Call me Faggot by Elliot Wilde

Call me Faggot[1]

Bissinger, Buzz. “Introducing Caitlyn Jenner[2].” Vanity Fair. Condé Nast, 9 June 2015. Web. 11 June 2015.

Chin, Staceyann. The Other Side of Paradise[3]: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2009. Print.


[1] The first time I was ever called a faggot was in Primary School. I was the nice kid the weird kid, the smart kid, the queer kid. I didn’t know it then, of course. But everyone else seemed to know. I was outside, near the monkey gym, and a group of three or four male classmates approached me. Their leader said to me, “I dare you to lift up Patricia’s skirt.” I look to Patricia, a close friend of mine. We had met in kindergarten, she was a ballerina, and quite the artist. It was impossible to embarrass my closest friend, so I declined. “Faggot! JOTO!” They called me, and Patricia comes down from the monkey gym, rushing to my defense. “NO HE’S NOT! GO AWAY LALO!” They scurry away, more afraid of her than they were of me. I knew that faggot meant something disparaging, I didn’t know what, but I knew it was not good to be one, and for years I worried if they were right about me. As it turns out, they were.

[2] On June 9th Vanity Fair released “Call me Caitlyn,” their latest cover story entailing the transition Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, under went to become her authentic self. While millions of people marked this historical event as being an incredibly large movement on trans-rights, human rights, and trans-visibility, the event also marked, the day many people recognized the power of a name. While I will not equate my name change to Caitlyn’s journey, I will discuss their similarity. Caitlyn Jenner has spent years denying her own identity, her authenticity, because she did not fit the gender she was assigned at birth. Caitlyn Jenner, is one of many trans folk who have decided they no longer wish to fit the identity they have been forced into, but who they know themselves to be. As stated on the cover, “Call me Caitlyn,” is no request, question, or preference. It is a command. For some, this may be uncomfortable, for she does not fit convention, but that won’t stop her from existing. Call her Caitlyn.

[3] Abandoned by her mother, ignored by her father, beloved only by her brother and grandmother, Staceyann Chin brilliantly recounts her life as a strong queer feminist in this beautiful memoir, beginning with being raised by her God-fearing Grandmother. Throughout her life, Chin is a oppressed by extreme religiosity, colorism, classism, racism, sexism, and as she ages, homophobia. This sole book inspired me with courage, and with that courage, I realized that as a person, I was, and am meant to be controversial, unconventional, and inconvenient. Despite our immense differences, and the privileges I had, I felt incredibly close to Staceyann Chin, for I too speculated my faggotry and queerness from a young age. Her story convinced me that the consequences of being myself were worth the liberty of acting like myself.


Eliot[1], George. Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life. New York: Knopf, 1991. Print.

Kincaid, Jamaica. “In History[2].” Callaloo. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 2009. Print.

Mckenna, Neil. The Secret[3] Life of Oscar Wilde. New York: Basic, 2005. Print.


[1] My senior year of High School was the year I waged a revolutionary war against conventionalism. This was in part, inspired by George Eliot’s Middlemarch,” which I was assigned an excerpt of in my A.P. English Literature and Composition class. We talked about Eliot’s unconventional style of Victorian writing, and how she was able to show the hypocrisy of Victorian conventions such as class and marriage. It was the first time I ever thought of changing my name, of expressing the contrasts between who I was, and who my parents thought I was.

[2] In Kincaid’s essay, she examines the origin of names and identity throughout history, and how ironic our system for identification is. She points out that the names given to her people throughout history are not their true names, but the names assigned to them by explorers like Columbus. She argues that Carolus Linnaeus understood he had not made the things he was describing, but that he was only giving them names. She concludes to speculate what history means for marginalized people, people like her, who have fell prey to the cis-heteronormative, white, capitalistic, euro-centric, patriarchy that is inevitably killing the human race. Her writing expresses that her identity doesn’t lie in the name she was assigned, but in the name of existing on her own accord.

[3] The first time I recognized my uncommon sexuality was when I read a biography of Oscar Wilde. It discussed, in detail, Wilde’s homosexuality, and while I denied it then, I knew I was gay. I was in eighth grade. I began to read the works of Wilde, inspired by his aestheticism and style, I felt that by indulging in his writing I would satiate my queerness, and could hide it behind his words so that I might forget it. I could live an entirely different life by becoming absolved by Wilde’s work, imaging my self as one of his beautiful characters, their identities, reflecting my own. I commiserated with him, his damnation, but also, his world, his aesthetic, something I felt so close to, and yet was just out of grasp.


Moody, Rick. “Primary Sources[1].” The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1995.

Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita[2]. New York: Knopf, 1992. Print.

Ting Tings, The. “That’s Not my Name.” We started Nothing[3]. Columbia Records. 2008. CD.

Wilde, Eliot. “How to Come Out.[4]Ohio Edit. Amy Fusselman, 22 May 2015. Web. 10 June 2015.


[1] My favorite class in my first semester of NYU was my writing class with Sussana Horng. She is the perfect instructor for aspiring writers. She inspired me to write, but also to write artistically. Prior to her course, I never really had much interest in creative writing. She told me to “kill my darlings,” to make myself vulnerable in my writing, because that is what culminates into radical writing. I’m forever grateful. Our last assignment was to curate our own memoir through bibliography, after the style of Moody’s Primary Sources. Its unconventionality inspired me to not fear my queerness, but to be empowered by it.

[2] I am Eliot, just Eliot, in the morning, standing five feet eleven in briefs. I’m Eliot Wilde in slacks, in school. I am Mark Mccaslin on the dotted line. But, I will always be, Eliot Wilde.

[3] Sometimes I would think that I was better off being nothing. To hide myself, to lie to my family, my friends, and myself. In primary school, middle school, and high school, I was bullied for my “apparent” sexuality. They called me fag. They called me gay. They called me bitch. They sought to erase me into nothing by refusing to acknowledge, my name, my existence, but they failed, because in this vulnerability, I found camaraderie. I had grown exceptionally close to three wonderful women my senior year of high school. Their resolve, talents, insecurities, and courage, allowed me to be comfortable with myself, a feat, I still struggle to maintain today.

[4] She called me joto, demonio, it was her way of saying that I was lying, my mother, who I had grown especially apart in my teen years, I had told her I was gay, even if she didn’t believe me or supported me, and that I wanted to tell my Dad. In her anger, she told me it was impossible for me to be gay, and if I was gay that I could take care of myself. I slept on my friend’s couch that evening, the night before my family’s Easter dinner at my cousin’s house. I suppose in some aspects I had lost everything. I was less than a month from graduation, working at Starbucks, committed to NYU, and homeless. Carrying with me a few of my belongings, a car that didn’t belong to me, and my identity. In truth, that is when Eliot Wilde first met the real world; it was when I first realized that all these years I had been lying to everyone, including myself, and that I was never meant to be Mark Mccaslin, the person and name my parent’s and society had assigned me to be, but something entirely different. Coming out, like most things, has a variety of meanings. For some it may mean life or death, for others, it may mean acceptance and happiness, and for others it may mean freedom. I’d like to say coming out meant all of the above for me, for if I had never come out to my family, I wouldn’t be alive. Thus, through these mixed conditions I have ascertained the power of a name. Call me Eliot.

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Eliot Wilde is a student at NYU, and has been published in Ohio Edit magazine. His writing draws from challenges he has faced as a queer male of color.

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