And why do we get frustrated by our friends who are silent? This is a question that we must also ask ourselves, because it is more of a reflection on us than anything else.
Most of us grew up in fear, and a fear that is far more real than many perceive it to be. We hear the comments on the playground, and we see the hatred in people's faces - all directed at this mythical creature. The Faggot. And we create this creature - we draw it in our minds. It is ugly, and it is feminine, and it is not popular, and it is not well-liked by anybody. It is disgraceful. It is not worth defending in public. It is a monster, that eats children after boiling them in a cauldron of lust, that offers them candy and asks them to come into the car for some more, and then drives away and does things to them that everybody knows is bad but nobody knows what is.
And we do everything we can to make sure that this mythical creature constructed in our head looks nothing like us.
And so we are silent.
We also know that people direct these words at us - that people can smell it on us, somehow. And so we know that if we stand up for them we shall only confirm what they already think is true. And with that confirmed we can only imagine what life is going to be like - our skin will turn green, we'll grow longer teeth, and carry cauldrons in the trunks of our black sedans. All the words that have been thrown at us like spears will turn out to be true.
And so we are silent.
And our friends are silent because we are silent, and everybody continues to be silent except those who are particularly talented at throwing spears.
And then we decide we are gay, and that our skin is not going to turn green, and that we don't have to buy that black sedan if we don't want to. And that the image of a Faggot, the one that was so ugly so long ago, is slowly becoming more and more like the one we see in the mirror, and slowly it is starting help us affirm our own identity. And this bothers us at first and then it stops.
And we stop being silent, sometimes (but not all the time, we have to be safe still, right?).
And we somehow ask our friends to no longer be silent.