Straight guy launches ‘cheeky’ Fagz brand to reclaim homophobic slurs ‘from oppressors’
When Soleil Brotin, a straight construction worker, heard someone call his gay friend a “fag”, he agreed.
“You are a fag,” Brotin told his pal, “you are fabulous and gay.”
As his friend beamed with pride back at him and the homophobe who hurled the slur fled, Brotin told PinkNews that the incident sparked a simple mission – to reclaim the word fag “away from the oppressors”.
The 43-year-old Cardiff, Wales, native has launched the brand “FAGZ”, a playful tweak on the barbed word, to celebrate the LGBT+ community, sell Pride-themed clothing and create a dedicated space to platform queer charities.
“I was inspired to create a brand that reclaims a historically derogatory term to afford the LGBT+ community a means of fighting back,” he explained.
“I want to reclaim a verbal weapon used to oppress and establish FAGZ as a cheeky acronym.”
Man once called ‘fag’ by homophobes now hopes to reclaim historic slur with Fagz. He’s also straight
Growing up in the capital city, Brotin said homophobia was a part of daily life for him – whether it was heard on the playground, the music blaring from cassette players or even himself.
He used to be “ignorant”, he said, of LGBT+ people but quickly learned to “grow up and accept others regardless of who they are”.
Brotin acknowledged his own privilege in being a heterosexual man helming a pro-LGBT+ organisation, as well as the murkiness of profiting from LGBT+ causes.
While he said he can’t comprehend what it is like to be a victim of homophobia, he explained: “I have been labelled a fag purely by association and open mind.
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“As you can imagine, the construction industry is a cesspit of toxic masculinity and racist and homophobic oppression,” Brotin added, noting that he has lost employment and dubbed by bosses as a “trouble-maker” for speaking out against discrimination.
Brotin sought to stress that money-making isn’t his main priority with starting the company, with talks in the pipeline with clothing retailer ASOS alongside Amazon. But said: “I want to be perfectly clear, my website is to be as commercially successful as ASOS.”
Through this potential success, he said, he wants the brand: “To serve LGBT+ people and at the same time, liberate the community in there being one less historically derogatory word to oppress them.”
As he jockeys to secure investment, Brotin aims to create a clothing line where percentages of the profits will be donated to “LGBT+ charities, followers and customers” while giving free advertising space to LGBT+ charities and advocacy groups.
“In five years time, when people ask what I did under lockdown, I want to tell them I conceived an iconic LGBT+ consumer brand that universally reclaimed the word ‘fag’ from those who used it as a verbal weapon to oppress.”
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