I have no time to be politically correct, to watch my mouth or be mindful of my words. In an age of campaigns such as 'Ban Bossy' and 'You Don't Say' it's sometimes safer to be seen and not heard for fear of saying anything that could cause offence.
The term 'politically correct' is used to neutralise our language and I'm far to old to ever be neutered. I grew up at a time when words like 'queer' 'bitch' 'homo' and the dreaded 'N' word were flung around the playground and society in general like the tennis balls at a tennis match.
Sometimes they were flung at me and I very quickly became adept at responding with a sharp-tongued retort or a clenched fist. I was taught to fight my own battles, stand up for myself and learn that words that are used as insults, when overused, become the least insulting of all.
I find it very hard to take offence or be insulted by any use of language nowadays and I'm sure my 'thick skin' didn't just come with age. The author/actor Stephen Fry once said:
"It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."
And it's a sentiment I totally agree with.
I think that my being a gay man in his 40s, who grew up on a council estate during an era of homophobia and still lives in a part of London that is waiting to be 'gentrified' allow me a certain freedom to act, say and behave in any manner that I want. I've paid my dues and I like to pepper my sentences with profanity. So where's the problem?
I live amongst a cross section of society and have all manner of neighbours, be it from religion, colour, creed or sexuality. I don't hide who I am and I would never allow myself to be victimised because of my choices or lifestyle, so it frustrates me when I see another word or turn of phrase held up to scrutiny and casually turned into the truth that dare not speak it's name.
I constantly tell myself to 'man up'. I find it a useful and motivating tool. I'm always saying it to myself when things get too difficult, be it with work, health, relationships or just running the extra mile on the treadmill. Apparently the term 'man up' is wrong because it's now associated with hiding or suppressing feelings. I don't see it like that. I see it as a term to stop me being a little cry baby bitch.
The term 'Bitch' is another favourite of mine. It's not a negative at all. It's gay law that at sometime we call another man a bitch. In my social circles it's almost a term of endearment. I would never call a woman a bitch because I don't see it as an insult either. If a woman is a 'bitch' then it normally means she's someone we should all be looking up to (can apply to the terms 'bossy' or 'diva' too).
I recently found myself being barred from Facebook for calling someone a 'dirty little fag'. It didn't matter that this person was a friend of mine and if truth be known, he really is a 'dirty little fag' but the PC police were watching and I found myself and my Facebook account suspended. I also wrote an update that referred to the Easter Bunny, chocolate eggs and Jesus that caused the number of friends on my 'list' to drop by a few digits and I once wrote an article about bisexuals that lead me to receiving death threats and to being called 'a straight breeder pig'.
I don't believe in any section of society being given certain rights or laws that stop others having or voicing an opinion on them. If somebody shouted out 'queer' to me on the street I'd turn around and say 'yes I am, what's your problem?'
It is, after all, the truth. I am different, I am unique and I could be looked upon as being 'queer'. An insult only works if it taps into your deepest insecurities and more often than not, those who use such tired and overused words are the most insecure of all.
There are so many role models and figures from the past that we should look up to and aspire to be like. Getting a group together to oppose peoples rights to say 'that's so gay' or not allowing your daughter to be identified as being bossy do nothing to forward the rights of the gay community or women, no matter how many celebrities you may garner to endorse them.
It's an old adage and one that has probably been replaced with all manner of comebacks but the rhyme that was taught to me as a child was this, 'sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me'.
So next time you feel insulted or offended or defeated by the words of another just think of those few lines, take a deep breath and 'man up bitches', they are only words after all.