Sigh. Please tread carefully here.

One of the reasons I ultimately got out of the literary criticism game in college was that a lot of it has become a debate about the politics and semiotics of difference. If you are a member of the hegemony, you do not speak with a privileged voice the way a member of that group speaks. Period. I had a tough time getting used to this -- I'm not sure I ever really did. But the fact is that no matter how much you study, spend time with, or empathize with members of a group, you aren't, and you're speaking as an outsider. As such, it is perfectly natural and proper to say so, the way you would say IANAL if you were talking about legal matters. The same goes for the members of the group: you are signaling that you have personal experience that is relevant to what you are saying.

This is not to say that those outside the group don't have excellent things to contribute, and they may in fact be dead-on or much better insights than the people who are members of that group. In fact, your insights may be better precisely because you are an outsider, and have an objectivity that the member of the group may lack. But the members of that group are privileged with a subjectivity that you lack, and people that understand this (from either end) sometimes feel the need to communicate it. I don't doubt that some people do do it out of homophobia, but many do not, and shouldn't be chastised for it.

Remember that the internet, and forums like E2 specifically, have changed the structure of discourse. Before the printed word most discourse was face-to-face, so when somebody said something to you, you were aware of its context completely because you saw their facial expressions and hand gestures, you knew them, knew their family, etc., because you all lived in a small premodern town. We are now at the opposite extreme where not only can we converse with strangers with vastly different cultural backgrounds, indirectly via text, but even our identities are hidden behind usernames. We have to invent cues and signals like ';)' to make up for these deficiencies, in order to communicate properly. So bring on the context.

I feel the need to mention also that part of the original node here mentions a straight person's being "cool with being called a faggot, a homo, etc." I don't think anybody should be "cool" with that, gay or straight, as long as it is directed as hate speech and not appropriated language the way "queer" has become in many circles. Of course, this is exactly what I'm talking about: origin and context matter during speech acts. As a white guy I can't use "nigger" in basically any context without causing offense. The same with "queer" for straight people, etc.

And for the record...oh, never mind.