A friend of mine posted this on Facebook.
Back when I was a teenager I used to call kids “faggot” or “queer” as an insult. The intention was to be a bit more insulting, a bit more vicious than just calling them “dickhead” or “wanker”.
I haven’t used those words as insults in years – decades, really – and I’m now ashamed I ever did. I stopped because there was almost certainly a gay kid who heard me say that, even if I didn’t say it to them, and assumed that I thought being gay was the most disgusting, repulsive thing I could think of. The worst of the worst. Human shit. Probably should just kill themselves and get it over with.
I didn’t think that, by the way. If I’m being honest I wasn’t thinking at all much when I said those things. They were just words to me. But I said it, and I am now wishing there was some way I could find every gay or bi kid that ever heard me and apologise to them. I’d like to find every straight kid that heard me, and say that I was stupid and cruel and am now ashamed.
I don’t recall ever insulting anyone by calling them “wog” or “spic”. Somehow I knew that wasn’t OK. But I know others did, and I suspect some that did are now bemoaning the “good old days” when everyone wasn’t so god-damn sensitive.
The fact that those words were used without fear of offending anyone didn’t mean they didn’t offend.
So yes, I remember laughing at the gay kids, and the kids who weren’t gay but I said were. Possibly I helped push someone into suicide. Or maybe not. Maybe I just helped make them hate themselves a little more.
Either way. Hardly “good old days”.