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No Homo, No Mo
September 29, 2012 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Sadly, despite the growing acceptance of variable sexuality in western culture, there's still widespread acceptance of casual homophobia. NoHomophobes.com seeks to shine a bright light on this, in the hopes of rendering this speech as socially unacceptable as racist slurs.
posted by ChrisR (61 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
HA! /senor chang
posted by slater at 8:09 AM on September 29, 2012


It's funny to watch the tweet stream and see how many of the hits are actually people tweeting about the site itself.

Also, it seems like "dyke" may not be the best word to include in their filter as about half of the occurrences I saw seem to be positive statements by self-identified dykes.
posted by 256 at 8:15 AM on September 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, have seen a couple complaints about others' use of "so gay" scroll by. But still, these seem to be the minority.
posted by hermitosis at 8:16 AM on September 29, 2012


But I do like the site. I think that this is the right sort of public shaming to direct at people who use casual hate speech.
posted by 256 at 8:16 AM on September 29, 2012


I think this kind of thing is as likely as not to backfire. See "Streisand Effect", and then note the prevalence among young people of the use of "gay" as an epithet (e.g. "That's so gay!").
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:17 AM on September 29, 2012


I hate to ask this, but could someone explain the "no homo" phrase to me?
posted by barnacles at 8:17 AM on September 29, 2012


barnacles:

Here's Jay Smooth talking about it.
posted by defenestration at 8:20 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


You say it when you notice you've given someone else a good setup line for a homophobic joke.

It means "Oh man, if anyone else said what I just said, I'd be all 'dude you're such a fag.' But nobody better call me a fag, because that's just nasty..."
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:20 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


defenestration: that was exactly the information I needed. Also, damn, gotta love the sort of critical self-reflection going on in the hip-hop community what results in videos like that. Great stuff. Thanks!
posted by barnacles at 8:25 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pickle, the alternative is just pretending like it's not happening, which has a 100% guaranteed outcome of everyone continuing to think it's awesome. So.
posted by kavasa at 8:28 AM on September 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


I watched the stream go by for a few disturbing minutes and I don't think shame's going to work on most of the tweeters. They're already using these words on a site that's far more public and known than nohomophobes.com ever will be. They're using it to and at their peers.

Are they really going to care that some people at the University of Alberta are trying to make them feel bad?

The number count, though, is interesting and I wonder if the count could have been increased without re-publicizing the tweets.
posted by kimberussell at 8:34 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Definitely powerful. But the false positives are a little funny. "I'm so gay I can't even drive straight"
posted by saturday_morning at 8:36 AM on September 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


No, the people who are most responsible for the problem aren't going to quit what they're doing just because you made the problem obvious.

(And on the other hand, the people who are frequently direct victims of homophobia, they already know all about the problem and you don't need to tell them.)

But that leaves a lot of middle ground: from people who reflexively say homophobic shit and never really thought about the effects, to queers (like me, FWIW) who live in unusually liberal areas and sometimes forget how pervasive homophobic language is outside our little bubble. If this serves as a helpful little nudge in the right direction to those of us who are somewhere in that middle ground, then it's worth it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:41 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Know what's great about this for me? I have to shut this sort of language down in middle & high school classrooms all the time. Now, in addition to my usual shutdown (which isn't nice), I can add, "Hey, you know that there's a site that records every use fo that term on Twitter, and the user name, right? And it keeps track of it forever?"

Not every kid will understand the ramifications (or lack thereof), but most will freak the hell out. :)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:43 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


...and I just saw "Peter Parker" (complete with childhood photo in Spidey pajamas) flash by calling someone a faggot. There needs to be a term for when irony and complete cluelessness merge to form such an intense blend of stupidity.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:45 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this is great and all but also a little bit of me is hoping someone sets up a 'No Homophones' website that tracks egregious their/they're and so forth.
posted by Acheman at 8:59 AM on September 29, 2012 [28 favorites]


Wait a minute. This is from the University of Alberta? The one in Canada? That I graduated from?

Okay, that's just... cool. For what it's worth, I had no idea that this was my alma mater, even if another faculty.

Yay U of A!
posted by ChrisR at 9:05 AM on September 29, 2012


Is it bad that the grammar in the tweets scrolling past the bottom of the screen is just as upsetting to me as the rampant homophobia also contained within?

