Oh, Behave!

8 More Queer Terms That Need to Go Right Now

In my last post, I took a stand against some terms that offend or bore me (or that I just don’t like): among them, “fag hag,” “twink,” and “breeder.” It was a list of vocabulary pet peeves. And each of us is entitled to his or her own list, so I asked you to share the queer phrases that make your eyes roll or  skin crawl.

There were plenty of great responses—here’s just a sampling of what you had to say, as well as what I have to say about what you had to say. (It is, after all, my column.)

> Troll: Queerty member QJ201 says, “If ‘twink’ is on the list, then ‘troll’ (lecherous older gay man) needs to go, too (of course, unless you apply it to yourself).”

As for me, I heartily agree. I’ll add that if you apply it to yourself, you might benefit from counseling.

> Mangina: We can thank QJ201 for this submission, too.  Let’s just move on quickly.

> Rice queen: Member UWSguy rightly points out that this term (and similar ones) needs to go—it’s a slur so dismissive and racist that it insults two people at once.

> Partner: “Meowzer” writes, “My pet peeve is having to refer to my partner as my partner—I can’t say ‘husband,’ ‘spouse,’ etc., because none seem appropriate. ‘Partner’ sounds like we’re in business together or running a law firm.”

This is a tough one: We just haven’t come up with a great alternative to “husband” and “wife” (though I don’t think we’ll need one much longer). But even after marriage equality becomes the law of the land, the available terms won’t suit everyone (each relationship is unique, after all).

Using myself as an example, I generally feel that calling someone I’m romantically involved with “my boyfriend” is inapt—it sounds too high school to me. I like “lover,” because it has a dramatic, artistic flair. Frida Kahlo had lovers, not “boyfriends” or “girlfriends.” The word isn’t for everyone, though, and even I find myself saying the word with self-conscious drama.

> Female pronouns for men: We heard from many commenters who dislike hearing men called “she” or “her” (unless the men being referred to are in full drag). I disagree with them on this point (as I explain in a previous post I wrote about pronouns)— but even though I think that playing with pronouns is a gay birthright, I understand the points being made about calling a man “she” potentially being self-hating or misogynistic (or both). So I’ll just say it’s a loaded issue and we should use variable pronouns with care.

> Gayborhood (as well as “gayby boom” and similar words that put “gay” in place of a rhyming word):  Member “Queer Supremacist” is right —this has gotten out of hand.

> Fag: This word and words like it inspire strong feelings. As it happens, I agree with member Nick Thiwerspoon, who writes, “How about us gays stop using the word ‘fag’? Queerty seems to do it a ton. How about for a gay pride resolution, you guys stop using the homophobes’ insult?”

My take: I don’t like the term “fag” and, having had it hurled violently at me throughout my youth, have no desire to “reclaim” it.  I do, however, understand why many gay men feel a right to use it—and believe that using it can take away its negative power. I think the jury is still out on this one, but we’re going to see wider acceptance as time goes on. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you have to use it.

> Queer: Many commenters felt this word should be categorized with “fag” — and I get the similarities. This word doesn’t bother me (in part because it wasn’t a slur of choice where I suffered through anti-gay slurs as a youngster). And I like it because it encompasses everyone—gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and others—without requiring a cacophonous jumble of letters.

My advice is to call people what they want to be called (if you can). Member “Jeffree” had the right idea: “In my experience, social relations go more smoothly when I’m respectful of others’ identities and they respect mine.”

Do you have strong feelings about “fag,” “queer,” or female pronouns for men? Share your comments!

Charles Purdy is the author of the book Urban Etiquette: Modern Manners for the Modern Metropolis and a longtime manners/advice columnist. In his Queerty column, he addresses issues related to social behavior. Find him on Twitter: @charlesqueerty

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  • Chad D

    I agree with all of these, except Gayborhood. I enjoy a group of gay bars in one centralized location.

  • Ian Awesome

    i use gayborhood and use the word queer very liberally, even going so far as to have it in the title of my blog. I think reclaimed words are great. I’m also a self identified “slut” in order to show sex positivity. But that’s just because I’m a slut.

  • Tim Trent

    Have you thought about ‘straight’ as a word?

    It came into being as the opposite of ‘bent’.

    Are you bent?

    I am not. I am homosexual. I will no longer oppress myself by allowing the use of the word ‘straight’ to refer to heterosexuals. They are not the opposite of what I am. I am not bent.

