Haku TKD“Please don’t use that word, I hate it!” yelled my Mom as I playfully told her I was her little fag. I felt shame, fear, and enormously unsafe. What was confusing for me was that this is how I felt when someone used the word against me.

After being married to a woman for four years I finally summoned the courage to come out. It was the scariest, yet most powerful moment of my life. What I didn’t fathom was the additional courage I’d need to embrace by calling myself a fag. After all, it was a part of me.

Like many closeted gay men, my internalized homophobia was alive and well. I spent years making sure no one discovered who I was. I told the funniest gay jokes, laughed at gays with my fellow football players, and did everything I could to deflect from the world who I really was.

It broke my heart when those that loved me suddenly walked out of restaurants I walked into, just because I had come out.

Best friends never saw me again. One told me he physically became sick when he learned I was gay. At the time I’m sure some part of me made sense of the pain by simply thinking, “Of course they hate me, I’m a fag.” 

Coming out was a breeze compared to finding comfort in proclaiming to myself and the world, at times, that yes I was a fag. I was about to take a deep dive into a world filled with immense hatred, most of it self hatred.

It took a full year to have a conversation with my former wife after coming out to her. I remember asking, attempting to be funny and brave, whether or not her Mom (my Mother in law) knew I was a fag.

She stopped me abruptly and said, “Yes she knew you were gay, but absolutely didn’t consider you a fag.”  Needless to say I was stunned.

Gay was ok, being a fag was not. Huh?

I took great pride in moving through the world as an out gay man. What I didn’t realize was the energy I expended making sure no one saw what I thought was my faggy self. Those parts of me I felt were feminine, sensitive, emotional, compassionate, truthful, deeply caring or anything connected to being truly vulnerable in a heteronormative world.

Years passed feeling this pang of inauthenticity. Yet the cover-up felt so evident and the feeling of paralysis so normal. I had no idea what to do, so of course I did nothing.

It wasn’t until I experienced being pushed and shoved, called a fag, and felt my life in danger did the light begin to turn on.

Amidst all the fear the word fag evoked, I could see how I exacerbated it. Every time I denied being a fag, pretending I wasn’t or suggesting, “She was, not me!”  I died inside and the energy of those tossing the word at me became stronger.

What if I embraced the word?

What if I simply said, “Yup, I’m a fag.”  If I stopped resisting, would the world stop persisting?

A number of months before my Mom died, in 2006, I walked over to her to say good-bye when it was time to go home. Her grip on my hand was unusually tight. She pulled me close and said, “I love you. You’re my little fag.” 



About Thomas Kevin Dolan Coaching

Thomas Kevin Dolan, Master Integrative Coach Professional™ has, for close to a decade, coached or advised everyday folks who need a gentle reminder to get out of their own way. People – such as athletes, high-profile executives, parents, siblings, couples, artists, activists, those pretending to know, those willing to not know, entrepreneurs, and seekers of ease, effortlessness and grace – who wish to effectively and successfully participate in a healthy relationship with themselves, and with others they value. Thomas and his work has been featured on HealingPodTV, Yinstill Reproductive Wellness, and The Ford Institute for Transformational Training. He has also been featured in major publications such as Xtra West, Business In Vancouver, Living Out Vancouver and Out In Singapore. He resides in Vancouver, British Columbia and Honolulu, Hawaii. Magic exists in his life because he knows that which he seeks is already seeking him, and he allows wisdom to have its way.
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2 Responses to Fag

  1. Dennis MacDonald says:

    Thomas, Thomas, Thomas…you just made me cry. Thanks for touching my heart my dear friend…and, thanks for showing the honesty that we have all been afraid to show at one time or another.


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