"Your gay." I mean, seriously?
posted by schmod at 9:06 AM on September 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


256: "Also, it seems like "dyke" may not be the best word to include in their filter as about half of the occurrences I saw seem to be positive statements by self-identified dykes."

Also, Dutch twitterers talking about their country's excellent flood-control mechanisms.
posted by schmod at 9:06 AM on September 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's just, like, you're opinion, man.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:06 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


about half of the occurrences I saw seem to be positive statements by self-identified dykes.

Yeah I was curious if other people found this happening too? It's the one word that I felt was maybe being used as a self-descriptor more than, say, faggot, but I wasn't sure and I spent some time a few days ago just watching all this stuff go by.

Incidentally, I posted a screenshot of this over on an image sharing site and two people made comments about how to them the word "faggot" was all just bundles of sticks and I didn't know enough about them to know if they were from the UK (or gay?) or really just doing that edgy homophobic irony joke thing I hate so much.

The No Homo thing is really insidious; it's been good to watch people who were previously writing pretty nasty homophobic rap songs trying to make amends.
posted by jessamyn at 9:07 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


That stream is hypnotic. It moves so quickly you can only pick up bits, like eavesdropping on conversations in a crowd.

Somebody like PETA could do this to shame folks boasting about the bacon they had for breakfast and the steaks searing on the grill.

Or maybe an abstinence only sex-ed group could use it to shame folks boasting about getting laid.

All you need is a behavior to shame, a moral position from which to shame it, and some code.
posted by notyou at 9:09 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


...and I just saw "Peter Parker" (complete with childhood photo in Spidey pajamas) flash by calling someone a faggot.

Why is that ironic?

posted by jacalata at 9:09 AM on September 29, 2012


Just sayin'.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 AM on September 29, 2012


Because young Peter Parker was bullied.
posted by notyou at 9:11 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


It'd be a shame if somebody were to treat the fairly natural behaviour of eating meat with the bigotry being espoused here. Which is not to say they couldn't do it, but I'd be loath to support it even with a view, let alone a link.
posted by ChrisR at 9:11 AM on September 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


"espoused" was not the right word. "exposed" would be better.
posted by ChrisR at 9:15 AM on September 29, 2012


two people made comments about how to them the word "faggot" was all just bundles of sticks and I didn't know enough about them to know if they were from the UK (or gay?) or really just doing that edgy homophobic irony joke thing I hate so much

Probably the sort of people who think The Simpsons is still as funny as ever.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:17 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Dutch twitterers talking about their country's excellent flood-control mechanisms.
Means a deep field drain round my end. As children we used to go fishing in dykes for sticklebacks. Later we would go home and have faggots for tea.

(I'm not making this up.)
posted by Jehan at 9:19 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's with the flood of "dyke" on August 13?
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:48 AM on September 29, 2012


What's with the flood of "dyke" on August 13?

A sudden downpour caused the levees to break in Joplin, MO.
posted by codswallop at 10:50 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Probably the sort of people who think The Simpsons is still as funny as ever.

Seems the decline of the Simpsons can be charted by the quality and frequency of its gay humour. From John Waters' brilliant guest appearance to ...that. That, and the entire Al Jean era.
posted by Lorin at 11:21 AM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is this like the n_____ word that no self-respecting Caucasian can ever utter outside of an etymological context, but members of the disparaged group may use freely as self-reference?
posted by Artful Codger at 11:31 AM on September 29, 2012


Incidentally, I posted a screenshot of this over on an image sharing site and two people made comments about how to them the word "faggot" was all just bundles of sticks and I didn't know enough about them to know if they were from the UK (or gay?) or really just doing that edgy homophobic irony joke thing I hate so much.
There's a certain kind of pedantic faux-intellectual asshole who will reply to accusations of prejudice with 'B-b-but dictionary!'. I have yet to meet anyone using that stupid 'bundle of sticks' argument who wasn't clearly doing it to deflect attention from what they just said.
posted by anaximander at 11:51 AM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this like the n_____ word that no self-respecting Caucasian can ever utter outside of an etymological context, but members of the disparaged group may use freely as self-reference?

Sort of? I mean are you asking because you really don't understand this or are you asking because you're trying to make a wry statement on the complications of language? Because I think for a lot of us even when you're just reading a 140-or-less character tweet, it's not that difficult to figure out when people are using faggot in an "inside group" context and when they're using "that's so gay" to mean "that's uncool." It's even easier with the dyke statements, for whatever reason.