    I stand straight and proud as a homosexual man. I am not bent. The heterosexual man is not straight. We are men. That is all.

  • Damon

    Words like “queer” and “fag” seem to have integrated into gay culture the way racial slurs (particularly “nigger”) have integrated into black culture. To be honest I’m against this as it makes it taboo for people who aren’t gay to use these words but perfectly acceptable for homosexuals to use them. That’s not equality.

  • Mike in Asheville

    I like gayborhood, queer, and troll — the meanings work very well to communicate heavy gay presence in a geographic area, an attitude that queer relates more to individuality within being gay, and there is the internet meaning of troll that applies to so many.

    As for partner, sometimes it works. But I do not understand gay guys using “husband” or lesbians using “wife.” I have been with my hubby for 25+ years and since he moved in 23+ years ago, we shifted from the “partner” reference to husband when the Hawaiian court decision was handed down in 1996. Its easy: male partners in marriage relationships are “husbands” and female partners in marriage relationships are “wives.” We refer to eachother as our husbands; I have seem Wanda Sykes regularly refer to her wife as her “wife.”

    And for those who are not yet in a marriage or prefer not to be married, well, as with our unmarried heterosexual friends, there are all the usual suspects of: boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, companion, longtime companion, and butercups.

  • Damon

    @Tim Trent: That’s all well and good but if you don’t want to use “straight” what word do you suggest we use to refer to heterosexuals? heterosexual is just too clunky for common use.

  • Tim Trent

    @Damon: Happy to use ‘Hetero’, I just will no longer self ghettoise by assuming a role of being ‘bent’.

  • David

    As for what to call your partner, if you’ve decided to move forward from the boyfriend/girlfriend stage and make a commitment to each other, I see no reason not to use Husband and Wife. Couples will be two husbands or two wives instead of husband and wife. So what? Even if you can’t make it legal, they can’t stop you using the words. If I ever wind up committed to a man, he’s going to be my husband even if it IS “husband” (which living in KY it probably will be).


    No female pronouns for men?
    Ohh Charles Purdy …. get HER!

    I’m a big fan of shebonics. Get over yourselves.

  • Greg

    Lover sounds too over dramatic, partner/life partner sounds hippyish, spouse can’t be said, boyfriend/girlfriend sounds like it’s been going on for 3 months, not 3 years, and Significant other sounds fake. My personal word of choice is ‘Mate’. It’s gender and marriage neutral, sort of acknowledges a sexual side of the realtionship but with a longer commitment as well. It can also be used in poly relationships, so you can have more than one mate. The only problem is that it may cause confusion amongst Brits and Aussies, but those bastards can use husband and wife, too.

    My term that needs to go is ‘boi’ and ‘grrl’. It’s like a cheese grater on my eyes. Yes, it plays with gender vs. sex, but it just makes you sound like a child, a boy or a girl, not someone who’s comfortable with who they are.

  • JAW

    “My advice is to call people what they want to be called (if you can). Member “Jeffree” had the right idea: “In my experience, social relations go more smoothly when I’m respectful of others’ identities and they respect mine.”

    I hat the word queer… it always has had, and will have bad connotations. It is hard to break the use of it when there are Blogs that use it as their name. (Queerty)
    When leaders in the LGBT movement use it to refer to the entire group as queers… iy is hard to not be tagged as queer also.
    When entertainers get up on stage at pride events and yell to the crowd as “Hello queers”
    or “Hey faggots”… it is hard to be separated from the crowd.

    It is hard for social relations to go more smoothly, when others add me, and others that despise those words, to the group, they/you are not being respectful of anyone.

  • Conrad Honicker

    I don’t police people on what they say. If something offends me, I’m going check them, but assume best intentions. That’s my rule. But maybe I’m just a fierce queer who calls all his twinky gay boy friends, “Gurl!” and “Fag.” And I prefer partner because of the problematic history associated with ownership and marriage; wife

  • Sean

    I like partner, I’m bi and it’s pretty nice to be able to discuss partners (there it is) without saying “boyfriend or girlfriend”, boyfriend, girlfriends or “boyfriends and girlfriends”.

    I also like queer as in the uk it still has the double connotation of being a bit out of the ordinary, odd or weird. I think this is a good word for the LGBT community, because we are different, and some of us are weird or odd, and we should own that.

