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Gay Terms

Gay Terms

November 6, 2007
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" Some terms also can be hotly contested as the language keeps evolving. "

A good first step in understanding a culture that's different than your own is to learn a little bit of the language. That's true whether you're going to France, the Folsom Street Fair, the Eagle Bar in San Francisco or any local GLBT Pride celebration. Destinations like the Trannywood Pictures home site or genderqueer Pink & White Studio's CrashPadSeries.com can be as intimidating as ordering a meal in a brasserie in gay Paris, if you don't know how to walk the talk, comprenez-vous? This glossary of terms is derived from several online GLBT and adult-oriented glossaries and articles; in several instances, these terms express the new fluidity between gender identities, as well as within alternative expressions of sexuality. Some terms also can be hotly contested as the language keeps evolving.

ANDROGYNOUS or ANDRO: A person who has neither masculine nor feminine traits or displays both masculine and feminine traits.

BAREBACKING: A controversial practice within the gay male community of having unsafe sex or sex without a condom, especially if it is accompanied by an internal ejaculation.

BEAR: This term has several definitions, some of which are regional. Generally, a bear is identified as a hairy gay man, especially a man who displays overtly masculine traits as opposed to being effeminate. On the West Coast, it also is implied that a bear is a somewhat larger man. There are many variations on the bear, including "daddy bear" (a more mature or dominate bear), "muscle bear" (a muscular bear), etc. The subculture is a result of gay men with masculine traits and sometimes blue-collar personas, who did not feel comfortable socializing within the "mainstream" gay male community.

BOI: This term can indicate a younger gay or bisexual male who wishes to distinguish himself from heterosexual boys or it can indicate a physically female person who does not identify with female characteristics. As opposed to being "butch," girl-bois are generally younger and more playful; considered a movement within the gay youth culture.

BIO GIRL or BOY: A person who is genetically born a girl or boy and identifies as such, but may seek out experiences with transgendered individuals, or a term used by transgender individuals to describe which sex they were at birth.

BOTTOM: In gay male culture, a man who receives anal sex. In BDSM culture, the individual who assumes a submissive role. The opposite of "top."

BUG-CHASING: A relatively rare phenomena in the gay male community where individuals desire to participate in activity that may result in STD infection.

BUTCH: An older, dominant lesbian who often dresses in a more masculine fashion. At one time interpreted as having a "femme" or feminine lesbian partner.

CUB: A younger hairy gay man, or one who likes bears.

CUM DUMP: An internal ejaculation or a gay man who allows internal ejaculation. The heterosexual version is a "cream pie."

DADDY: A gay man who is mature and/or dominant (especially in a BDSM context). There are many variations on this term, including "daddy bear," "muscle daddy," "leather daddy," etc.

DRAG KING: The female counterpart to a drag queen. A female who dresses occasionally in men's clothing, for performance or pleasure.

FEMME: A lesbian who displays overtly feminine characteristics. Also known as a "lipstick lesbian."

FLAGGING or HANKY CODE: A practice in which an individual uses colored handkerchiefs to identify fetish-oriented or BDSM preferences. Used primarily by gay men, the visual cue is especially helpful in a loud nightclub. Worn on the left indicates dominance, on the right indicates submissiveness. Not used as commonly since the advent of the Internet.

  • Black — Heavy S/M
  • Gray — Bondage
  • White — Mutual Masturbation
  • Red — Fisting
  • Yellow — Watersports
  • Brown — Feces play

FLUIDITY: When used with "gender," fluidity describes the acceptance or acknowledgement of sexual identity roles outside of the traditional mind-set. Coupled with "sexuality," it indicates the perceived acceptance of sexual activity outside of a traditional mindset without necessarily negative repercussions. In other words, if a man identifying as "straight" was to explore a gay or bisexual experience, or a female identifying as "lesbian" might participate in sexual activity with a man.

FTM: Female-to-male transsexuality; also known as "trans guys" or "trans men."

GENDER: Defined by the "straight" community as having either male or female physical traits. For the queer community, "gender" is defined more as psychological traits expressed through sexual identity.

GENDERFUCK: A performance or presentation of sexual identity that confuses gender roles; i.e. having breasts and a beard at the same time.

GENDERQUEER: An all-encompassing term that includes forms of sexual identities that do not fit under the binary male/female format.

GENETIC GIRL or BOY: See "bio girl" or "bio boy."

HEAVY RUBBER: The use of latex gear as a fetish, as opposed to latex that is more for the purpose of fashion. Can include latex hoods, gas masks, latex mummification, medical play, etc. Associated with gay subculture, as well as some BDSM activity.

HETEROFLEXIBLE: A straight person with a queer mind-set.

KATOEY: A Thai word that translated means "lady boy," describing a male-to-transsexual or transvestite.

LEATHER CULTURE: A well-established gay subculture that often mixes sexuality with BDSM/fetish play and identifies itself by dressing in leather gear, including harnesses, caps, chaps, etc. The leather community is made up of mostly gay men, but also includes some women and transgender participants. Internationally known leather events include San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair and Chicago's International Mister Leather (IML) competition.

MTF: Male-to-female transsexuality.

MUSCLE WORSHIP: Having a fetish for bodybuilding or bodybuilder types.

OTTER: A bear with average-to-slim body size.

PACKING: The practice of stuffing a dildo or other filler into one's pants, giving a female the appearance of having a penis.

PANSEXUAL: An individual who is attracted to multiple gender types.

PIG: In gay male culture, a person who is sexually gluttonous. In BDSM culture, a person who is "piggy" is a submissive who can take a lot of pain and is proud of it.

QUEER: Formerly a derogatory term for gay men and lesbians, the gay youth culture has now adopted it to describe any group of people that sexually identifies outside the traditional male/female binary system. Can still be viewed as pejorative if used by someone from outside of the GLBT community.

STONE BUTCH: A lesbian who does not like to be touched sexually but derives pleasure from pleasing her partner.

TRANSSEXUALS: Those who identify their own gender as that of the opposite sex into which they were born and usually live as the opposite sex, to the extent that they will seek out hormone therapy and surgery in order to transform to what they feel is their authentic sexual identity.

TRANNYDYKE: A transgender person who is more attracted to a person with feminine gender characteristics.

TRANNYFAG: A transgender person who is attracted to a person with more masculine gender characteristics.

TRANSGENDER: Can mean a person who identifies as another gender, has been born with multiple gender characteristics, or has had transformation therapy and surgery.

TRANSVESTITE: Someone who lives as a person of the opposite sex to which the individual was born, but may not seek out surgery or hormone therapy. Different than a cross-dresser who generally only does "drag" for a specific event or purpose.

TRANNY: A somewhat derogatory term used to describe all of the above.

TOP: A gay man who is the active partner during anal sex, penetrating the "bottom." In BDSM culture, the person assuming the dominant role.

TWINK: A young gay man between the ages of 18 to 22 years old; generally boyish in appearance with little body hair and a very slim build, though there also are "muscle twinks."

TWINKIE: A young gay man that "bottoms" and allows internal ejaculation; in reference to the "cream" filling.

VERSATILE: A gay man who will both top and bottom.

WOLF: A slim bear.

WOOF: What bears say when they greet each other or see an individual they find attractive.


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