And then, of course, there's the issue that if you're saying racial-type slurs out loud and in person people can (often but not always) TELL that you're black but not as always or easily tell that you're gay. And the speaker can tell that about the people they are talking to. This doesn't always mean you can tell who will and will not be offended by whatever speech acts you decide to throw down with, or whether you care, but there's some usefulness in talking about the sheer magnitude and breadth of people still using these words in the pejorative sense and having that shed a little light on to things like the statistics about teen suicides (significantly elevated for gay youth) and bullying and other things we would like to, as a society, have a better handle on.
posted by jessamyn at 11:59 AM on September 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seems the decline of the Simpsons can be charted by the quality and frequency of its gay humour. From John Waters' brilliant guest appearance to ...that. That, and the entire Al Jean era.

We're well into derail territory here, but: Harvey Fierstein agrees.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could only watch it for a minute because it just made me so sad.
posted by kamikazegopher at 1:06 PM on September 29, 2012


The author of the tweet "I'm so gay! I love cock in my mouth." really could be either a homophobe or a very honest gay guy.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:21 PM on September 29, 2012


Or someone has hacked his account, or all three. The tapestry of existence is so rich.
posted by winna at 1:40 PM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was incredibly depressing. :(
posted by zarq at 2:11 PM on September 29, 2012


I didn't know enough about them to know if they were from the UK

People in the UK know precisely what the offensive sense of "faggot" is. Also, the only common non-offensive use of the word is to describe a caul-wrapped meat and offal dish. I'm with anaximander on this.
posted by howfar at 2:27 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh look, someone coded me up an automated faith in humanity destroyer, super. If I ever feel like its in danger of growing back I'll just hop back on there for two minutes.
posted by nanojath at 4:42 PM on September 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or someone has hacked his account, or all three.

I'm liking the thought of "all three." Closeted, self-hating gay man finds peace and acceptance when he leaves himself signed into Twitter and his friend accidentally tweets about his deepest hopes and desires.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:56 PM on September 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm more angry about the inappropriate smoothing on the "last week" and "all time" graphs on the site.

Just kidding; that's horrifying.
posted by supercres at 5:01 PM on September 29, 2012


Because young Peter Parker was bullied.

And the strong metaphor that's often been made between youth mutants in the X-Men, another classic Marvel comic, and discriminated youth including LGBTs.

I mean, the mainstream comics industry as a whole isn't very progressive. But some of the underlying themes in early comics dealt strongly with bullying and discrimination.

Also, "rumors" about the new Peter Parker being gay.
posted by formless at 7:21 PM on September 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn: I mean are you asking because you really don't understand this or are you asking because you're trying to make a wry statement on the complications of language? Because I think for a lot of us even when you're just reading a 140-or-less character tweet, it's not that difficult to figure out when people are using faggot in an "inside group" context and when they're using "that's so gay" to mean "that's uncool." It's even easier with the dyke statements, for whatever reason.

It's still novel that we now have and use interactive media that makes more and more of our utterances public, and that they can be thus aggregated and filtered, as in the subject website.

It's already been noted that this aggregator cannot distinguish between permitted and verboten uses of the sensitive words and phrases. It's ability to discern ironic, self-referential or objective uses is, I imagine, even worse.

So, I think I understand. But I don't think this simple technical word-filter has advanced our collective understanding of the real problems around sexual identity. Bullying in general is an acute problem for young people, and playing Twitter word-cop seems beside the point.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:29 PM on September 29, 2012


I think I'm probably mostly glad that the website doesn't track transphobia (or biphobia, or more other-than-GL bigotry). If it did, that might be too depressing.
posted by jiawen at 10:18 PM on September 29, 2012


And the strong metaphor that's often been made between youth mutants in the X-Men, another classic Marvel comic, and discriminated youth including LGBTs.

You mean LGBT have superpowers too? No wonder so many hate them, they have more awesome than 5 hetros combined!
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:20 AM on September 30, 2012


I find this oddly fascinating and yet I keep cringing. I have noticed a few tweets that seem to be using "so gay" as a positive descriptor? Like they seem to mean "so gay" = "so trendy", "so glamorous", or "so sexy" rather than the old, "so gay" = "so lame". I kind of don't know what to think about that since it's still stereotyping, but I suppose it's better-ish?
posted by katyggls at 3:48 AM on September 30, 2012


I was interested in the number of false positives, so I just fed a few of these through a sentiment analysis engine (text-processing.com) before I realised that wouldn't really help improve things.

