During a recent comedy show in Nashville, TN, actor/comedian Tracy Morgan unleased a now infamous homophobic rant that sent shock, confusion, and anger throughout big cities and small towns alike.
Jo Koy is now underfire for using the term "f*cking f*gg*t" toward a male member of the audience while performing in Chicago.
Jo has since apologized for the words he used, as has Tracy. They showed a sense of maturity and responsibility by owning up to the error of their words and actions.
But these incidents made the wheels in my head turn, once again, toward the issue of homophobia and the attitudes toward it.
F*g. F*gg*t. D*ke. These are derogatory words. They carry the same weight of ignorance, intolerance, and hate as the N-Word and other racial words do. They carry the same negative feelings as the R-Word. Yet, here we are in 2011, and many people still use the F-Word easily and without thought or regard to what it means and how it hurts.Yes, I realize that people in the gay/lesbian community or in the African American community sometimes use these words amongst themselves, but that doesn't make it right for others to use them. It doesn't make it necessarily right for them to use them themselves, either, as it perpetuates the thought to the outside world that it's ok.
Perhaps we take things too seriously. Perhaps we should grow thicker skin and not be so easily offended. But that's easy for a seemingly "normal" straight white person to say. For the most part, we aren't discriminated against. But if you wouldn't think to call your African American neighbor the N-Word, or your nephew with Down's Syndrome the R-Word, then why should it be okay for your to call your Gay friend/relative/co-worker/stranger the F-Word?
Why can't we, as a society, learn to live with those different from us, or that we disagree with without feeling the need to be hurtful or mean? Bigotry and name calling, of any kind, toward any racial or religious group, toward those with disabilites or learning disorders, or toward the LGBTQ community, is uncalled for. We are all human beings learning, loving, and living in the best way we know how. We are all trying to acheive our goals and dreams. And we all deserve the right be treated with decency and respect.
Yes, we have freedom of speech. But we also should be held accountable to use that freedom responsibly.