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Leviticus: Faggot (No. 65)

By Kathy Y. Wilson · January 8th, 2003 · Your Negro Tour Guide
"Hey faggot, better run, run, run 'cause Daddy's home/ Daddy's sweet little boy just a little too sweet/ and every night the man showed the faggot what a real man should be."
-- "Leviticus: Faggot," Meshell NdegeOcello

It was as though the soon-to-be murder suspects in the dark blue Cadillac said, "Oh no you don't!" Discontent to let the year subside without doing their part, they eked out the city's 65th homicide for 2002 with a few hours to spare.

Gregory Beauchamp, 21, stood on the corner of Vine and West Liberty streets on New Year's Eve with at least three friends, the caller told me. The dark Cadillac pulled to the light.

Beauchamp and his group stood there, perhaps reveling and maybe a little tipsy already. Maybe they flamed like flamboyant gay men do: Arms flailing, hips thrust forward, heads cocked back -- gay, proud, outrageous and excited about the night ahead.

Two in the group were transvestites -- "he-shes," the caller said -- and they were on their way to the Venus Club, 1314 Vine St., to bring in the New Year. They were noticeable; gay men who interpret themselves this way are conspicuous.

But on a corner in a neighborhood where black men sport the "uniform" -- jeans two sizes too big sagging nearly to their knees, hoodies, Timbos and bubble coats making them identical and profileable -- a gay man hanging with two transvestites sticks out like me at a Klan rally.

And the butch black male ego recoils at, then reviles against and finally eradicates such outlandish behavior because gay men are antithetical to his outlandish butch posturing. There's no room in the 'hood for faggots.

But ask the faggots under assault, and they'll tell you many of the homies vomiting gay-bashing hate speech at them are the same ones -- Tupac-bumpin', Courvoisier sippin' brothas -- now populating a subculture of B-Boys trolling gay clubs for head. But that doesn't make them faggots.

They receive. That makes them men.

While under the cover of darkness and with some anonymity they enjoy the game of sexual subjugation, these "men" despise what, in broad daylight, they might become. Then a cycle of violent self-loathing ensues that absolutely must be transferred onto the lowest on the food chain -- the faggot.

For a black man dwelling in the ghetto of his myopic mind, a faggot is the worst possible thing he can become. Faggot is the worst word he could ever call his enemy.

To banish a faggot with words and bullets is the ultimate form of rebellion against the powers that have conspired against him. It says this: If I'm nothing according to them, the faggot is even less according to me.

Back to life and death. The four or five young black men in the dark Cadillac yelled epithets at the group on the corner. "Fuckin' faggot-ass bitches!" I can just imagine it.

Surely Beauchamp, an affable and openly gay man to his friends, was accustomed to verbal assaults. This is Cincinnati, after all.

The caller said the car circled the block, returning with still more passengers. More vitriol was vomited from the car.

Then came the only thing left to do for a 'hood rat who's trying to impress his colleagues and secure his membership in this distorted brotherhood: Beauchamp was shot once in the chest. He died on that corner.

A burned-out metal skeleton matching the dark Cadillac was found later on New Year's Day, and the alleged perpetrators have scattered like roaches.

They should be proud, though. They had a hand in ensuring our city would top its previous murder record.

They added Beauchamp to the age bracket (18- to 30-year-olds) most affected by the murder rate. Plus they increased to 56 the number of men murdered in 2002.

And they killed a faggot. But there's no statistic for that.

Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.


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