trans people, or the n-word that applies to people who aren’t white.
If you also feed into the stereotypes of these people that exist thanks to society, i.e. people who aren’t white are terrible drive, or criminals, or trans women are creeps who just want to go into the women’s bathroom, etc., you are not any better.