Lots of these have positive sentiment ("you're such a faggot but I love you anyway"), but still use language in a way that the site owners disapprove of. Tricky problem.
posted by Leon at 4:14 AM on September 30, 2012


"No homo" is so ridiculous that my queer friends and I have occasionally used it in the same juvenile way as a "your mom" or a "so's your face"..

Example: "Holy shit, did you see Joseph Gordon-Levitt on SNL? I want to strip him naked and eat sushi off of him right the fuck now [...beat...] no homo!" (also one time I said "EXTRA homo" and my friend shot back "That's a dollar fifty extra, sir, is that okay?")... We laugh so we don't cry, etc.

This is cool though, your average Twitter buttlord could stand to be shamed a bit, possibly also beaten with sticks
posted by jake at 5:44 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will hereby admit to having used, "not that there's anything wrong with that," in contexts where "no homo" would have been the expected thing.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:30 AM on September 30, 2012


"you're such a faggot but I love you anyway"...

may be a positive message to one individual, but it is casual derogatory language. I think that is exactly the point of the site. People don't even REALIZE that they are insulting a whole group of people.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:50 AM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is partly why I am against giving Internet access to people who rank on the low end of the IQ curve.
posted by Down10 at 5:27 PM on September 30, 2012


It's like a jerkometer! Who is being a jerk at this very moment?

We should encourage better social behavior and use of derogatory language, but I don't care to persecute others for the things they say. The people who made this site should, in good faith, dump the logs and usernames after collecting their counts.
posted by Down10 at 5:34 PM on September 30, 2012


I live near Dyke, VA. Or, as I suppose I'm to refer to it on Twitter now, "D*ke, VA."
posted by waldo at 6:37 PM on September 30, 2012


jake: ""No homo" is so ridiculous that my queer friends and I have occasionally used it in the same juvenile way as a "your mom" or a "so's your face"..

Example: "Holy shit, did you see Joseph Gordon-Levitt on SNL? I want to strip him naked and eat sushi off of him right the fuck now [...beat...] no homo!" (also one time I said "EXTRA homo" and my friend shot back "That's a dollar fifty extra, sir, is that okay?")... We laugh so we don't cry, etc.

This is cool though, your average Twitter buttlord could stand to be shamed a bit, possibly also beaten with stick
"

It's sometimes more fun to make unambiguously and explicitly homoerotic statements ("I would totally put his penis in my mouth and suck on it, and enjoy the experience sexually") and then follow them up with "no homo"

because seriously

I mean, it's basically at least as ripe for deliberate abuse as "that's what she said"
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:20 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's "faggot" doing on this site? I thought it referred to assholes who ride really noisy motorcycles.
posted by losvedir at 12:25 AM on October 1, 2012


Anyone know what happened on August 13 that caused the number of times "dyke" appeared to skyrocket?

Also, I've seen this twice so far "no homo, ok, maybe a litte"

Not sure what to make of that.
posted by Hactar at 8:07 AM on October 1, 2012


Two possibilities come to mind: self-deprecating humor by straight homophobes ("I'm not that disgusting; okay, maybe I'm a little disgusting, ha ha") or sarcasm by well-out-of-the-closet gay folks ("Who, me, gay? Maybe just a little?").

Out of context it's hard to tell which is which — and that's actually a problem with this sort of approach in general. You don't really want to call out certain words. What you want is to call out certain messages. But you can't observe the messages directly; all you observe is the words, and you have to work out the message based on context.

(Alas, that sort of working-out-the-message-based-on-context — "pragmatics," linguists call it — probably won't be automatable until we've got full AI, since all of our social skills, world knowledge and reasoning abilities come into play there. So a homophobic message detector isn't gonna come along any time soon, and we get this word detector instead. Better keep using our ordinary human non-artificial intelligence to call out homophobic messages when we spot 'em, because us humans can detect 'em just fine when we're caught up on the conversational context.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:50 AM on October 1, 2012


I heard about this a little while ago (my alma mater!), but upon seeing and thinking about it again, I wonder two things:
  1. Why have they not included "fag" in the search results? Surely, that's dropped even more frequently and casually than "faggot."
  2. Can someone make a version that tracks casual racism?
posted by asnider at 12:56 PM on October 18, 2012


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