Word of the Gay

*Straight talk on Gay language, one word at-a-time.

Archive for Adjective

#40: “homosensual”

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.]

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#34 “swish”

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.]

#33 “salad”

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”]

#15 “mince”

Traditionally, “mince” is a term used to describe cutting things into tiny pieces, or that tasty mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and sometimes beef, suet or venison. In gay terms, it can be described similarly, as a mixture of coiffed aged fruit, distilled in spirits and silibate “S’s,” and sometimes a bit of meat.

“Mincing” describes actions that a man (gay or straight) might make which appear to be odd or even give the impression of femininity or effeminence. Most likely derived from “mincing;” the act of cutting items into small pieces – the phrase came to be synonymous with taking small, dainty steps or speaking in an overly dainty or elegant manner.

–adjective
1. having an effeminate or feminine appearance, position or attitude: a mincing walk.
2. (of the gait, speech, behavior, etc.) affectedly dainty, nice, or elegant. Courtesy of: Dictionary.com

–verb (used without object)
1. (of a person) to be in an effeminate or feminine position: to mince around.
2. to speak with an affected elegance or pretense.

: “Look at him mincing down the street!”

Related: mince, mincer, mincing, minced, minces

[Origin: unknown; may be attributed to the act of mincing (cutting objects into tiny, dainty pieces).]

#13 “queening out”

You’ve seen it all before… a gay man gets upset or super excited – and suddenly it’s the end of the World. “Queening out” is a popular phrase in the gay community that describes one of two things:

1. a gay male tantrum, or fit of rage

2. an individual exhibiting stereotypical gay tendencies; usually manifest in the form of speech patterns, mimicry of pop culture icons or outlandish dance & movement

The phrase is related to “queen” being a term used to describe an effeminate gay man. “Queening out” is not only used to describe men, but can be used for women, as seen in one of these two videos scenes from YouTube.com: Some Kid Queening Out & Child Abuser Queening Out

Ex: “Oh Gurl, you should have seen her, she was queening out on the dance floor big-time!”

[Related catch-phrases: “Slow Your Roll,” “Don’t have a cow, man” “Take it Easy,” and the less-accepted “Fagging Out”]

#12: “versatile”

Guys who are versatile really like to do it all… they are the sexual OCD or bi-polar of the gay community.  They are both active and passive, dominant and submissive, top and bottom.

[Syn: Vers, VERS, VRS, flip, flip-flop]

#10 “top”

Navigating the sexual playing field is a bit more complicated for gay people than our straight counterparts. We have to define our sexual roles in different ways due to the fact that our sexual partners have the same set of “equipment” as we do. Inserting tab “A” into slot “B” does not apply. So, we make use of slots “C” and “D” quite a bit more – and it’s oh, so fun!

In gay culture, the term “top” refers to people who are the dominant, or active person in the sack.

-noun
1. an individual who penetrates, or takes an active role during sexual activity
2. the perceived dominant individual in a relationship or sexual encounter
3. in the S&M and leather community; an individual who takes a dominant role or “charge” and identifies as a sadist, dom, domme, or dominatrix

-verb
1. the act of taking an active role during sexual activity (topping, tops, topped)

-advjective
1. to be bossy or take charge in a given situation

:”I am a Top.”
:”I am interested in guys who are strictly into topping.”

Reference: Ramon Johnson has a great entry on his About.com profile dedicated to the different labels gay men assume when describing themselves sexually.

[Synonyms: active partner, active, ass-bandit, back-door man, booty bandit, bugger, butt pirate, dom, domme, dominatrix, giver, master, pitch, pitcher, top man]