    Also referring to people as she and her, only as satire or wit. I hate being referred to as a woman, unless as a tasteful joke, as it makes light of the trans community, and confuses gay and bi for trans, which doesn’t help anyone.

  • Tim Trent

    @Sean: I grew up in a society which did not tolerate ‘queers’. I will not associate myself with the word because of that. It was used as a slur and an insult.

  • AFruit4Thought

    I frequently use the word “queer.” I think that queer has been successfully reclaimed by many younger LGBT rights activists as an all encompassing term. Using LGBT, LGBTQ, or LGBTQQIAS is both unwieldy and non-inclusive. We are part of a movement focused on identity and, as such, have to include pansexual, omnisexual, and the like. It’s better to use queer to encompass everyone.

    I disagree with clumping “queer” and “fag” together. My best analogy – the reclamation of the word “color” (people of color) versus the use of nigger. Queer is to color as the f word is to the n word.

  • JettStone

    With respect to Mr. Purdy – this isn’t an issue for a pseudo ‘manners guide’ to debate. Language is politics, it’s not about social faux pas or trending phrases.

    We all share a sexual identity, but how we express that is deeply personal, wrought by our own life experiences and not to be judged by even the nicest folks pushing a cheap gimmicky book.

  • Fitz

    I don’t use female pronouns as an insult. Loving cock doesn’t mean that I have to hate women.
    “Rice Queen” is an especially good term, for exactly the reasons you hate it. It calls out this ugly, weird, racist equation that seems to happen a lot around here (SF) where fat old men attach themselves to 20 y/o Asian guys. I have no respect for either of them. I mean– how could you let someone touch you knowing that the thing they like about you is your ethnicity? yuck

  • Fitz

    Oh, and here’s some words that I don’t like (or don’t like their misuse) :
    1) “Consultant”. You aren’t a consultant. You are an unemployed shmuck who occasionally gets a part time under-the-table gig.
    2) “Slave”. i can’t tell you how offensive this is to someone who has worked with disenfranchised people. You aren’t a slave. Your a white guy with a condo. You want to meet a slave? They are out there. And They don’t have the fancy gear from Mr. S. While you are playing at “I’m a slave” there are people forced into servitude, mutilated, etc. It’s not kinky fun, it’s hell. Find another term for play time that doesn’t trivialize human suffering.
    3) “Hung”. Everyone thinks that they are “hung”.
    4) “HWP”. can’t we just say “healthy”?
    5)”WOOF”. Don’t woof at me. There is only one creature who can woof at me, and when he does, I know that the mail is here

  • John W

    I guess I am of a minority within a minority here…

    Out of the list above, my only real issue is when gay men use female pronouns to refer to other gay men. Now, I am fortunate enough to have lived an almost bigoted-free life so my exposure to the negative terminology has been minimal, which is probably why I rarely find them to be offensive. Even so, I have always felt that refering to gay men as women takes the community back a step. I understand that some men identify themselves as women, and under those circumstances I can understand the pronoun change. What I dont understand, however, is changing the pronouns just because…

    Here is my logic: I am a man and I am gay, which means I am sexually attracted to other men. I am sexually attracted to men specifically because of their manly qualitiies; I am not sexually attracted to women because they usually lack the manly qualities that I find to be attractive.

    Under this logic, I am confused as to why any gay man – who identifies as a gay man – would want to be labeled as a woman. Doesnt that seem a little counter productive to being a gay man? For me at least, using reverse pronouns breaks the gay fourth wall and reminds me of why I dont find women attractive (no offense ladies). Talk about libido killer.

    I encourage all those who disagree with me to explain why I’m wrong.

  • Navi

    I really hate the word fag, it’s horrible, why should we be calling ourselves something we don’t like hearing from anyone else? And I definitely dislike female pronouns for men.

  • randy

    @John W: You go girl !!

  • MB1987

    Okay, I think all of this has gotten really too far out of hand. A better, guiding principal when using all of these words which are (for better or worse, a part of our culture) is to take some time to think about your vocabulary. Understand the history of our culture, the full context of what these words really mean, and if you are contributing towards oppression or not.

    That’s it, plain and simple. A lot of this reads to me as yet another attempt to shave off gay culture in order to mainstream with hetero society.

