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Backward, stereotypical thinking

Dear Editors,

OK ... granted, not too many folks probably read the fine print in “The Society Page” of your May 26 issue, especially if the writer is not the usual one for that article. And granted, Lindsay Nelson might have thought she was just being funny in her use of the term “faggy” to describe microbrews one shouldn’t attempt to order at the Wild Horse Saloon. Unless I’m unaware of a new meaning to that word, however, I took it as a form of the word, “fag” (you know, “gay,” “queer,” “homo”). Used in this context, that meant that in this particular bar, that kind of drink would only be ordered by “sissies” – real cowboys, obviously, don’t drink gay drinks.

Gotta tell you, my Wranglers were a bit wrinkled after reading that … .

First, I am a man who partly identifies myself as gay, and Nelson’s use of the word “faggy” is troubling to me and many others, gay and nongay alike, especially when used this way. To those who say this is an over-reaction, I can’t imagine that this paper would publish something where someone was allowed to describe some food item being loved by “niggers,” “kikes,” “spics” or “injuns” (I’d even be surprised if these words would even be printed in their entirety in this letter). For many gay men, it is no different when they hear the words “fag” or “sissy” – these are still the No. 1 put-downs used between men and boys in our country, and being branded as such can have long-lasting, negative impacts for many men.

Second, are people REALLY still that ignorant to think that all (or even most) gay men are effeminate and have the “refinement” of the guys on a show like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?” Hate to tell you, but you can’t always tell just by looking at us. Some of those manly fellas (read “real cowboys”) that wouldn’t touch a “faggy” microbrew at such an establishment would definitely enjoy going home and “saving a horse” together (modern

country-western music lovers will know what I mean). Is Durango really a haven to this kind of backward, stereotypical thinking? I don’t know what was more troubling, Nelson’s ignorance or her insensitivity (yeah, yeah ... some of her best friends are “fags”)?

I’m not usually an agitator, and I rarely write letters to the editors, but this type of thing should not be happening in a town that prides itself on promoting “live and let live” attitudes, pushing our personal boundaries and cultivating healthy lifestyles. As we do these things physically, so should we do them mentally, emotionally and socially.

My impression of Durango is that we are a community that cares about and supports one another. Or am I wrong? Is it a “community standard” here in Durango that this type of language can be used publicly, even supposedly in “jest?” Are gay people truly welcome here, or only as the butt of a joke (pun intended)? How could Nelson (and the editors) have thought that this was appropriate?

Or, hey ... maybe she meant something totally different, and I’m just being too “sensitive.” Sure hope so …

– Mike Brumbaugh,

via e-mail



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