Archive for Slang
Minorities and oppressed peoples often reappropriate words and phrases that are used to disparage them as a means of empowerment. Pejoratives like ‘queer’, and ‘faggot’ have long been used to hurt gay people, but over the years have been reclaimed and even used by the general populace as well.
And in some cases, this reappropriation is so successful as to turn a previously disparaging word into the preferred term: for example, ‘gay’, previously an insult, is now strongly preferred to ‘homosexual’, both as an adjective and a noun. [wiki: reappropriation] ‘Gay’ may be used over ‘homosexual’ so as not to identify solely on the basis of sexuality.
‘Homosensual’ is a new and creative portmanteau (a combination of two words and a favorite of Word of the Gay) being used by comedians Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson on their weekly podcast, “Throwing Shade.”
-adjective or noun, portmanteau
1. the combination of the terms ‘homosexual’ and ‘sensual’.
2. adjective: of or pertaining to the homosexual senses or physical sensation; sensory.
3. adjective: pertaining to, inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the senses or homosexual appetites; carnal; fleshly.
4. adjective: arousing or exciting the senses or appetites of a gay person.
5. noun: a sensual gay person, in most instances a gay man.
6. see also: “Double Headed Disco” party by the same name.
Related: homo, gay, homosexual, sensual
Ex: “God, he’s so homosensual.”
Ex: “Hi, I’m homosensual Bryan Safi.”
[Origin: American. Used by Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson in the opening of the weekly podcast, “Throwing Shade”. Root: ‘Sensual’: 1400-50 late Middle English, from Latin ‘sensus’ sense.]
We seem to be on a drag-related streak here on Word of the Gay, one that’s lasted almost an entire year since our last post in June of 2011. With the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 (nearly) behind us, we were inspired by cast member Sharon Needles and her boyfriend Alaska (who is also a drag queen) to post this definition.
“Kai kai” [rhymes with "eye eye"] refers to when two drag queens engage in sexual activity or “hook up”. The term most likely derives from the American slang term “ki ki” [pronounced "kee kee"], which is a general term used when gay men laugh, giggle or joke around with one another. The contemporary use of “kiki” as it relates to humor may originate with the French translation, meaning “to choke” or “to throttle.” Possibly related: many drag queens also use the term “gag” or “gagging” when something excites, impresses or overwhelms them. The term “kiki” may also relate to the drag & ball scene when young people take part in an event called a “Kiki Ball.” Essentially, kai kai, kiki (along with their multiple iterations and uses) will often describe the interaction between drag queens, performers and/or gay men.
You may hear drag queens speak disparagingly about kai kai, or make jokes about other drag queens hooking up or having sex with each other.
1. the act of two drag queens having sexual relations; i.e. “hooking up” or entering into an intimate or sexual relationship.
Related: ki ki, kai kai’d
Ex: “So did you and that other drag queen kai kai?”
Ex: “I never thought that those two would ever kai kai, but they both disappeared after the show.”
[Origin: Most likely American. Current usage; drag queens and other people involved in the nightlife entertainment industry.]
Drag Queens are possibly the most notorious illusionists that have ever walked this Great Green Earth. For centuries, men have delighted audiences appearing as women, wearing all types of “female” clothing, wigs, make-up and offering many types of entertainment. These range from singing, dancing and lip-syncing to even fire-eating, acrobatics and so on. Quite obviously, the most important way in which to maintain the illusion is to make sure their male genitalia is hidden from view. So in lies the secret to their crotch maintenance… to “hide the candy,” as “candy” referring to their “cock n’ balls” or penis and testicles for those academic types.
As a guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race“, actor and singer Vanessa Williams was amazed at this remarkable method, and remarked on “Lopez Tonight” at just how amazing these Queens maintain their crotches. The program pits 12 (or 13 as was the case in its 3rd Season) drag queens against one another in the battle to become the “Next Drag Superstar,” and has been an instant hit and will be in its fourth season in 2012. The drag queens make reference to tucking and hiding their candy quite often, and it has been a subject of many highlighted conversations throughout the series’ run.
1. the act of a drag queen to conceal the bulge in the crotch before a performance with a durable tape, usually gaff or ducked tape.
Related: tucking, tucknology
Ex: “I can’t go on stage until I hide the candy.”
