characters using slurs that the author can't say


I’m a straight guy, but I have a character who’s gay. Would it be okay if I had him use the word f*ggot? Personally from what I’ve seen of the gay community they don’t see it as as big of a deal as, say, racial slurs-- but I still feel like I should ask.

Also, can a white author have black characters saying the n-word, or should they avoid it? (This part is just something I’m curious about, and not something I’d ever have in any of my stories.)


I mean… speaking as a member of the community… most people I know won’t be angry about it, so long as the narrative doesn’t condone negative the use of the word. So since the character who is gay is the one using it… personally, I think that’s alright. Because, yeah, plenty of gay people like to playfully use the word amongst themselves.

I will say that this isn’t a black and white issue. The LGBTQ community tends to be at odds with itself over the nature of reclaiming or making fun of old slurs. What’s okay with one member might make another extremely uncomfortable, even if it’s a non-straight person using the word. So yeah, it’s a rough topic.


honestly, I love how you are considering everyone’s feelings to avoid hurting anyone.
I don’t have a specific answer for your question, sadly.
I just had to tell you that your consideration is so sweet and amazing. :heart:


Hmm…if the n-word or other slurs are absolutely necessary, then go for it, just warn readers. You have a temporary pass for your characters. Just know that among friends or family it’s with the “a” and not the hard “r”.

Don’t take just my answer, though, you might want to ask someone else or get their perspective.


Ehhhh, see this is tricky because like mae_crowe said, the community itself is still disagreeing with the usage/reclaiming of slurs. As a gay asexual, I personally don’t have a problem with it. But I think you’re treading into some dangerous waters here. I’d say don’t use them if you can avoid it. If you’re really looking to have it in there, I’d make it clear with a disclaimer that the characters’ usage of it doesn’t reflect your personal views. I’m sure many wouldn’t care, but just to be on the safe side, I don’t think it’s a good idea to mix that controversy into your book.


as a person who is black, i wouldn’t read a book by any nonblack author that had black characters saying the n word. for starters, they don’t have the cultural competancy to understand all the nuances, intricasies and pain that word embodies within the community in any usage. there are other ways we relate to each other other than calling each other the n word. the only case when it’s okay for a white author to use the n word is if it is in a racist context, i.e ‘he called me a n.’ you’ve gotta understand that using the word is a complex issue even within the community, just as using the f word is within the gay community or any slur is inside of any community. unless you’ve been a member of these communities, there’s just no way for you to understand those complexities. and that’s not a bad thing!

in short, i wouldn’t.


Seeing as I am a hetero black female I can’t give any response to the F-word. I personally never have and probably never will. (I can’t picture myself saying it, but i don’t know everything)

As far as the N word, the same points above are agreeable. There is a back in for with black folks about the word and how it’s used in our culture. Some poc feel like you shouldn’t say it period, others argue it’s their way of taking it back. I personally don’t care if the author is white as long as they have spent time within the culture. That does not include just listening to rap music. So my opinion is this…

If you can still produce a good story or scene without these words…don’t use them. It’s not with the uproar and backlash you might receive. If it’s an important piece of the narrative say your story takes place in the deep south during The Civil Rights Movement, that’s different.

Just my two cents though


As a black person I wouldn’t mind a white author using the n-word, so long as they’re smart about the usage of the word. Actually I think it’s important to not be afraid the use of slurs in your writing no matter who you are, these words do exist whether we like them or not, and pretending they don’t helps no one. So long as you don’t go crazy then you should be ok imo, and unless if you’re already racist then you probs shouldn’t worry about “going crazy.” Ofc I’m only one person and I in no means speak for the entire community, and everyone draws their line somewhere so :shrug: Also I feel the same way about f*** and mostly any other slur.


I wouldn’t. Not only might it annoy some readers, but it’s not even worth it. In the context of whatever scene you’re writing, you could probably get the same dramatic effect by writing “fairy” (effeminate), “queen” (effeminate and old), or “twink” (effeminate and young) instead of dropping that f bomb.

Similarly, instead of dropping the n bomb, you could use “brother” (to mean affection) or “fool” (to mean derision).

Go to Urban Dictionary if you need more synonyms. A large vocabulary is your friend.


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As someone who’s gay; If you’re using it as a slur and it’s obvious that it’s not okay to use this word, go right ahead.

And I just wanna mention, faggot is a really bad slur to me. It probably depends on whether or not people know the origin of the word or not, or just personal opinion - but as far as I know, the general consensus is that it’s bad. I don’t see a difference between this and a racial slur. The historical context is to belittle a minority and dehumanise them. And that shit is bad.


Twink is not a slur…


True but what if the character is a bigot or an immature 14 year old kid? If the word serves a real purpose in the book for character development/advances the themes/conflict then it’s fine. If it’s just there to be there that is another story.

Edit: I’m tired and if we’re agreeing then ignore this. That’s what I get for trying to grade and look at WP at the same time.


Was this meant to be aimed at me? Because I told OP to go ahead with using slurs.


See my edit… My bad.


Hahaha, that’s alright.


OK good. I felt more than a bit dumb when I reread your comment.


As a gay person, I personally don’t mind it. I see gay people playfully calling each other fag or dyke all the time. Even if you were to write a homophobic character using the words in a negative way I think it would be alright. It’s all about context. As long as the story itself doesn’t condone homophobia, it’s fine.


Eh, it could be derisive in some contexts. It always means a young, pretty gay man, but I’ve heard it used to connote a slut or airhead too.

My point was, OP doesn’t have to use total slurs to communicate various ideas.


What really? Then those people don’t know what a twink is. Twink is just a category like “bear” or “lemur” - or alternatively “lipstick lesbian” or “butch”