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UK: Card Factory accused of homophobia for selling offensive ‘fag’ birthday card

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  1. Lol, I would buy this. It’s Tongue-in-cheek, get over it

    1. PretaniVirago 24 May 2013, 2:03pm

      Seriously – I thought it was cute!

    2. As a gay man…I could see buying it for a friend in the right circumstances. Gulity pleasure maybe? Perhaps we would change the wording “why don’t we pop out for a fag?”

      Would not sell well in the US, fag doesn’t refer to cigarettes…

    3. faggot. lol. hahaha.

    4. You must be a hybrid of Louis spence and alan carr( at least they do it for the money), someone who loves being the passive “queeny”(you won’t be offended by this term either) gay to get laughed at, the joke, but women love you because you’re so funny and love shopping .

  2. Staircase2 24 May 2013, 2:04pm

    I thought that was quite funny

    It’s important to be mindful of the fact that ‘fag’ in the UK doesn’t have the same meaning as it does in the US and I don’t believe we should be importing outrage either.

    ‘Fag’ in the UK means cigarette. ‘Faggot’ is something we eat (I don’t – I’m vegetarian!) or originally was a bundle of firewood.

    It’s simply not right to change our language just to import outrage…

    I’m sure the mum is sincere in her feelings about this but surely if she’s from the UK she knows that this isn’t offensive right?

    1. well it obviously does – otherwise the pun wouldn’t work! and I can tell you I’ve been called a fag enough times (during my 25 years of living in the UK) to know that people are not calling me a cigarette!

      As to the card, I’m not sure how I feel about it; of course fag can be used pejoratively, but in this case it’s sort of reclamation – the persona speaking is gay himself as he is ‘delighted’ this sexy man has turned up. Does this change things?

      1. David Myers 25 May 2013, 8:03am

        Whether it was offensive or not would depend upon the context – who is sending to whom? (Straight man to gay man? gay man to gay man?)

    2. With this kind of thing, you have to be aware of regional and generational differences in language. Most of the time I heard “fag” and “faggot” at school (I’m in my mid 20s), it was being used as a homophobic slur. I’m vaguely aware that there is some kind of meat-based food called a “faggot”, but I don’t really know what it is. Smoking is rare enough among younger people that it isn’t necessarily talked about that often. To be honest, it’s rare that I hear the words at all now except online.

      Also, I’m not sure if you aware of the connection between “bundle of firewood” and the modern usage. At some stage, “faggot” became a derogatory term for an old woman (because a bundle of firewood is this awkward thing you have to carry around, just like an old woman). Then it became a derogatory term for a gay man (because gay men are just like old women).

      1. I don’t quite see your point though – in this sense we know what 2 things ‘faggot’ is referring to.

        I always thought it was because faggots (in the bundle of wood sense) were used to start fires to burn heretics at the stake, including difficult women, old widow witches, and sodomites. So in this sense the etymology of the word renders it actually quite upsetting.

  3. I’d buy it!

  4. My god, she’d have a coronary if she saw the cards in Prowler Soho.

    1. If she was in Prowler, at least she would know the cards were meant to be self-deprecating. This is plain offensive. As for the stereotypical name used (Nigel), words fail me!

  5. justusboyz 24 May 2013, 2:09pm

    Glad im not the only one who finds the card funny. Very sorry if the lady was offended but…..come on lol

  6. We need to disarm this word, don’t let it have power over the conversation. A “gentleman” once came up to me in a crowd of coworkers at a get-together and said “Are you a faggot?” As you can imagine, the room got quiet. I just turned to him and said, “Thanks for the compliment, but I’m already seeing someone. Sorry.” And I just turned away, with lots of folk laughing at the silly douchbag.
    If I was approached on the streets and someone asked me that same question, I would just turn and run, yelling “Fire” or “Baby Snatcher” or something that would bring out a crowd, because, sadly, if I yelled “Help”, I don’t think most folk would get involved.

    1. Nai Nagllnal 24 May 2013, 5:57pm

      Yell “Pedophile!” and point at him ;-)

    2. David Myers 25 May 2013, 8:08am

      Brilliant rejoinder. Very quick thinking. As you pointed out though being with a crowd of co-workers is different from being on the street.

  7. I run a gay bookshop and I would stock and sell this card – think response is well-meant but a more than a little hysterical

  8. I understand her concern, and part of the gay community echoes her concerns about the word… however, I think the card’s hilarious and can think of at least six people I would send it to.

