Another FYG Story Submission! Thanks for sharing, Imogen!The photo above and the following story was submitted by nachocheeseandanarchy.tumblr.com/
There’s this girl on my Facebook friends list who I don’t like. I’m sure everyone has them - people we’ve (barely) kept in touch with from school, friends of parents or family, or people we didn’t really like that much in the first place. She posts a lot of racist/homophobic/sexist stuff on there, and usually I just sigh and scroll right past it, resolving to talk to her later about it. I never end up tackling her about it, in case you hadn’t realised.
The other day, she posted something using the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory way. I rolled my eyes, glad I didn’t have to speak to her in person any more, and got my mouse ready to scroll down the page, when I stopped for some reason. I looked down at my wrist, and saw my WWFYGD? bracelet.
I realised that a FYG thing to do would be asking her why she chose that word. A FYG thing to do would be teaching her about how it’s offensive. A FYG thing to do would be standing up for something I know is right, instead of just ignoring it and hoping someone else will do it. A FYG thing to do is the right thing, even if nobody else backs me up and I look like an idiot.
So, I inboxed her. Nothing major, just a short little comment about how I wish she wouldn’t use ‘gay’ like that, how she should really only use it when talking about gay people and how it’s actually pretty offensive because it looks like she thinks the word gay means the same as the word rubbish or awful.
I wasn’t expecting much back. Maybe a passive aggressive status aimed towards me was the best I could hope for. But I’d done my bit, so I got up from my chair and went to make a cup of coffee.
The ‘bing’ of facebook chat alerted me that someone was trying to talk to me, and after sitting down I realised it was the same girl from before. I inwardly groaned - I didn’t fancy a heated argument and the reason I’d written to her inbox was so she could think about what she was going to say. That was, until I read the message she sent me.
It was a long, apologetic message, full of hesitant pauses and hyperbole. I won’t bore you with it all, but the basic gist of it was she had no idea using the word in that way was offensive, and was hugely thankful I’d told her. One of her cousins had recently come out, and she didn’t know why he was acting standoffish towards her until I had spoken to her, and she suddenly realised it was because she kept on using gay in that way.
Now that girl’s awesome. I won’t say she’s perfect - she definitely slips up from time to time - but I know that since telling her such a simple thing she’s learned a lot more about safe, non-offensive speech. I know it’s not a huge thing; I know it won’t change the world or single handedly stop hate crime, but hey, at least it made one girl think a bit more about what she said :)