Archive for American
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, 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.]
“What’d she say?! Well let me tell you…”
Some gay men use the word “gurrrl” as a way to reiterate something that they have just said. Or rather, as either an exclamation on its own, or as a way to address someone (usually another gay man). It is best received when shouted or said with a gravelly and/or affected accent. It has been co-opted by mainstream society as a way of stereotyping perceived gay or African-American speech patterns.
“Gurrrl, I sure am hungry!!!”
1. referring to a male or female acquaintance or peer
2. used to address someone in a frank, sarcastic or humorous manner
1. an exclamation used to address a peer in a dramatic or humorous manner
2. a phrase used to add extra emphasis
[Origin: Closely associated with and accredited to African-American and gay slang of the 1990s.]
1. riot grrrl: A grassroots third wave feminist movement deeply connected to the punk rock scene in the early to mid 1990’s. Mostly youth-oriented, riot grrrl was neither an organization or a specific thought, but instead thrived on non-hierarchal “chapters” set up across America and parts of Europe connecting mostly young women with music, a thriving “zine” scene, and direct political action. (courtesy of: urbandictionary.com)
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.]