Dropping the ‘F’ bomb

Alice Bennett, Reporter

Across the school I’ve noticed a recent resurgence of the use of the F word. No, not the word parents fear that their kids will hear when they stub their toe against the table, the other one.

This word is a bit more harmful. It’s a derogatory slang word used to describe people of the LGBTQ+ community since the 1914’s. Nobody is quite sure why that word became associated with homosexuals, although the first known usage was in “The Vocabulary of Criminal Slang.”

Ever since then it’s been used to mock, degrade and ridicule the members of the LGBTQ community in America – specifically gay males and lesbians. 

I remember listening to my family mutter about those ‘queer people’, throwing slurs around like cigarette butts into the trash can. It was an everyday part of life, something you don’t even think twice about doing. Using slurs is like learning by rote. You use them over and over until they become normal, but to the people that hear them it’s never normal.

However, recently it hasn’t even been used to address those in the community, it’s become a synonym for everything and anything.

The word has wormed its way back into the vocabulary of teenage boys, especially the ones around my school. Gay is out and the F word is in, and it’s being thrown around like a paper airplane during class, with no clear direction or reason as to why it’s being thrown in the first place.

I don’t think they mean it to be cruel. I don’t think they’re intentionally attacking members of the LGBTQ+ community. But I do think it hurts, at least to myself. To hear people throw that word around, a word I’ve been called, is crushing. People I once thought were allies, or that I could at least trust, turned their back on me unintentionally.

But it doesn’t matter if they don’t mean to be cruel. Everyone knows what that word means, and that’s no excuse to use it.

Back in freshman and sophomore year, I felt safe in this school. I didn’t worry about what people would think, or how I would be perceived. But this year is different, because for once in my high school life I feel fear for being gay. I’m scared to bring up my sexuality when I’m not around close friends for fear of what people will say or how they’ll react. Instead of displaying my flag proudly on my shirt, I feel fear and hesitation to put it on – not wanting to leave the bathroom until it’s empty.

I know they don’t say the word to be cruel. I know it’s not intentionally malicious and it’s certainly not targeted at me.

Just because one person uses it doesn’t give anyone else permission to use it. It’s not a pencil – something that anyone can use and that can be passed around.

It’s a slur, plain and simple.

It hurts. All I ask is that you stop. There are 171,476 words in the English language; find another one instead.