by: Mar Curran
Preface: Since coming out as transmasculine about seven months ago not a week goes by that someone does not call me a name on the street. I do not feel I need to take time out of my day to confront them and risk getting my face, aka “the money-maker,” harmed, so instead I have chosen to address them all at one in letter form.
First of all, thank you for pointing out my obvious queerness. I’m not surprised you’re able to notice my homo-hotness. I spend a fair amount of time and money on looking like a dapper gentleman. I recognize that this may cause you to make exclamations, but up until recently they used to be more geared towards, “Stud!” or “Cute couple!” if I was with another queer holding hands. Now I’ve become a magnet for your hateful language. Maybe I’m gayer looking than before, or I’m just more offensively gay. Maybe you’re jealous of all the sexual advances you think I surely must receive by looking so good. Either way, there are a few points I would like to clarify with you.
Why is this worthy of vocalization? I don’t see you and yell, “Look, an asshole!” or “Tacky tracksuit!” That is because I, friend, have tact. And since your tone reveals that you are judging homosexuality negatively out loud to a perfect stranger, you must be lacking this. (Though I do often take it as a compliment, just so you know, tracksuit lady!) I know that the burning candle of my queerness is no longer hidden under a rock of lady (see: femme invisibility) but still. Read some Dear Abby and learn some manners.
My next point is that my aura of “faggot” has nothing to do with the context of most of the situations we’re in. Yes, there’s you, guy with prison tattoos on his face, who saw my boyfriend and I holding hands. That does seem like a time one might be informed of his sexual orientation on the streets at 2 a.m. But then there’s you, bad driver woman, who made an illegal left turn at a red light, almost hitting me in the crosswalk, who yelled, “You’re gay!” Yes, I may be into non-normative sex, but that had nothing to do with you being shitty at operating a motor vehicle. And to you, two young boys who asked my best friend and I which one of us was the man as you rode your bikes past us- trick question! We both identify as male. But as we are only going to eat tacos (no pun intended) I think that is irrelevant. Last time I checked Mexican restaurants do not require that you be on a heteronormative date to give them your five dollars.
Also, really? That’s the best you can come up with? I mean, yes, granted, “faggot” is a classic dating back before my time. But just “gay?” That’s lazy hate speech. It’s extra insulting that you can’t put more than five seconds into wanting me to know I’m not like you. I’m just going to shrug. You should at least have a few syllables in there, buddy. The boys on the playground when I was six used to come up with better euphemisms for me being fat (for the record, I’m just big-boned and fluffy).
Let’s put your multiple years on the earth being homophobic to work here. Take a new angle at this. Maybe a humorous approach? I’d surely giggle if you called me a butt pirate as I carried my groceries home. Or the good ol’ religious angle, telling me I’m going to rot in hell as I take a seat on the bus! (A shout out to you, man on the 74 West, who tried this when you also told me I was merely mediocre looking. Way to step outside the box.) Why not be inventive, bring my family into it or talk about the 1138 federal marriage benefits my possible future civil union can’t receive? The world is your oyster here.
In conclusion, I am aware that I am different from you without pointing it out. Meaning, I’m better than you because I’m not a loud bigot on the street and have a better attitude towards my fellow human beings. But at least make this a fun process for me, okay? All my friends get a kick out of these stories (I once made one of them cry telling him about you, Mr. 74!) and I want some new material. So at your next annual “Mar Is A Faggot” meeting (I assume you all have these) please take a second for a brain storming session, okay? Much appreciated.
Rainbows and Gaga,
Mattis “Mar” Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each all The Writers I Know. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.