A Response To “Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?”

by: Jason Wyman

I recently read Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? edited by Mattilda Berstein Sycamore and published by AK Press. My husband got the book for me at the Anarchists’ Book Fair in San Francisco last April. I was thrilled when he handed it to me as the question is one that has been on my mind for quite some time; I just hadn’t phrased that way.

The book is a collection of essays and memoirs from queers of all stripes grappling with issues of masculinity, objectification, and the desire to conform. It calls into question aspects of our communities that at times elevates the masculine at the detriment of faggotry. The essays and memoirs range in style, perspective, voice, and quality. Overall, I loved the book and almost every single essay.I was also struck by the promotion of “in group” and “out group” as evidenced by the authors of the articles. I happen to know (or at least know of) a handful of the writers. The writers I know know each other and are definitely a part of a (counter)cultural group that skirts the outsides of “scenes”. I was also struck by the way some writers referenced other writers within their own articles. It became a circle within the text of the book, and I couldn’t help but feel that another “in group” was being formed.

I know the power of creating personalized/specific “in groups” in order to establish trust amongst people, especially for people on the margins. That said, the book and the way in which I saw an “in group” forming also forced me to question, to ponder, to inquire about the role of “in group”/”out group” in perpetuating the exact same type of bias that the authors are trying to disrupt. At what point does our contradiction to “mainstream” (whatever that really means) stop being critical and start limiting our understanding?

As a writer of both speculative memoirs and elliptical fables, I have a particular fondness for the spaces between fact and fiction, truth and reality, memory and dream. I also knew that the only response I could have to Why Area Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? was a Delphic one.

So, here is my response. I hope this context helps in understanding my response’s obscurity. Or maybe it doesn’t. But, in the end, isn’t that the point?

***
He came on me. Or was it “he came onto me”? I get my prepositions confused sometimes, which can make my memory inaccurate. Doesn’t really matter. He’d have to “come onto” in order to “come on” anyways. I just don’t remember release. Maybe it was forgettable. I do remember wiping something out of my beard. It could have just been hot sauce.

Regardless, he was next to me and the scars along his ribs were bright pink accentuated by the red nightlight. I liked him there even though he snored loudly and spittle formed at the corner of his lips. I loved his scars even more. I do remember kissing them all night long. Or maybe that was my dream. Something about the memory of those scars is romantic. The reality is very different: romance laced with horror. It isn’t that they used to be breasts that is horrifying. Rather, it is that the scar is visible. Mine are hidden under decades of therapy.

Still, he snored. Still, more spittle formed. Still, I laid next to him dreaming of scars made visible.There should be a large one on my left wrist. I don’t have to tell you why, and if I do you are not someone worth telling. You probably helped put that scar there anyway. The ones who don’t know are the most dangerous. It means they cannot observe or reflect. Sometimes, I wish I could be that dangerous.There is a scar (at least in my dreams) on my crown too. It is circular, raised, and rough. Its existence is the result of multiple cuttings and deep probings. It came after the scar on my left wrist. Again, you should know why. And again if you do not you are not worth telling.

I picked the scabs as they healed. It is why the scar is so raised: I couldn’t let them be. Instead, I wanted to prod and poke my wound, dig into it they way the therapist did. I wanted to know why I tried and failed. It was the failing that hurt more than the trying.

His body next to me terrifies me, and it’s not just the scars. He’s found himself, and I know it wasn’t easy.  He’s questioned each feature and knows each wrinkle, each mole, each newly growing hair. I can’t even tell if I’ve always had the mole at the tip of my nose. I’ve never questioned my cock. Maybe it is that I have pretended for so long to be comfortable in this body that I don’t want to actually look at it.

He made me cry last night, and I dreamed that there were scars on my eyelids. It started when he kissed the spot between my shoulder blades, and I could not see him. I only felt him. At that moment, all of my scars became real. I feared he saw them and would want to go further.

Then, the silicone slid in, and I cried even harder, not from physical pain but from the exposure of intimacy. He held me from behind as I sobbed, and we fucked.

We are both naked, still on the bed, the sun still has not risen. I want to run my fingers over his scars and know their realness. They seem so much more real than mine, and I question my maleness. He is so much more a man than me. He even has the physical scars to prove it. I will never live up to my masculinity. My beard is just pretend.

But I refrain from touching as I know how sensitive his scars are and that even a feather can ignite their burning.
I am afraid of daylight, of the revelation of the sun, of the clarity of dawn. I must leave him before his snoring turns into “Do you want some coffee?” and the spittle on his lips turns into my cum. I must leave him before he sees me from the front. I know I can not handle his gaze. It would reveal scars even I have forgotten.

So I dress and leave knowing the only thing I will ever wipe out of my beard again is hot sauce. And this memory…? It is just another scar, which I only see when I dream.

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4 responses to “A Response To “Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?”

  1. I love how you share. Your vulnerability brings out mine, scar to tender scar. I love you more.

  2. I love your writing and your reading!!! I saw a handful of authors read from “Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?” and although I REALLY loved it and think it is important writing, it did make me think of the ‘narcissism of small differences,’ which I think relates to your “in group” and reflections on counter culture. It’s worth thinking about and thanks for writing this. A quick reference or refresher http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism_of_small_differences. And yes I DID just bring up Freud and Lacan, faggot.

  3. Thank Koepau for the love.

    And Komel thanks for the comment and reference. YES! It is exactly what I was thinking of. Thanks for the language. And thanks for reading.

    In camaraderie,
    Jason Wyman

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