    1. As a gay man I would say 3 things:

      1. Good on her for wanting to stand up for us BUT on this occasion her good intentions have perhaps led her astray
      2. The word ‘fag’ in the UK when applied to gay men in, for many of us, as offensive as the N-word is to describe black people. If used seriously/insultingly it is a declaration of war in my book
      3. In context, this card is brilliant and I would send it to my friends without a moment’s hesitation
      4. I hope this mild criticism of the card company doesn’t make them nervous about printing their cards because they are fantastic!

  9. I have seen this card and many more like it in card shops. It doesn’t mean that it is inciting homophobia.

    In most cases, I would only buy this card for gay friends of straight friends who would appreciate the humour within it.

    I’m certainly not offended by it at all, I find it rather amusing myself.

  10. tell her to get a life. it’s a laugh and the type of thing my mates might buy me that i would find funny. its a bit of banter. there are also cards that say women are slags, so what, people should have the choice to pick something that will amuse/ suit the person they are giving it to.

  11. I’m just gonna echoe everyone else’s comments here; I think that this is pretty funny, and is going to appeal to an awful lot of gay men in Britain. Maybe even a majority. In fact it’s a lot like the cards that you see in gay bookstores and such. I appreciate that this woman might personally find it offensive, but I think a lot of people will think her more than a little over-sensitive, and she certainly can’t talk for all gay Britons when condemning the company who are selling it.

  12. What a nice mum though! Awww

    1. Craig James 24 May 2013, 2:36pm

      Why is it, when something like this comes up or a comedian posts a joke on twitter with a gay theme, it’s never any of us gayers being outraged or offended or kicking up a fuss. If its well meaning or funny we are it for what it is and have a good laugh.

      I get really annoyed (even offended!!!) when straight people decide what we should find offensive and start mouthing off, apparently on our behalf.

      I’m sure in this case the mother is well meaning but the rest are just jumping on the PC bandwagon and appointing themselves are spokesmen for our imagined hurt feelings.

      1. David Myers 25 May 2013, 8:05am

        I’d rather have a straight person getting offended for us than by us.

  13. Benjamin Cohen 24 May 2013, 2:26pm

    I don’t think the card is funny and good on Mandy for being offended about it

    1. Ben, while it is possible to be upset by it, its obviously tongue in cheek, no offence is meant by it, when people say they are popping out for a fag, they mean a cigarette, thats what makes it funny. Lets fight real wars by true bigots, which you do very well btw, thank you.

      1. I don’t think Benjamin Cohen needed the joke explained.

    2. Have you seen some of the similar cards that you can buy not just in Card Factory, but also places like Scribbler.

      This is about having a sense of humour and also reclaiming the word.

      It also raises the question about what causes offence and do people get offended too easily these days?

    3. I would ask, Mr C, why is this even news?

      Yes, sure, perhaps 5 years ago this story might have stirred up the same whirlwind of anger and protest when PN enthusiastically rallied behind the push to suppress free speech and make any perceived insult, no matter how mild, a hate crime.

      in those days PN regular stirred its readers up into a reactionary frenzy with stories like this.

      But times have moved on and gay men are generally intelligent enough and, what’s more, more chilled out and self-depracating enough to deduce hate-filled insults from light-hearted humour.

      Perhaps time for PN to move on to?

      1. If someone made a “joke” about blind people, a relative of mine would laugh. His siblings and friends might be offended, and feel real pain and anger.
        In a sense this is not about any gayers feelings, but about a mother’s feelings.
        It’s easy to trivialise or dismiss such concerns, but they are real, sincere and deeply felt. The young man is lucky to have a mother who will fight for him, even if we (or he) feel she is fighting the wrong battle

    4. GulliverUK 24 May 2013, 3:26pm

      I sincerely apologise, I gave you a neg instead of a pos by accident — plz put a little bit of distance or a “|” or something between them – some people using tablets with really fat fingers need help !!!! The card “could” be funny, but I agree that it is, frankly, only US queers who “might” find it so, because for heterosexuals it will simply perpetuate stupid stereotypes that we are all in to bed-hopping and random casual relationships. WE can use the word fag, although I hope sparingly, like others can use the “N*” word, but it should not routinely be used by anyone else. The word “Queer” is a little different since it is a reclaimed word, and when used properly is symbolic of our defiance in reclaiming it. It’s difficult to reclaim from heterosexuals that which has been historically a very real form of abuse. It is the stem of “faggot” which has been hurled in very abusive terms.

    5. I’m sorry you don’t find the card funny. Everyone’s tastes are different I suppose, but surely ‘fag’ is only an offensive term if you let it be?

      Any word can be used offensively if given a particular tone, but I feel – and judging by the other comments here, I am not alone – that this card was meant to be tongue in cheek. I actually find it refreshing that high-street retailers are now selling cards that aren’t always hetero-centric.

