The first time I was ever called faggot I was in Middle School. I didn’t know what the insult meant. I would soon find out what it meant and I grew quite accustomed to hearing it over the next couple of years from people who didn’t even know me. It was rather interesting as far as labels go. There was no evidence upon which to utilize such a label, but yet the label was “right”. A stopped clock is what comes to my mind.
One of the mannerisms which made me a fag was my voice. At the time my voice was beginning to change, but there was a very distinctive lisp. I eliminated that, by speaking like my teeth were permanently clenched.
Another way in which I ducked the issue was by simply avoiding those who would label me in such a manner. I spent a lot of time reading books. All that knowledge didn’t simply come hardwired. It was born out of every insult directed at me by every small-minded idiot who didn’t know better.
Time passed, as it is wont to do, and people simply forgot about all of that nonsense. Rather than being active on this issue of intolerance, I chose to stay firmly in the closet. More time passed, and I chose to start venturing out of the closet. I think what did it for me was the scandals regarding certain politicians. I saw the same public/private life dichotomy in myself and saw the damage it had done to these people and resolved to change it. I had done a very very good job of hiding it over the years. The weirdest part of this experience has been that I seem to have placed more importance on this than the people who I’ve outed myself to.