“Fag” was a common insult when I was a kid. In the vocabulary of eighth-grade put-downs, its ubiquitousness was matched only by the thoughtlessness with which we tossed it at everyone. I remember the day a friend explained why it offended him. I felt ashamed, and haven’t used it since.
I thought of that last week after celebrity chef Paula Deen got dropped by her sponsors for admitting that she used the n-word 25 years ago.