      However, what I do find distasteful is the amount of column inches Pink News actually gives over to reporting every sad little tweet or outburst that those nasty, horrible trolls at WBC come out with, thus fanning their self-righteous egos. You even had to mention them in this totally unrelated item. As they say over the pond, “haters gonna hate” but we don’t have to give them any credence by taking offence.

    6. Well, some people make very good careers out of being offended.

    7. Marcwebbo3 24 May 2013, 4:58pm

      I agree with you Benjamin….whilst it is easy to be offended by many things it also easy to see things as just a jibe or a difference in language….faggot is indeed used mainly in USA but also used in other countries as indeed is fag which has been used in a negative way in this country….we should be aiming for it not to be…I do not find this card funny at all and I welcome this mothers actions

      1. So, the definition of “something which should be banned” in your mind is something you don’t find funny? Liberalism, RIP.

        1. Marcwebbo3 24 May 2013, 8:32pm

          No but something which has obvious in any country a negative implication should not be encouraged…just wonder if a word used in any country that has racist tones would still be as funny

          1. The way to not encourage it is not to buy it. But unfortunately for you, as the vast majority of the gay people this woman is offended on behalf of it actually like the humour in the card, that’s not going to happen.

    8. I agree , even if we had evolved beyond homophobic terms like this, I still find the card lame. I see some people saying how they would buy the card . I can see the card being bought by lots of lads for a micky take ,bit of homophobic bullying etc. whereby their perception of the card is to support their views on predatory, promiscuous , homosexuals.

    9. I have to admit that I found the card amusing at first glance. But language is a powerful weapon and though English may be the universal language around the world, it is American English that predominates, not British. Most non-native speakers (or probably Americans) would not know the meaning of “poof” or “queer”. However, they would certainly know the meaning of “fag” or “faggot”. In case people have missed it the world has become very Americanised over the last twenty years or so, even the traditional “Bristish” countries, such as the UK (obviously), Australia and New Zealand. Yes the card may be funny but picture two similar but different scenarios.
      1. You are walking home from the pub with your boyfriend. Along the way a group of Neanderthals attack you, rough you up, not much is said, except for a few grunts with a few expletives thrown in. You and your boyfriend are both seriously injured, are hospitalised and traumatised by the experience.

      1. A crime? “Yes” but could have happened to the hetero couple only 5 mins behind you. You and your boyfriend were just unlucky that you encountered the Neanderthals first.
        2. Same scenario, but this time as you are being attacked the Neanderthals abuse you calling you “fag” amongst other things. Still a crime, but would you consider it to be a hate crime? I think most would say “Yes”. And if you do, would you consider it a plausible defence that it was not a hate crime because “fag” is acceptable because it appeared on cards which many gay men find funny? I certainly wouldn’t.

        We simply cannot have it both ways (unless of course you are bisexual).

    10. justusboyz 24 May 2013, 9:41pm

      you would probably find something similar or worse in Gay shops. Its wasnt meant to be offensive but as I said im sorry if this lady found it offensive

      1. Can you say for certain that when some guy sat at his desk and came up with this that either:
        -the guy did not mean it to be offensive
        -he thought it might be, but did not give a toss.
        I don’t know, I cannot read his mindset by reading the card. I just know it is not funny, in my opinion.

    11. Peter Guthrie 24 May 2013, 11:01pm

      agreed (and I don’t care if this comment gets voted down) If that was a card with the N word or P word there would be outrage. Fag is wrong

      1. It’s pitiful the number of passive commentators here who find this card funny but the joke inevitably is the very gays who like being laughed at. I guess they believe the covert homophobia that people like them when they tell them “I love the gay queens , they’re so funny”

    12. Spanner1960 25 May 2013, 7:27am

      I think you are a po-faced prat for even publishing this.
      For crying out loud, lighten up!

  14. As a gay man I would say 3 things:

    1. Good on her for wanting to stand up for us BUT on this occasion her good intentions have perhaps led her astray
    2. The word ‘fag’ in the UK when applied to gay men in, for many of us, as offensive as the N-word is to describe black people. If used seriously/insultingly it is a declaration of war in my book
    3. In context, this card is brilliant and I would send it to my friends without a moment’s hesitation
    4. I hope this mild criticism of the card company doesn’t make them nervous about printing their cards because they are fantastic!

    1. London Babe 24 May 2013, 2:34pm

      As a British lesbian living in the US I’m quite pleased and proud about the fact that in the UK we’re “normalising” homosexuality to the point of now joking around. Where I live in the US homosexuality simply doesn’t exist to the rest of the population, it’s not even acknowledged and that can make life really difficult. I’d send this card to my mates, definitely.

