One Equal World

How to React to Derogatory Comments

Posted on: September 29, 2016

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Faggot. Dike. Butch. Queer.

These are just some of the many slurs that LGBT folks hear every single day. But while you cannot control what other people say or do, you can control how you react to it. In fact, your reaction is key because it can actually discourage people from using those slurs ever again. The following provides a multitude of options on how to react to derogatory comments so that you can empower yourself and your community.

Reclaim the Word

In recent years, the LGBT community has effectively reclaimed the word “queer” so that it no longer has a negative connotation. In much the same way that African Americans have reclaimed the “N” word, so too has the gay community redeemed “queer.” Queer is now a respectful, inclusive word that can be used to reference anyone who identifies as being LGBT. Taking back the word is taking back the power it once had over you.

Call Someone Out

Ever hear someone say, “That’s so gay”? Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, that’s not okay!” The thing is, people don’t treat you based on how you deserve to be treated; people treat you based on how you allow yourself to be treated. Additionally, don’t be afraid to express your anger over the use of the term or phrase. Be firm, be direct, but most of all, take the opportunity to educate that person on why it’s inappropriate to make those kinds of remarks.


There’s a reason that they say laughter is the best medicine. Look, sometimes people are just plain vile and mean spirited. They’re unhappy with themselves and they feel the need to project their insecurities onto you. In fact, some people will purposefully try and push your buttons just to elicit a response from you. Don’t fall for it. This is done in an effort to control you. In cases like this, the best response you can give is to laugh it off. Laughing will not only be unexpected, but it will communicate to the verbal abuser that their scare tactics don’t work on you.

In an ideal world, everyone would be courteous of one another and there wouldn’t be any derogatory remarks. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. So until we completely eradicate the use of these slurs, we must continue to fight back in a way that liberates us from the chains of oppression.


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