What It Actually Means to Be a 'Dangerous Faggot'

What It Actually Means to be a Dangerous Faggot

It is an incredible gift to be alive during the age of marriage equality. In the age of trans representation in popular media. In the age of queer women being elected to leadership in the Methodist Church. It is an unequivocal truth that there has never been another time in recorded history in which LGBT people have been able to live as freely as they can today. Growing up as a child in private Catholic school, I daydreamed that I was a Spice Girl, but never about getting married. Never did I dare dream so big as to think I could one day walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand, that he could come to family dinners, that my brother and sister would one day have a brother-in-law. It seemed more likely to me that I would one day wake up to take Ginger Spice’s spot and become a Spice Boy than that I would live in a country where the president’s house was shining my colors.

Yet here we are. Of course, as a cisgender white man, I am freer than most to enjoy many of rights that have been afforded to the queer community in recent years. Although marriage equality is a step in the right direction, it is essential that we never forget the growing number of LGBT homeless youth or the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by trans people, especially trans women of color. Even in 2016, for millions of people it is still dangerous to be queer; dangerous just to be. And sometimes it is necessary to confront danger with dangerous behavior. Milo Yiannopoulos would have you believe that is exactly what he is doing.

For those who still may be unaware, Yiannopoulos is a “journalist” and technology editor for Breitbart News. As acting mouthpiece for the alt-right movement, a simultaneously terrifying and hilarious caricature of what the Republican Party has become, Milo has made a name for himself by becoming a professional internet troll. His most notable accomplishments include mocking the incomparable Leslie Jones on Twitter, and duping Out into believing he was a subject worth discussing with any sincerity.

Milo is currently traveling across the country on his Dangerous Faggot tour, leaving in his wake legions of mortified college students and university administrators. Having been on a campus he recently visited, I can attest firsthand to the distress felt by many people at universities and beyond as a result of his presence. Milo speaks the way he does under the guise of promoting free speech, but what I saw, students red-faced, consoling one another, feeling absolutely attacked and silenced by the words and actions of a man who suffers no real consequence for the harm he inflicts, promotes anything but free speech. 

This distress, however, is the alpha and omega of the danger of Milo Yiannopoulos. He would have you believe that the danger lies in his message, that he is somehow speaking truth on a topic other people wouldn’t dare touch. However, if you look closely enough you see that he isn’t actually saying anything worthwhile; he’s admitted that himself. He’s simply spouting the most inflammatory and controversial diatribes he can concoct. And as we all know, there’s nothing dangerous in that for the speaker. It might even lead to a presidential nomination.

Milo is not a dangerous faggot; Milo is a lazy writer who lacks the capacity to receive or reflect human compassion. Milo is not a dangerous faggot, but perhaps he would benefit from having a dangerous faggot in his life. The word "faggot" is contentious, and I hesitate to reclaim the moniker for anyone without their consent, but when I think of dangerous faggots I think of people like Ellen Page, Jussie Smollett, and Rj Aguiar — LGBT folks who are taking up the struggles of others, even if they may not directly benefit from it, people who put themselves in danger so others can live a better life.

It is not dangerous to be a hatemonger; it is dangerous to be a beacon of love and support for others during their time of struggle. It is dangerous to be unapologetically authentic, earnest, and empathetic to others when the only benefit to you is watching them thrive. It is dangerous to wake up every day in your own skin and attempt to live your truth fully and unapologetically so that those who come after you have a wider path to walk down. There is nothing dangerous about hiding behind self-created controversies for the sake of expanding your particular brand of hate. Becoming a parody of yourself may be foolish and self-destructive, but it is certainly not dangerous.

There are plenty of dangerous faggots in the world; I would hope I am considered to be one of them. To be a person who seeks the truth in a culture that has become fact-averse. To be a person who welcomes discourse and leans in to difficult conversations with the hope of learning and of bringing people together. To be a person who is unafraid to say "black lives matter" and "trans is beautiful" in a society that clearly does not always agree. To be a person so in love with their country they will stop at no lengths to help it fulfill its promise, when their country has not always loved them back in the same way. Being a dangerous faggot does not mean saying things that put others in danger; it means loving others enough to put yourself in danger for them.

Garrett Schlichtex100
GARRETT SCHLICHTE lives and works in Washington, D.C. His work can be found on Medium, in The Washington Post, and most freely on Twitter @gschlichte

Tags: Commentary

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