Ex: “She needs to learn how to hide her candy properly, I can see everything she’s packin’.”
[Origin: Most likely American, and used by drag queens all over the world.]
Throughout history, gay men and straight women have gone together like peanut butter & jelly, peas & carrots, or Cagney & Lacey. The level of intimacy that can be reached between these two individuals can rival even that of the most star-crossed of lovers. Now, couple the needs of an older woman who is either single or in a loveless marriage and has vast resources – with that of a younger, attractive man who’s looking to advance his social standing – and you’ve got sheer magic.
“Walker” describes the man in this equation; a young gay man that provides company for older women for the purposes of keeping her company, giving her advice, and escorting her to social events – in lieu of a husband or boyfriend. A walker will usually accompany a widow or unmarried woman, and act as both company and a sort of handler or aide. Since the woman is usually “of a certain age” the term also has a double-meaning, which refers to a walker, which is a device used to assist with standing and/or walking.
This term should not be confused either “beard” or “frock,” which both describe individuals (bread-female, frock-male) who are romantically linked to either a gay man (beard) or a lesbian (frock) in order to keep their sexual orientation hidden. Walkers are not necessarily in (or out of) the closet.
1. noun: A man (usually younger and gay) who is in a non-sexual relationship with an older woman (usually single or widowed), and serves as her social escort, muse, best friend, artistic expert, or confidante.
Ex: “Isn’t that Ms. Weintraub? I haven’t seen her since her husband passed away last year. It looks like that walker of hers is going to be out with her even more now.”
Ex: “Well, I saw Doris at two different events with her walker, Lawrence, again this week.”
[Origin: Most likely American or European, and used almost exclusively in high society circles.]
[Related: "beard" (female who acts as a closeted gay man's companion in public); "frock" (male who acts as a closeted lesbian's companion). Examples: George "Gould" Strong & Edith Bouvier Beale; Jack McFarland & Karen Walker.]
Throughout history, words have been used to discriminate, pigeon-hole, or otherwise keep groups of people “in their place” in society. To that end, groups that have been the target of vicious name-calling often reclaim insulting language as a way to self-identify and empower themselves as an individual, or as a member of a larger community.
Reclamatory language, as it is referred to, is language with pejorative connotations that people with marginalized identities use to identify themselves. Language which has been used as an insult, and which is still used as an insult today, can be reclaimed through the use of reclamatory language. However, there are some words, like the “n”, “f”, and “c” words, for instance, that many people believe to be too far beyond reclaiming for anyone to use in an empowering manner.
“Swish” is an example of this phenomenon; and of how a group of like-minded individuals were determined to build a positive movement to further the rights of LGBT people through reclaiming an often insulting slang word used to describe “effeminate” men. The small group of friends has evolved into a large, diverse community comprising people of every background, shoe size, hair color, and sexual identity. With more than 1,000 members in 32 states and 4 countries, “Swish” creates volunteer, advocacy, and educational opportunities for the gay and straight communities to learn from each other and work together toward full, unwavering equality for LGBT people.
plural -ers. adjective -y [swish]
1. adjective (swishy, swishing): A pejorative word used to describe flamboyant characteristics, personality traits, or physical attributes of a homosexual person; usually a gay man.
2a. noun: An American gay-straight alliance, founded in 2003 (originally an acronym for Straight Women In Support of Homos), that provides opportunities for straight women and men to contribute their time, energy, and talents to furthering the LGBT rights movement.
2b: noun (Swisher): A member of “Swish”, who embodies the mission and vision of the organization – to further the LGBT rights movement.
3a. verb: To fight for equal rights for the LGBT community using one’s talents, smarts, and sense of style.
3b. verb: To make activism uplifting, rewarding, and fun. To “swish” is the emancipation from what was once a pejorative to an ability to envision and create a world in which equality, freedom, and love for all LGBT people is valued and celebrated.
Ex: “Oh my, would you just look at that guy swishing down the street!”
Ex: “I love being a Swisher! Each year at NYC Pride, I am able to set a positive example for straight allies in the LGBT movement and beyond!”
[Origin: Most likely American or European, used in pre-Stonewall (i.e. 1969 A.D.) gay male communities.]
