As Tobi Hill-Meyer posted last week about the word "tranny," there's always more to a slur than the word itself.
Here's more from the cruising stings trial in Palm Springs, which the attorney defending six of the two dozen men who were arrested called the stings "vicious" in comparison to other cruising sting cases he's worked on before, and not without reason: the police had a deal with the DA's office to keep on goading the men who had already committed arrestable offenses into committing offenses that would get them on a sex offender registry.
And the police chief, who went along on one of the stings, was accused of using a slur (so bad, apparently, that the local news has consistently refused to print it, keeping an important part of the story out of public view). The chief denied it at first but has now apologized:
Palm Spring police Chief David Dominguez apologized today for insensitive remarks made during sex sting in Warm Sands targeting gay men.
"An inappropriate comment made by me did not display the utmost professional conduct expected from the chief of police and I sincerely apologize to the community at large," he said.
City Manager David Ready also offered his apology, saying a report on the sting showed police were unprofessional and made offensive comments.
I don't know if it's just the chief or if there are others involved in this story who are operating under the impression that the slur was an offense that occurred in a vacuum. The police went to where they knew gay sex was happening, dressed in plainclothes since they knew the men would stop if they saw a cop, got the men to commit illegal acts, and even after they did that they kept on pushing the men to commit acts that would get them on a sex offender registry. Unless they do that to straight couples who are caught having sex in a car, then the entire context is homophobic no matter what words were being used.
But the word does bring the homophobia to people's attention, and unless homophobes really control themselves these words have a way of coming out. When those words get uttered, they're usually in a context that isn't that positive in the first place.
Anyway, I still don't know what the word was. The Desert Sun kept on calling it a "gay slur," a county attorney said it wasn't a slur but "just kind of an evil nasty insult to call a person that really does not have anything to do with their sexual orientation." The Valley News is at least printing part of the sentence:
"What a bunch of filthy mother (expletive)," he allegedly said. "You guys should get paid extra for this."
"Mother faggots"? "Mother queers"? "Mother homos"? I don't know, but if it's "Motherfuckers," then it's not really a slur.