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Language question - not intended to offend

(10 Posts)
OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 08-Jun-09 19:11:39

I have a friend I've known for over 15 years, and she came out about 10 years ago. (It wasn't a big surprise, tbh.) At that time, I had heard of the "reclaim queer" campaign in the US, and the lesbian equivalent of reclaiming the word "dyke", so I asked her if that word was acceptable to her.

It wasn't. blush

So I haven't used it since.

But I was talking to her on the phone last night, and she repeatedly referred to herself and her closest friends as dykes. I am aware that she's become "more lesbian" as the years have gone by - when I first met her she had a BF and had her DS by him, now she's into separatism and spends as much time in women-only places as possible.

So, is "dyke" like the n word, in that it can be used by those who are but shouldn't be used by others? Is it a word I should use in conversation with her (given that I'm straight)?

I'm truly sorry if I've offended anyone by even typing the word.

Sweeting Tue 09-Jun-09 11:20:37

You'd probably be best off just asking again! I think it is - to me, at least - a word that is ok when used by people who 'are' but not otherwise, though it's also a personal thing. I have lesbian friends whose politics are quite radical, (like your friend's sound?) and who use it in the same way that I'd say 'gay'; I wouldn't because I just don't like the word that much, and gay works better for me. But then I am a v unconfrontational person generally (not nec a good thing at all) and they aren't!

I might not say "more lesbian", though, btw, as what you're describing sounds more radical than more, er, lesbian. If you see what I mean... I think it's really nice of you to be so concerned and aware, most people aren't.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 09-Jun-09 15:15:59

Thanks for your answer, Sweeting, I think I'll just avoid using it. TBH, she wouldn't be shy of telling me off if I did offend her! grin I'm looking forward to catching up with her next month, it'll be a laugh.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Jun-09 22:23:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 09-Jun-09 22:53:26

Thanks LeninGrad, I thought that might be the case.

LeninGrad Wed 10-Jun-09 14:41:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lucifera Thu 11-Jun-09 09:12:29

I use dyke with friends and partner and other people I know are LGBT but would hesitate to use with others as it does shock, and tbh think it is a word we should only use of ourselves - bit like "crip" as used by some disabled people. Very much appreciate people like OP being aware and sensitive, and glad you felt able to post here and ask for opinions.

hester Thu 11-Jun-09 22:20:25

I don't think dyke is as offensive as the N word, but I would use it with care. I personally use it rarely - I prefer something a little more, you know, ladylike grin - but I don't get offended if people are using it positively and not trying to be insulting.

It's really nice that you're trying to get this right for your friend.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 13-Jun-09 18:26:09

Thanks again, ladies.

makingafamily Sat 13-Jun-09 21:30:39

On one hand its a word i happily refer to myself but on the other hand would probably be shocked if someone who wasn't a close friend used to descibe/refer to me. Personally its a word i love

As already suggested i would speak with her again

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