As a pubescent teenage boy in 1990s America, I certainly had my fill of sexually-charged imagery to fixate upon – Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” documentary (but mainly her male back-up dancers) and those hot, black-and-white Calvin Klein underwear ads. But the main object of my affection in those days, and still continues to be, of course, one “Marky Mark” Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg’s body certainly defines the term, “Salad” – which describes a man with a well-defined, muscular physique. You know the type; the guys who aren’t the least bit afraid to take off their shirt or drop their drawers. Basically, we’re talking mainly about underwear models, body-builders, dancers, and athletes. Others might describe those of us who are infatuated with this bodytype as “muscle Queens” or being into “muscle worship”. And why not! These guys are just fucking hot.
[sal-ad] – Definitions, in part, courtesy of the “Salad” Facebook profile.
1. noun: a sexually attractive man with a well-developed physique; well-proportioned and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; otherwise good-looking.
2. noun: either of two fleshy protuberances forming the lower and back part of the trunk; buttock; ass.
Ex 1: “Gurl, there was so much salad at The Abbey I didn’t know what to do with myself!
Ex 2: “His salad was like two perfectly tanned mounds of man-flesh.”
[Origin: United States, ca. 1990s. Attributed to "P. Farace", New York City's West Village; courtesy Facebook profile for "Salad"]
It goes without saying that there are a great many words and phrases that relate to casual sexual encounters. “Trade” is one such word. The word originates from Polari (post #22), the now almost entirely defunct gay “slanguage” from The United Kingdom.
“Trade” originally referred to a straight male who was the sexual partner of another man, either gay or bisexual, and quickly came to describe any pair of male sexual partners. Over time, the term has also been commonly attributed to younger or economically-disadvataged man who becomes the sexual partner of another older, or considerably more affluent, man.
Some specific examples of its use relate to men who seek out overtly masculine sexual partners. For instance, some men will seek out service members of the armed forces, who exemplify for them a very masculine example of manhood. These men are referred to as “military trade“, and may or may not be gay.
Currently, and in most cases, the word is used casually to refer to any male sexual partner of another man.
Ex: “I was at my favorite bar again last night, trying to pick up some trade.”, or “Did you see Chris and his trade come out of the club when it closed last night!”
1. the male sexual partner of another man; depending upon the circumstance may identify as straight, bisexual, or gay; individual may also receive payment after sexual acts are performed
[Related: "hook up", "MSM" (men who have sex with men), "one night stand", "rough trade", "trick"]
“Gayby” is yet another portmanteau word (one that combines two words into one) of the words “gay” and “baby” and refers to the little tykes that are adopted or conceived by a gay, lesbian or LGBT couple.
While this word might not yet have caught on in wider circles, there are already “gaybys” being featured on primetime television, as on the ABC sitcom, “Modern Family“.
1. noun: a child that is adopted into a gay, lesbian or LGBT family or home.
Ex: “Chuck… Larry! Your little Fuschia is just the cutest little gayby I have ever seen!”
[Origin: Most likely American. Related words: "gaydar", "gaysian", "gayborhood", etc.]
Throughout history, gay people have been forced-out of mainstream society and have had to create for themselves a sort of counter-culture, a secret code of ethics, language and activities. One manifestation of this phenomena occurred, and flourished, in Great Britain during the mid-Twentieth century.
“Polari” is described as a “secret language” used by gay people during the twentieth century (mainly in England), that was based on slang used by societal outcasts – namely, criminals, prostitutes, sailors and tramps. It incorporated English rhyme with other languages and slang, such as: Yiddish, Italian and French. As gay slang and culture moved more into the mainstream toward the end of the twentieth century, Polari began to lose its footing and was used less and less. Some of its phrases and slang are still used today, but in far less frequency. Most people who use these “Polari” phrases are most likely unaware of their origins.
EXAMPLES of POLARI phrases and words:
AC/DC: 1. noun: a couple. 2. adjective: bisexual.
joshed up: adjective: looking your best. (root: zhoosh-Yiddish)
on the team: adjective: gay.
polari, polare, parlare, parlaree: 1. noun: gay language. 2. verb: to talk. (possible root: palare-Italian)
[For more information on Polari, the lost language of "the gays", pick up "Fantabulosa: A History of Polari and Gay Slang" by Paul Baker, published by continuum Books.]