  15. Surely the main issue here is that of context and intention. This is intended to laugh at a double meaning not to incite hatred towards a minority. If we can laugh at ourselves then the world is a very sad place. Let’s focus our efforts on fighting real homophobia and not finding offense where so obviously none is intended.

    1. should read “can’t laugh at ourselves” . Detention,boy!

  16. I agree with the majority here. I am gay and I would not be offended by the card. In fact, I think it is cute.

  17. Hans Verhoeven 24 May 2013, 2:28pm

    Can we have some feeling of humor, please!

    Hans, Amsterdam, a life time fag!

  18. Maybe she hasn’t known her son is gay for long? I can’t think of any other reason she wouldn’t find it funny – I think it’s hilarious

  19. Midnighter 24 May 2013, 2:31pm

    I laugh if I got this from a friend or family member. If the accompanying image is indeed somehow creating a sordid association I’d feel differently, but that isn’t the case from what I can see.

  20. Sorry but the card is hilarious and i would buy it.

    Another case of “Im not gay, black, disabled, lesbian, goatshagger but im offended on behalf of those who are”

    Get a sense of humour dear, and like has been pointed out fag doesnt have the same meaning here as in America.

  21. Interesting – my partner received an innocently sent Birthday card this week from a very good female friend the mother of two lovely girls – and the card said to Dale – the worlds biggest Queen – with a catalogue model wearing a tiara – and we were both shocked and vaguely insulted – It was a gut reaction to something we thought had stopped since childhood and those traumatic teen years –

    Were we over reacting or was this mildly offensive – in which case Homophobic slurs are endemic & like other cultural offensive language ingrained in our societies.

    1. Midnighter 24 May 2013, 5:18pm

      If she was a good friend it was clearly intended without malice – I suspect you touched on it by calling it a gut reaction as a result of past experiences. It seems likely it was something she did because she feels very close to you and intended it as a ‘laugh with’ not ‘laugh at’ joke.

      You’ve already identified that your reaction has a perfectly valid cause and is not something to worry about; intellectually you probably realise this wasn’t an intended offense, so I’d accept it as the friendly gesture it was intended to be.

      My 2p since you asked :P

    2. Is she gay?

      I feel uncomfortable when straight people make these kinds of jokes, not offensive per say just uncomfortable. Like when a white person says the N word to cool like Kanye (or whatever is going on in their tiny minds), that makes me cringe.

      1. uncomfortable was how we felt

    3. Im guessing she doesn’t know you as well as she thinks she does.

    4. my point was everyone would take offense if the card was sent to a black friend and it’s title was biggest Monkey – of similar ‘unintentional’ gaff…

  22. Oh my goodness. As a gay man, I think this funny and is exactly the kind of card I would buy for my gay friends when its one of their birthdays. Tounge in cheek humour. What a waste of an article. Get over yourself woman.

  23. Itchycoo Mark 24 May 2013, 2:37pm

    I thinks it funny
    I also think we have to be careful not to be too upset about some stuff and to be able to have a chuckle. There is a massive difference between this card and being called a fag by shouty strangers

  24. Thank you for being alert to the issue but I think *in this case* you fears are misfounded. I think it is quite funny

  25. Nothing wrong with this card. Hyper-sensitive mother needs gain a sense of humour.

    1. What a wonderful thing it is to have a mother who would fight your corner like that though.

      1. Spanner1960 25 May 2013, 7:31am

        I wouldn’t want such an overly protective parent fighting my battles.
        She probably still calls her 30+ year old son “her little boy”.

  26. I’m sure its not intentional, but reading this woman’s comments reminded me rather of hearing a “disgusted” Mary Whitehouse with a bee in her bonnet over-reacting as usual and blathering on about homosexuality on one of her particularly off days.

    Calm down, love, and have a nice cup of tea.

  27. Aunty Batty Betty 24 May 2013, 2:49pm

    These cards have been on sale (old take on knitting patterns etc) since the middle of the 1990’s. I may well be wrong, as I have a fuzzy brain, but I recall being told that the founder of the original company was gay. He was kind enough to donate some of his range of similar cards for a fundraiser we were doing in 2000. I think these cards are made by loads of diff. companies now. Some are really amusing, I like them. I sometimes think it seems we have lost the ability to see the funny side of things Or those who seem to want to support us (which is nice) but somehow get offended for the wrong reasons. What Ho, time for tea and homemade biscuits.

  28. Mike Homfray 24 May 2013, 2:52pm

    I thought it was amusing and harmless. I’ve heard gay men tell a similar joke when going for a …ciggy… loads of times.

    But its good that we are talking about these things

  29. David Josef 24 May 2013, 2:52pm

    Where can I get one?
    Very funny.

    1. Carole Smith 24 May 2013, 8:38pm

      Any branch of Card Factory, there are stores throughout the UK.

