How being a bit of a one direction fan has empowered me. Or something.

I would like to start this post with an apology. My aim in writing this blog is to amplify marginalized voices. One Direction, I acknowledge, with their millions of twitter followers and their every utterance subject to intense scrutiny, are possibly the LEAST MARGINALIZED VOICES on the planet. Yet I wanna talk about my experiences of being a fan and how this has to some degree enabled me to move on from the isolation I felt growing up.

Growing up as a closeted gay girl, you kind of don’t have the boy band posters on your wall. Friends of mine would read magazines and gossip about the boys in McFly or whatever that they had crushes on, and I could never join in. I felt completely alienated from that. For that reason, boy bands became symbolic of everything I felt I was missing out on, and thus I could never enjoy their music. I used to roll my eyes at the girls screaming at their concerts and feel like I was so much better than them. I used to ruthlessly tease a friend of mine who liked Justin Beiber. I would drown out the sounds of the Jonas Brothers by listening to Lady Gaga on my Ipod.

 

And then these idiots came along.

onesie

These 4 northern (+ one Irish) lads who have found fame and decided to run with it are the first boy band I’ve ever allowed myself to like. Suddenly, it wasn’t all about having a crush on them. Even though obviously lots of girls do, with One Direction it’s more about loving the cheesy dance routines and camp music videos and stupid jokes.

cute as a button

Finally letting a boy band into my heart has been cathartic for me and enabled me to deal with those feelings of isolation I used to have from not fancying boys. (Even though I might have some conflicting bicurious feelings about Zayn when dressed as a woman in the video for ‘Best Song Ever’.)

hot damn

HOT DAMN.

Anyways, it seems like they love me too, as the boys have always made an effort to be inclusive to the queer fandom.

happy pride

Screenshot 2014-12-22 at 11.51.02

who doesn't

Moreover, Harry has even had a bit of a feminist awakening lately, supporting Emma Watson’s He for She campaign which encourages men to break their silence surrounding gender inequality.

feminist harry styles

(Also, he has great hair, and having great hair is really important when you’re a feminist. Trust me, I would know.)

photo (1)#Iwokeuplikethis.


In all seriousness, being a One Direction fan has been empowering for me because it has enabled me to get over my boy band hating which at the end of the day, was just a product of internalized homophobia. I can be queer and love this boy band and at the end of the day, I know that both of those things are okay. One Direction, Dialecticbitch salutes you 🙂

An open letter to the boy who unabashedly used the word “faggot” and then asked me to explain to him why that was offensive #NoBystanders

This is a post inspired by Stonewall’s #NoBystanders, a campaign that encourages people to confront bullying. For more information, go to http://nobystanders.org.uk/

Hi.

First of all, apologies for not giving you a proper explanation when you asked me why I was offended, I guess I was just taken aback. I couldn’t articulate a response in that moment. I couldn’t educate you at the expense of my own self-preservation. I was hurt. Even though what you said wasn’t directed at me, I was hurt. I think I managed to splutter the words “Because it’s rude!” before I shuffled out, staring at my feet on the freshly-vacuumed floor.

Of course, this is not the only time that this has happened to me. I hear these words all the time. I think the reason why I’ve singled you out, singled out this encounter, was because you felt you needed an explanation from me. Well, here it is.

I was offended because I am gay. I was offended because when I hear words like that, for a split second I stop and think “Am I safe here?”. “Am I welcome here?”. I check myself. I feel more hesitant to be myself in public. It takes a lot to be confident and unashamed, and when I’m in an environment in which I hear that kind of language, I don’t hold my head as high. I’m more trepidatious to come out, I’m more likely to hide the cover of a book I’m reading from view if it’s about gay issues. I’ll say I’m going to “youth club” instead of to “gay club”. I internalize it, basically.

I was offended because in the year 2014, the implication that somebody is gay should not be an insult. The words “gay” and “stupid” are not interchangeable. I was offended because when slurs such as “faggot”, “queer”, “dyke”, “tranny” are in common usage, it grants complicity to people who actually commit violence against the gay community. When those people hear that language normalized, it allows them to justify their actions. It incites hatred.

I was offended because thousands of hate crimes are perpetrated against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) people every year, and you still ask me why you should have to change the offensive language that you use.

And ultimately, I was offended even though that insult wasn’t directed towards me. When you see that other people are being sworn at and mocked and the reason for it is because they are (or are perceived to be) like you, it’s dehumanizing. It diminishes your integrity and your sense of self-worth.

I was offended. Shouldn’t that be enough?