The term “rice queen” refers to a gay man (non-Asian, and most commonly Caucasian), who is explicitly attracted to Asian men. Rice queen originates from “rice” being the staple of most Asian dishes, and “queen” being a popular name used to describe a gay man. This term is used primarily in jest, and can also be considered derogatory. If you live in a large metropolitan area, or have many gay male friends, you probably know at least one rice queen. There may not be scientific data to support it; but rice queens can commonly be found in the following fields: architecture, interior design, graphic design and advertising.
1. a man who has a particular interest in, or sexual attraction to, Asian men.
2. derogatory or familiar name given to men (non-Asian) that are interested in Asian men.
: “Did you see his new boyfriend? He only dates Asian guys, what a rice queen!”
Related: bean queen, potato queen, refried beans, sticky rice
[Origin: based on rice being a staple of many Asian dishes.]
Gay men say some pretty outrageous things. So it’s only natural that you might not believe what comes out of their mouths. Likewise, gay people have a lot of attitude, and might not believe everything that comes out of yours.
If you are in need of a sassy retort to your homo-amigo’s unbelievable ramblings, why not try the following: “Mnh-hnhmmm!”
“Mnh-hnhmmm” most likely derived from the affirmative response, “Uh-huh” and is most often used with sarcasm to denote an air of disbelief. The phrase has been popularized by teenagers, and may also be accredited to African-American slang popularized by women and gay men for many decades.
Nowadays, you will find that you hear more sassy young white gay men and older Afircan-American woman using this phrase.
1. used to indicate disbelief or disapproval
2. sarcastic remark used in a mocking or sarcastic manner
Person 1: “Seriously, I’m not really that into him.”
Person 2: “Mnh-hnhmmm…”
Synonyms: yeah right, whatever, oh p’shaw, okay, uh-huh
Contrary to popular belief (and to the advertising departments of today’s popular gay lifestyle magazines), gay men are not all six feet tall with chiseled features, six-packs, and underwear modeling careers. In fact, most gay men do not look like this and come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. Men who identify as “bears” are one of the many colors in the gay-leidoscope.
The “bear” is so-named for his bear-like appearance. He is usually burly or heavy-set, with a hairy body and some form of facial hair. They may also give the impression of being blue-collar or working-class. The concept of being a “bear” has gone through many permutations in recent decades, with debate about what it means, exactly, to be a bear. They are usually gay or bisexual men, but transgender men have also been known to identify with bear communities.
Since the late-eighties and early-nineties, there has been a lot of growth in the bear community. Bears are closely related to the leather and S&M scenes in many communities, and there are many bears who consider themselves “leather-bears.”
[Origin: San Francisco during the 1980s; as an outgrowth of the gay biker and leather communities. Created by men who felt excluded from mainstream gay culture and the "twink" ideal that it purported. Richard Bulger and Chris Nelson founded Bear Magazine in San Francisco in 1987. Their company, Brush Creek Media, trademarked the name "Bear" for a men's magazine in 1991.]
Today, the bear culture has permeated through the post-modern, cultural watershed with this fantastic blog.
Pretty, young fit gay men with blond hair seem to have it all, don’t they? An active sex life, the attention of many other gay men, and a busy social life. In gay society, men who look like this are called “twinks.” Commonly, the term is used to describe someone who is either in their late teens or early twenties, or at least appears to be.
The term was initially used to describe attractive, young, gay Caucasian men who have very little or no body hair and a lean build. Initially, the term also only referred to blonds, but has grown to be inclusive of other young men whose physical features closely match those described above, but are not blond or even Caucasian.
“Twink” can be used in a insulting manner and is commonly modified to be more descriptive, such as: femme twink, butch twink, jock twink, etc. As such, the term has become widely popular in the gay porn industry and is used when defining genres of film.
[Origin: Most likely makes reference to the Hostess Twinkie; the yellow, cream-filled, cylindrical snack cake.]
Gay guys love addressing each other through the use of a female name. “Mary” is their favorite. If you hear a gay using a female name to address another man, he probably thinks that the other is: a) effeminate, b) outlandish, or c) both.
1. a feminine name used as a substitute for a gay man’s given name, used with affection, ridicule, or familiarity by another gay man
2. a popular greeting or salutation used by gay men to address other gay men they believe to be more effeminate.
: “Hey Mary, how’s it going?
: “Calm down, Mary!”
[Origin: unknown; may be attributed to the popular American actress Mary Tyler Moore.]