  30. Tom Cotner 24 May 2013, 2:57pm

    While I take her at her word that she is the mother of a gay man, I don’t believe she is the “proud” mother of a gay man, and is extra sensitive of anything she may feel derogatory about her son. She remains in the closet when it comes to acceptance of a gay son.
    In view of this, it is only natural that she would not be able to joke about anything regarding her son’s sexuality, as she doesn’t quite accept it herself.
    She has a long way to go in order to get over her bigotry (even though she believes she has none).

    1. “Chill out mum” may have been an appropriate response from the son! Calling someone “gay” can be offensive, if said with offensive intent, as can almost any descriptive phrase. The context is humorous, not bullying bigoted or offensive.


  31. The card reinforces negative stereotypes about gay men and uses a word which is still too often employed abusively. The fact that most people who are confident enough about themselves to comment on articles here are able to rise above any pain this “joke” causes should not blind us to the fact that large numbers of people, even in the newly liberated UK, are less sure of themselves – maybe closeted or still discovering their sexuality – and will be hurt by the card.

  32. Agree with everyone, it’s tongue in cheek. I suggest she never look in the shops in Soho for a card, as I couldn’t resist getting my boyfriend a card that said “Happy Birthday you old Queen”

    I think it safe to say if I coudn’t buy a card like that, people wouldn’t be getting cards any more.

    It doesn’t make the gay community look that great to get offended over harmless jokes and undermines the fight against real homophobia, a case of “the boy who cried wolf”

  33. The Great British double entendre! Where would we be without it? All those great sitcoms of yesteryear (Are You Being Served?, Allo Allo etc.)People seem to be afraid of using such humour these days, this explains why. I thought it was only the ‘muzzies’ who haven’t got a sense of humour when it comes to poking fun at them.
    Just off to stroke Mrs Slocombe’s pussy

  34. I find it highly hilarious and so would my mother who is ‘proud’!!
    I would welcome this as a birthday card because I would pee my pant with laughter!
    Shame someone has ruined the surprise for me now.

    1. Some people are easily amused.

  35. I did not find the card offensive but rather amusing. I think perhaps the mother in this case was offended and could be oversensitive about her son’s homosexuality than her son is. If she is truly as proud as she claims she is, she would not become easily offended.

  36. This isn’t offensive – it’s humorous! I’d laugh if a friend brought me this… Political correctness gone mad!

    1. I don’t find the card offensive – but I am upset by the wording of the article: Surely “neither men are holding a cigarette” should be ” neither man is holding a cigarette” :-)

  37. As a gay man, I thought it was funny.

  38. I had a fag at school… he cleaned my shoes and made my tea.

  39. Peter Vaughan 24 May 2013, 3:49pm

    I’m glad I seem to be in the majority when I thought this card was funny, not hurtful. People can say what they like really, as the old saying goes – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will not hurt me”

    1. On the contrary, words have the power to wound far more deeply and extensively than sticks and stones do.

  40. Scott Mellon 24 May 2013, 3:50pm

    Please send me a dozen.

  41. Chris Jones 24 May 2013, 3:53pm

    Made me laugh instantly…. i would buy it and would be happy to receive it…. in the big scheme of things does it really matter?

  42. sorry but this did raise a smile, don’t think it is in any way offencive. I wish that i’d pop out and one would turn up xx

  43. Surely ‘fag’ is only an offensive term if you let it be?

    Any word can be used offensively if given a particular tone, but I feel – and judging by the other comments here, I am not alone – that this card was meant to be tongue in cheek. I actually find it refreshing that high-street retailers are now selling cards that aren’t always hetero-centric.

  44. I don’t this card is particularly funny, but I’ve seen many like it and bought some for friends.

    I can understand why Mandy would be worried to see it on display for the sake of her kid and other young gay people, but I don’t think the card is meant in a vicious way.

    Of course if someone sent that card to the wrong person then it may be taken offensively, but that’s humour for you.

  45. I’m a gay man and I think it’s hillarious!!!

    1. that’s because you’re a fag.

  46. George Broadhead 24 May 2013, 4:31pm

    I seem to be the only person to find it rather offensive. Just like the frightful sitcom Vicious, it reinforces stereotypes.

    What, I wonder, does Pink News think?

  47. I don’t think the card is funny.

    Would the black community find a card that had the word ‘nigger, coon or gollywog’ on it funny? No.

    Would the Jewish community find a card that had ‘Yid, kike or big nose’ on it funny? No.

    Or is a card that has a disabled person on it and says ‘spacca, mong, flid ‘ funny? No.

    So why does anyone in the gay community find a derogatory term that is used as an insult on a birthday card funny?

