Editors' Note: Guest blogger David Mixner is a former strategist and adviser to several presidential campaigns, including those for McGovern, Clinton, and Gephardt. He currently works as an activist for AIDS, LGBT rights, and wildlife.
Not even going to attempt to do the old 'Fa***ts" bit in this piece because I think the power of that word to hurt deserves our full attention. This holiday I was walking on West 47th Street just off Times Square when two guys came walking toward me. My guess is that they were in their late 20's but maybe a little older. They were well-dressed and seemed clean-cut and, frankly, harmless. As they approached me, they spat at me and said, "This is for you 'the King of the Faggots'." Whoa, I was totally taken back in time and I came to a halt at the force of the words.
After all these years, those words still had the ability to pierce me like a knife. Stunned is too mild of a word to describe my reaction. Not sure it was the hate that poured out of an unexpected source, the spit or that they felt that they could do so without any ramifications. Still have the image in my head of the look on their faces and realized they most likely would cheer if a knife had gone in my gut. These guys felt they had permission to express their disgust and hate openly. That permission not only comes from the heated debate over the struggle for our freedom. Clearly there are those organized hate groups that actually encourage these actions. But we also can look to religious leaders who remain silent, the Pope who is on a LGBT witch hunt and yes, even our President who constantly says marriage is between a man and a woman implying that any other definition is just not normal and maybe even disgusting.
But 'King of Faggots'?