Slut

As long as I can remember I have defined a slut as “someone who has more sex than the person using the term,” because that’s how the word seems to be used. The traditional definition (as in, Merriam-Webster online) applies only to females- and uses the value-loaded term “promiscuous.”

So the term ‘slut-shaming’ would seem redundant- ‘shame’ so often seen as integral to the label of ‘slut’. However the full term is useful as it suggests that the use of the first word is more than descriptive; it is harshly judgemental. And it clarifies that labeling some one else a slut is generally done as an attempt to coerce the person to stop doing that which ‘earned’ them that label. As Wikipedia puts it:

In human sexuality, slut-shaming is the act of making, or attempting to make, a person, especially a woman or girl, feel guilty or inferior for certain sexual behaviors, circumstances, or desires that deviate from traditional or orthodox gender expectations,

In preparation for this blog post I took a look around the web to see what else is out there- and The 4 worst ways that gay guys shame each other, a piece posted on Gays.com and dated 11/12/2014 says pretty much everything I wanted to- rather than just quote most of it here I urge you to read it and I’ll add some of my other thoughts below.

One of the vows I took late in 1983 (and maintain to this day) as a Fully Professed Sister in the Order of Perpetual Indulgence was:
I vow to uphold the Spirit of Stonewall,
the Destruction of the Closet,
and the Celebration of the Body,
which bourgeois society has banished to the Valley of Shame;

Back in the 80s we LGBTQ fought back against pressures from the surrounding hetero-normative world as we struggled to save lives and stop the spread of HIV. At first it seemed the powers that be would gladly sacrifice queers, drug users, ethnic minorities and the occasional hemophiliac to the rabid reich wing. At best Pharma would give the infected a few more good (less-bad?) years.

As the virus spread (or more likely, was recognized to have spread) throughout ‘decent’ society there was a tad less stigma, some additional resources dedicated to finding long-term treatments on the way to a cure. The realization that the virus was running rampant across Africa took the focus off we perverts’- I have no doubt some subconscious First World White Guilt drove much of the effort to fight the virus over there. yes, I have a wide streak of skepticism about how those in power interact with we, the peasant– er, we the people.

As the percentage of HIV+ folk who lived more than a few years after diagnosis increased, some percentage of gay folk turned their focus to other things; civil rights, marriage equality, fostering and adopting. A natural human yearning for relief, some sense of ‘normalcy’ and a few minutes to breathe in peace turned into a gateway. A slippery slope as it were that brought old-fashioned judgemental ‘morals’ and the phenomenon of nearly-straight middle-class gay folk who have adopted a great percentage of the attitudes that we once fought to resist. Sadly the afore-mentioned Valley of Shame has yet to be filled in with Joy, Frolic and Adornment and the Delights of Sensual and Sexual Liberation (see my Sisterly vows, link above).

I wanted to include a quote from Margaret Cho– but had to go through my music library to get the exact wording, which I thought included the term ‘slut’. It doesn’t, but I think Margaret would agree it is applicable:
and unless to you that’s a term of endearment (because in the right context it is) that person is being attacked because of who they are and I don’t accept that,
From Margaret Cho’s 2003 CD Revolution

see also:
# Gay slut shaming – stop it, stop it right now! from FS: Gay Health & Life Mag, Issue 135, April 2013(?);
# The Facebook profile of Sister Iona Dubble-Wyde – who writes extensively on gay health and political issues, as well as a wonderfully diverse range of topics;
# and this youTube video from 2014: Justin Sayre says “Don’t Take the Sex Out of Homosexuality

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  1. Don't Go There? | Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
  2. Slut Re-defined | Deep Within I Know I'm Free
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