    1. The vast majority of people responding here seem to find it funny, as do I. A few people find it unfunny which is fair enough. What is not fair enough is that the tiny minority of people who do not think it funny want to dictate what the rest of the world see – in the real world Broadhead and Cohen do not get to ban images or text and thank goodness for that.

      1. Next time someone calls you a fag, or a young lad in school gets called a fag, are you going to laugh? Fair enough that you consider yourself a fag, and there are a majority of fags on pink news who think it’s funny, but I don’t consider myself a fag, and find the word to be offensive in any context.

      2. George Broadhead 24 May 2013, 6:06pm

        I am pleased that Ben Cohen, the Managing Director of Pink News, also finds the card offensive and that Brian is gracious enough to respect minority opinion.

    2. could not agree more

  48. whilst I appreciate a mum wanting to support & protect her son I also think the card is funny and would buy the card! a word is only offensive when said in a derogatory way…this is fun!

  49. I’m gay. It’s a funny card. Lighten up. I’m not offended.

  50. gino meriano 24 May 2013, 5:31pm

    blimey PC gone mad, its a laugh get over it and get a sense of humor

    1. Its a joke – and I think a funny one. You don’t eliminate intolerance and insults by banning the use of words. As another contributor said its all about context. Perhaps when the young gay man (the mother’s son) mentioned in the original news report is older he will understand context.

    2. faggot. lol. hahaha.

  51. I don’t see this as being massively offensive. It’s a joke I often use with American friends, who never really get used to the word fag being used for a cigarette in Britain. ‘Just popping out for a fag’ etc. It’s raised many a laugh, even though it’s now quite old.

    1. Try telling them ‘I’m going to see if I can bum a fag’ (get someone to give me a cigarette)

  52. George Broadhead 24 May 2013, 6:11pm

    I am pleased that Ben Cohen, the Managing Director of Pink News, agrees with me and that Brian has the good grace to accept the views of a minority. After all, we are a minority, aren’t we?

  53. I hate the word ‘faggot’ or ‘fag’ when it comes from the ignorant mouths of homophobes like WBC etc; but I did grin when I saw this card. If it offends you…..don’t buy it….simples. ;)

  54. Rob Crossgrove 24 May 2013, 6:16pm

    My initial reaction was to find it funny, and I’ve used similar phrases in the past myself. But let’s not forget that various sports personalities and celebrities have been fined, sacked, or heavily critisised for using the term Fag. Sure, you can say that in this context it wasn’t offensive, but how do we define offensive, and how can we prove whether or not anyone meant to be offensive ? What if David Burrows called someone a fag and then said “Oh but it wasn’t offensive”. We can’t be saying that it’s ok for some people to use this word and not others.

    1. It’s only offensive if you allow it to be. Yes, we all know how hurtful words can be, but likewise they can also empower you. Burrows and his ilk are to be pitied for their ignorance and not afforded any respect for their bullying tactics.

      I sincerely believe this card is but a harmless joke that plays on an age-old tradition of double-entendres like saucy seaside postcards. It’s tone is not malicious and the accompanying image from a catalogue shoot lets you know it’s all done tongue in cheek. It’s a sad world if we lose the ability to laugh at ourselves.

  55. That’s priceless. I loved it. I found it charming and cute. We can’t afford to be too afraid of mocking ourselves.

    1. faggot. lol. hahaha.

  56. David Holder-Twomlow 24 May 2013, 6:33pm

    I thought this was quite amusing. People need to stop being maliciously offended all the time.

  57. Funny card, stop being so SENSITIVE. The reason gays are called faggots (and cigarettes, incidentally) is that the word means kindling for fire. In Scripture unrepentant sinners are destined to burn like faggots…so…there’s a history/linguistic lesson for all.

  58. I would also buy this card as it is FUNNY.

    The women is being too oversensitive and PINK NEWS have reported this in a ‘protective’ style…. get over it, it is humour and in no way offensive.

  59. I very much appreciate her standing up for us…it’s nice people like her are around…but, yeah, I found this very funny and would buy it in a second. Sometimes there’s a thin line between offensive and comical. This I found to be on the comical side with no intent to be offensive.

  60. Joe Naylor 24 May 2013, 7:28pm

    I think is funny! and I’d buy it. I am a fag if you reclaim the word and use it, it can’t be used against you!!

  61. I think we have a case, here, of a bit of over sensitivity.

    If I were to receive the card, from a friend, I would probably wind up wetting myself from laughing.

    1. Sounds like you need incontinence pants not a lame ass card that’s not funny.

  62. I’d buy it. If I received it, I’d find it hilarious. It’s very tongue in cheek.

    But then, as a gay man, I’ve decided to take ownership of the word fag. I don’t let it offend me anymore, it belongs to me and to every other gay man out there.

