March 9th, 2005

advice, please

so, i'm in this fiction workshop at my not-very-progressive upstate new york university. each week we discuss pieces submitted by class members. this week, in one of the works submitted, the narrator refers to a (fictional) professor (who doesn't have any presence in the piece expect for this one mention) as "impossibly gay" (in a very ambiguosly pejorative sense) and to a (fictional) friend as "retarded." this is not at ALL done in a context of critiquing such references, or critiquing the kind of character who would use this language. i'm looking for ideas on how to respond. anticipating that the author will say such things as, "it's fiction," "it's not ME speaking, it's a character," and blabedy blah blah etc., how can i point out the fucked-upedness going on here? i really want to have a good game plan, to avoid my having a possible freak-out. both these terms hit close to home for me--i am queer (the only one in the class), my cousin has very severe mental disabilities, and my father is brain-dead and comatose (pretty much as "retarded" as it gets). so i don't want this to be about ME and my life, because it's obviously about the larger picture. i don't want to let on my outrage and frustration in a way that enables these folks to write me off or ignore me. any ideas?

thanks, sorry for excessive parentheses :)

x-posted from my journal