Last week at the Panic! M&G, I brought this picture along with me for Brendon to sign. I gave it to him and asked him if it would be okay for him to sign this for me. He looked at it for a while and got really quiet. He just stared at it for a few minutes. When I asked if everything was okay, all he replied with was “he’s a faggot”. It was heart breaking to see Brendon at this point because that’s where he started to shed some tears. The memory is etched in my brain, and forever will be. He truly misses Ryan, and I wish I could just fix things for him. Stay strong Bren, we’ll help you get through it. <3
STOI I JUST PEED MY PANT S
Is this real or…?
Right. I guess it’s time for me to finally write this.
I got a tumblr about 6 and a half months ago, and soon discovered what a wonderful and addictive thing it can be. Especially as a bandom person, there are a lot of great things about being on tumblr. Easy access to pictures, like-minded people, news, etc. But I soon noticed something a bit different about bandom on tumblr - especially Panic! at the Disco fandom. (It might be so in other fandoms, or even in non-fandom spaces - I really don’t know. But this has been my experience.)
And that is the constant, casual, overwhelming use of the word faggot.
Now, I know that it’s almost never meant as a homophobic slur. I know it’s quite often not even a veiled reference to sexuality at all. I know it’s not even always an insult. I know it’s even taken on a new meaning and usage as a casually affectionate epithet. I know most of the people using it this way are not homophobic, are in fact very good people (and that only makes it worse) who share an understanding and depth of emotion that can only come from connecting through music. I’m comfortable in certain circles where “queer” is considered an inclusive term, I know the history of the word “gay,” and I even wrote why I think we should take back “emo” - I know all about word reclamation, and I’m all for it. I’m a linguistics major, for chrissakes.
And yet. There are a few differences. For one, this usage of the word “faggot” is very limited - it’s not IRL, mostly online, not everywhere online, mostly on tumblr, not everywhere on tumblr, mostly in bandom, not everywhere in bandom, mostly in Panic. It’s very limited. It’s like, say, the word frindle if it had stayed limited to that one school, or like an inside joke with you and your friends in a group of thirty people at one school. The whole world is on the internet. The whole world is not in on your joke.
The fifteen-year-old kid who grew up in a small town where being gay was not only the work of the devil, but unmentionable, is not in on the joke. The kid who didn’t even comprehend that being gay could happen to him, until he finally realized that was what the different thing was, is not in on the joke. The kid who spent years hiding, screwing up his courage to tell his best friend only to be called faggot the very next day at school is not in on the joke. The kid who was called faggot even though he was transgender, not lesbian, because no one understood that is not in on the joke. The kid who found music can’t take the kid from the fight, take the fight from the kid to get him past the crowds in high school without hearing what they were calling him is not in on the joke.
Brendon Urie is not in on the joke.
Now, I’m not trying to say one way or another whether this happened. I don’t want to believe it did, and everything I know about Brendon Urie as a person tells me it’s something he’d be more sensitive about, but I’m not going to deny. Because that’s not the point. The point is, the very fact that it’s possible someone could have made this up - because even if you didn’t, it’s clearly something that could be made up and believed - crosses a goddamn line. It means that the culture that’s allowed “faggot” to become so widespread, regardless of whose identity, whose experience you’re disregarding, regardless of who you’re alienating, has forgotten that the whole world’s not in on the joke, that the whole fandom’s not in on the joke - has forgotten how much words can hurt.
And as fans of music, of poetry, all of us should really know better.