  63. From reading the comments here , I doubt if any straight allies/family will bother to be offended by homophobic terms again, as pink news readers are ok with being addressed as fag but then moan about westboro Baptist church. We have not reached a stage of equality yet where we can afford to be self deprecating for the benefit of a card company at our expense and varied perceptions to that.

    1. Oh, for heaven’s sake, lighten up. You’re starting to sound like the people in the Westboro Baptist Church and they’re now treated as a joke. Froth at the mouth much?

      1. You’re the one that’s the joke and obviously happy to be seen as one. “froth at the mouth”? you wish, maybe you would be if you weren’t such a sad old fag .

        1. My my, aren’t you the superior one? Get off your supercilious high horse and drop the holier than thou act. The only thing you come across as is a snot nosed gay bigot.

  64. All this reclaiming the word nonsense is rubbish. This is a business interested in making money appealing to a mass market for a laugh about the pathetic homo who can still be mocked, not a LGBT community organisation/activist attempting to reclaim the word. And why some choose to use racial/homophobic slurs to somehow think they are reclaiming them , when really they are still using terms which are still predominantly used in the offending context .

  65. ‘Fags’ was also used to refer to English private school freshmen during in the 19th century. They got the jobs like emptying the chamber pot. Warming the toilet seats, etc.
    I think this maybe wear the derogatory term for homosexuals came from.
    The bundle sticks origin, while true in the name, seems less likely for the origin of how homosexuals came to be called ‘fags’.
    I could well be wrong.

    1. Spanner1960 25 May 2013, 7:38am

      The public school ‘fags’ were named because one of their jobs was to light and clean the fireplaces, and a faggot was a bundle of kindling sold to help start the fire (before the days of firelighters). Fags were expected to do all the domestic chores, and often this went as far as various sexual favours for the older boys, hence why the word moved into common usage as a derogatory term for homosexual.

  66. Adam FreeMan 24 May 2013, 10:45pm

    2 questions from America. 1) Why are you proud your son is a “fag”? 2) Over here, Sodomite homosexuals want to be treated like everyone else and included in everything so what is wrong with their own card?

    1. What about non-sodomite homosexuals? What do they want?

  67. I must admit to finding it quite funny. It’s quite retro humour, the sort of double entendre that Julian and Sandy would have featured on Round the Horne. (Incidentally, that programme was way, way ahead of its time.)

    It’s not as if the image is a negative cliché or there’s any hostile intent, it’s merely a play on words. It’s also vaguely refreshing that gay cards are entering the mainstream, a small sign of progress.

    The mother was well intentioned but being just a tad too protective.

  68. I don’t know how old the mother is, but from her name it sounds like she’s not that old so her gay son would be fairly young. I’m wondering if for younger gay men their experience of hearing the word ‘fag’ has been more purely negative. I found it quite amusing, but I’m older as i think most on here are.

    1. I’m older too almost 30, but I still find the word a negative term and unacceptable.

  69. sounds very similar to conversations with the boyfriend he says “popping out for a fag” and my response is “and a cigarette too, yea?”

  70. Spanner1960 25 May 2013, 7:33am

    The usual “offence by proxy”.
    If any gay person is offended by it, go ahead and complain, but I am sick of PC do-gooders that think they are doing someone else a service.

  71. justusboyz 25 May 2013, 7:45am

    Can someone tell me when the use of the N****r word is NOT offensive. I dont think this is the same thing frankly

    1. justusboyz 26 May 2013, 4:21pm

      Uve marked me down, but you havnt answered the question?

  72. I’m gay and i find that card quite amusing.
    People are oversensitive

  73. If you find that offensive then you’re way too sensitive!
    Get a sense of humour for heaven’s sake.

  74. So far of all my friends (or acquaintances) that are gay, like me, the only ones to be offended are the ones that go around calling each other ‘she’, ‘her’ and ‘B*tch’. I guess the irony is lost on them.

    1. I don’t call anyone she or her, and neither do any of my mates. I don’t call my mates fag or any other derogatory term, and none of my mates would send me this card because they’re not fags either, and don’t think being called a fag is funny.

      It seems that the camp older generation, which you must be from, find it funny.

    2. You sound like a bit of a bitch to me. And what are you suggesting? , that you are offended to be called “she” but not fag, seems like you need to understand the definition of irony.

  75. I’m a great believer in “no offence meant, none taken” but who is this card aimed at? Gays or Rednecks? Most readers seem to think it is camp and harmless – ironically non-PC, perhaps. But is it? I think people are right not to be “offended” but I am suspicious of it.

