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A Word On Equality Efforts

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by , 11th April 2013 at 06:47 PM (556 Views)
So there's been some recent questioning of Bulbagarden's stance on and effort towards equality. I'm not going to get bogged down in what the specific objections were, but they related to the rule banning use of the word "gay" (or synonyms) as an insult.

I'm not going to preach about why this rule is so important here. I'm not LGBT+, so it's not really my place to say how this makes LGBT+ people feel. I have many friends who are, though, and here is something that one of them wrote that I think is relevant to this issue:

I knew I was gay when – like most teenage boys – I started liking what they like. I didn’t fail to accept it – so I don’t want to exaggerate some story of battling self-discovery – though I wasn’t exactly happy about it. It was more of a cringing instant realisation. But what to do then? I was a pretty fantastic liar – a master. Gay people are, were, made to be. Once the realisation took hold, the fear – it’s the fear that’s the problem – built a structure of outward deceit. Every time a mate said “don’t be such a poof” to you because you don’t fancy going out that night or some other social inadequacy worthy of the epithet, your stomach does three somersaults. Every time, for eight years. Not a day – barely an hour – went by without someone pejoratively using “gay” – mainly to mean “bad”.

Eventually, almost like a contradiction, the fear becomes standard. And this is the greatest damage – it entrenches itself, every “gay” another nail and over time it becomes normalised. This is the harm that is done to gay people: not just that I couldn’t so much as have a kiss for most of my teenage life, but how it heightens to an irrationally high degree the perceived consequences of coming out and taking steps vital for happiness. And so it’s not the fancying guys that makes you different, but the way fear becomes engrained into your life and sense of identity. But it does make you different.
Note: This is an excerpt from a letter to Nicola Sturgeon (Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Health Secretary), the full letter can be found here: http://www.labourhame.com/archives/2576

Note 2: This blog is not an invitation to debate the rule. Any comments debating the rule will be deleted.

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  1. Satoshi-kun's Avatar
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    I think I will also leave this old blog post of mine here, as it has a lot to do with the usage of the word "gay," and many better words to use in its place.
    "Gay" vs. Profanity - Blogs - Bulbagarden Forums
    Gama likes this.
  2. CrackFox's Avatar
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    "Gay" vs. Profanity - Blogs - Bulbagarden Forums
    All the things you can't say are made up for by the tolerance of curse words ^^
  3. The Outrage's Avatar
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    Look at it this way, substitute "gay" with "Black" or "Hispanic" or "Girl" whenever you use gay to denote something as bad or insulting. Most people would find that offensive. Why is it not offensive for gay?
  4. Zenax's Avatar
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    I'll also say that allowing people to use "gay" and other such words as slurs is not equality — it's allowing the perpetuation of the oppression that LGBT+ people endure in their everyday lives. Bulbagarden is a safe haven for many of our users and we want it to stay that way.
  5. Cerberuswaltz's Avatar
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    Thank you for posting this! I know everyone won't agree, and they don't have too, but rules for this is good and a start. :)
  6. Gaga's Avatar
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    I appreciate how nicely that quote counters why it's not just a matter of inoffensive slang. I've had perfectly respectable and tolerant people misunderstand why it is I have a problem with it in the first place.
  7. Garren's Avatar
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    The people trying to be edgy and posting the gay slurs earlier (and you know who you are) are, in my opinion, more or less incredibly transparent homophobes. If I recall correctly, when the rule was first put into place, they basically complained Bulbagarden had become a dictatorship and started posting passive-aggressive quotes from novels and such that actually dealt with real tyranny instead of not being able to use two or three words on a private forum that's based around a Japanese video-game series.

    M...MUH SLURS! :0
  8. Gama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrostyGaga
    I appreciate how nicely that quote counters why it's not just a matter of inoffensive slang. I've had perfectly respectable and tolerant people misunderstand why it is I have a problem with it in the first place.
    Yes, that's exactly why it's such a problem and what I was trying to show with this quote, I'm glad it worked. (Though it sounds like preaching to the converted in your case!)

    It's also why in most cases the punishment for doing this (in the first instance at least) would be a formal warning rather than an infraction.
  9. Zexy's Avatar
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    I totally agree with you. Especially in Greece, school kids are using the Greek equivalent as a (dis?)honorific to every person they are talking to! To the point that the girls have asked the Principal to ban any usage of the word inside the school!

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