My Aunt works in a big pub here in Toronto. She told me this funny story once about how she was working one night and she was closing the bar down and was going to take all the cigarettes down from behind the bar and lock them up. So she called out, Last call for fags at the bar! And these two gay guys sitting there got really offended and she had to buy them both a drink.
You see because my Aunt is from Liverpool she calls cigarettes fags. A lot of people in Britain call cigarettes fags. It makes sense though because in the olden days they used to call a bundle of wood a faggot of wood. And what is a cigarette really: A crushed up little pile of leaves and twigs in paper. It makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is calling gay people faggots. Why do gays get called fag or faggot? I could ask the Running Faggot myself, he’s pretty smart.
But he’s busy playing the ugliest woman in the word in Beauty and the Beast.
So it looks like once again I’ll have to turn to the Magic Internet for an answer to my stupid, stupid question. Here we go…
Question 18: Why is faggot a derogatory slang term for gay men?
(I’m not going to explain why there’s no internet sounds here again. So just shut up and watch another Scott Thompson Fag sketch while the Internet does its thing.)
Magic Internet Answer: It’s a shame you humans have to deal with all these sexuality and gender issues. No wonder you don’t know anything and can never get anything done. Not only am I genderless but I work well with Macs and PCs. I guess you could say that I’m the electronic embodiment of perfect harmony. And I’m smooth down there like a Ken Doll.
Eh, em. Yes, on to your answer. The term faggot as a bundle of sticks is derived from the old French, Italian and Vulgar Latin word Fascis. Fascis is also the origin of the word fascist. So I guess one could say that all fascists are really faggots deep down.
File Photo: Faggot
How the term faggot made the jump from a bundle of sticks to a derogatory term for homosexuals is more difficult to ascertain. Some believe that it came about from the fact that a faggot of sticks was for burning and that homosexuality was frowned upon in olden days and suspected homosexuals were burned at the stake. This is an unlikely origin though as there is no record of anyone being burned at the stake for being gay. Just witches. Lots of witches.
File Photo: Witch.
In the 16th century the English began using the word faggot to describe an old or unpleasant woman. The origin of this usage most likely has to do with the fact that older women, often widows, would gather firewood to earn a meager living and were called faggot-gatherers. It is in this usage that I believe the origins of the word faggot as a derogatory term for homosexuals has its roots. Bigots often like to brand gay men with feminine terms like sissy, nancy or queen. Couple this with some gay males’ propensity for dressing in drag and one might understand how the label old or unpleasant woman could be given to a gay man in the 16th Century. Men of that age were not very attractive to begin with.
And even with today’s modern conveniences some gay men do not make very attractive women.
Beyond this estimated hypothesis there is little else one can do to discover the true origins of the word faggot as a derogatory slight. If only I was around 500 hundred years ago to document everyone’s hate-speech as I am now.
File Photo: A bunch of faggots.
Thanks Magic Internet. I’m not sure where the gay community stands on the word faggot these days. I know that many terms that were once offensive to gay people are now being taken in by gays and used in their own culture. But I think any of those words, including faggot, can still be considered offensive. You’ve answered difficult and potentially offensive question with grace and dignity. But even if people still don’t like the word faggot, there’s a solution. For that solution we once again go to Scott Thompson.
Check Ya Later Faggos!