  76. There’s loads of camp old fags leaving comments saying that this isn’t offensive.

  77. Shocked to see so many people on here who seem to think the use of the word FAG to describe them or others is seriously ok! or that a black man would not find it offensive to find the N word on a greetings card. I disagree! If someone hurls abuse at you on the street for being gay, then FAG is often used amonst many other words of verbal abuse,and why the Westboro Baptists use it on their plackards. In an age of greater equality than at any other time, i want to be seen and known as just another man in this world, who just happens to like other guys instead of girls. Time to cut the old school crap language from everyday use and treat everyone,including yourselfs with respect.

  78. I thought it was funny and I would buy it, it only a card.

  79. I’m gay and I thinks it’s funny
    we are getting oversensative

  80. I thing it’s a generation issue. I hate the word and suffered at the hand of violent neighbours, bullying and in the work place. This word was often used to bulky and intimidate. I do partially subscribe to the idea that you can “claim” the word back and prevent its use as an anusive term but in reality this word is still used to degrade and bully gay men.

    Even if you don’t agree with the wrights and wrongs of the card, its so good to see a mother standing up for her son. Tis has to be the high point of this piece

  81. Jon "maddog" Hall 25 May 2013, 3:13pm

    In the United States the “N” word is sometimes used between two black people, usually very good friends, with no insult intended or taken.

    In the early days of civil rights the “N” word was deemed so offensive that there were calls to remove it from classic books such as “Tom Sawyer” or “Huckleberry Finn” even though Samuel Clemmens (the author) was a known abolitionist and was simply using the venacular of the day.

    I think the comments here mirrot this usage. Most of us would use the words “fag” and “queen” between us, knowing the loving sentiment around it, but would be offended by the use of it by the WBC.

    Of course any name the WBC called me would be offensive.

    I too found the card amusing, and would probably buy it for a friend that I knew was gay and that they knew I was gay.

    As to the card being made by a company that is trying to make a profit, we do not know all of the intentions of the company, but thank goodness someone made it, as I am rather horrible at handycrafts.

  82. The funniest thing of all, really, is PN’s reporting of this story itself.

    While no doubt done in a straight-faced manner and not intending to be at all ironic, the story comes across as a typical “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” item you might find in The Daily Mail but in reverse (ie. same level of cough, splutter-like indignation, but for us rather than against us).

    Indeed it would be the perfect sort of thing to run with on 1st April IF PN didn’t take itself half so seriously, being almost a pisstake of the sort of stories PN ran back in the day to stir readers into a frenzy over the lamest of examples of perceived homophobic slurs to justify the push for Orwellian hate speech laws.

    I think the lesson learned here, at least judging by our responses, is that PN’s motivation in publishing it as a serious story has misfired embarrassingly, and it needs to be less sensitive to such things and assume its readers are more mature and confident than it appears to give us credit for.

  83. LOL, that’s a great card. You have to be able to laugh at stuff, and let’s face it all of this kinds of cards have to be a little on the line. If everything was politically correct the world would be boring.

  84. Paul Halsall 26 May 2013, 1:20pm

    If you have ever wandered around behind Jack Straw’s Castle on Hampstead Heath, this card is hilarious.

  85. god we are never happy….its only a joke card….get over it lady….

  86. Given that neither men are holding a cigarette, IS?

    Of course they had fags in Tom Brown School Days. And that didn’t imply homosexual. Definitely over-reacting. I somebody sent it to me I would find it amusing, not offensive. But get the grammar right!

  87. I’m a “proud” gay and thought it was hilarious. I’m sorry this “proud” mother’s gay son was saddened, but that has nothing to do with this card and everything to do with his own self-esteem. As a side-note, we gays should really have picked a different word, perhaps. It seems our allies often get confused as to what “pride” means to us. Pride is being comfortable with ourselves, improving what we can while accepting what we can’t. For us, pride is not adopting an artificially inflated sense of self-worth.

  88. card factory only sell cheaply made cards any way so why shop in there makes you look cheap when you give a card from there

  89. Keith in SALFORD 16 Jul 2013, 9:39pm

    We can do without her sort spouting; the daft mare.

  90. I work for card factory and got the card for my brother who is gay if u look at the rest of the range of cards they are all very tongue in cheek and my shop had hsd no complaints at all !

  91. John Faloon 18 Jul 2013, 6:13pm

    I’m gay. It’s funny. Get a grip.

  92. I have to express my horror at these supportive comments. For years and YEARS we have been banging on about hateful words and negativity, and when we need to teach a corporation a lesson all my fellow gay men are saying how hilarious the card is. Ridiculous! If the card said “n*ggar” or “p*ki” you would all be outraged and considering how common fag is now becoming as a general slur on people, you should be asking for the card to be removed.

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