    Granted, there are terms listed here which are incredibly offensive, take Troll for example. Too many younger gay men use this in a ageist way. Although there are times when its entirely appropriate to use this word, as when I took a female friend of mine to Badlands this weekend and an older (straight!) man attempted to molest her on the dance floor.

    As for the female pronouns in reference to men, give it a rest all you macho Marys. There are several contexts in which pronouns can be used: either to denigrate women (which we should be above), as a liberating action, a term of endearment, or as an act to oppress gay men. I know it means cracking open a book or picking up that god-awful heavy kindle and flipping a digital page (ugh, carpal tunnel!) but maybe it might do you some good to understand all of the cultures within your community and WHY the second and third contexts might be an important thing for some of us. Just because you don’t identify with gay men who use words that way, doesn’t mean you should say none of us should be talkin
    g like this.

    Now, I have a HUGE problem with the word “straight-acting.” To me, this is nothing more than an example of internalized homophobia, and very similar to phrases like “white-washed” or “Oreo” (which in the African-American community means black on the outside, white on the inside). When used, it is often accompanied with a cultural attack on more feminine gay men and used to set up segregating barriers between us. However, that being said, I understand that it can also be used as a defensive mechanism against heterosexism, or as an honest expression of one’s identity. So I’m not ready to tell Queerty to throw the word away as if I’m the Grand Poohbah of Gay Etiquette.

    All you need to do is understand the words you use. Understand their history. Why some of us might abhor them, why some of us will resent you for trying to take away part of who we are if you say we can’t use them. And for god’s sake, if you get your nuts REALLY in a twist about all of this hooplah, go to the last Morning Goods and beat off of some steam. Cause honey, it really ain’t worth the trouble.

    Queerty, if you were really serious about this, any plans on changing your name? I suggest “Vaugelygayishty” “LGBTTY” or “The Shop Across the Street From Pam’s House Blend.”

    (excuse any weird typos, I am dealing with a badly cracked laptop screen)

  • MB1987

    @Tim Trent:

    Then what are you doing on Queerty?

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    Significant other could replace partner. I usually hear it used within marriage but actually it means anyone you have a long-term sexual relationship with.

  • Codswallop

    I keep hoping new terms will evolve to describe “partners” in gay relationships. Maybe it’s some vestige of self-loathing (I don’t think it is) but “husband” and “wife” in that context seems off to me.

  • Meowzer

    Thanks using my “peeve” and thanks to everyone who had examples/solutions.
    I always hated lover (although that’s the term we used when we started our relationship), but after 25 years lover sounds like we’re in it only for the sex.
    Boyfriend seems so childish, like we’re in high school. I like Significant Other, but it seems sooooo long to say. Husband seems weird unless you live in a state that acknowledges gay marriage. Now, come November we ARE going to get married, but we don’t live in a state that recognizes it, so that may be iffy too. I thought of companion, but it makes it seem like he’s my pet seeing eye dog. My Mother insists on calling him my companion and it seems even stranger coming from someone elses mouth.
    Maybe someday the gay community will “create” a new term.
    Thanx all!

  • WillBFair

    The only one I don’t like is the f word. It’s too vile to be reclaimed and should be thrown in the dustbin of history.
    The others are either camp or perfectly useable.
    Girl and she, in particular, are part of a gay tradition of gender bending, the attempt to get people to take gender less seriously, and in my opinion, a healthy response to homophobia.
    Partner is perfectly fine until we find something better.
    The attempt to remove these words seems like PC run amuck. They are colorful and camp and funny, and part of our great skill at making the world more fun.

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Meowzer: S.O. is short for significant other. That’s ess oh when you say it out loud.

  • carlos

    this website is so fucking white

  • MikeE

    @carlos: ah, but without all that black there’d be nothing to read :)

  • Erik Walton

    I think the word “husbear” should go to… every time I hear it I throw up in my mouth a little…

  • John W


    Abundant history or void of history completely, some words make people uncomfortable. For example, the “N” word is commonly used cultural word, but still makes many people (black, white, asian, what-have-you) uncomfortable when heard.

    I am not of the opinion that any of the above terms should be stricken from the gay lexicon, it is your right as a citizen to refer to gays in any fashion you so choose. Just be aware that those terms may not be as acceptable in newer generations or now make younger gays feel uncomfortable. My response above was in no way intended to be an attack on the older generations who use dated phraseology. It was merely a confession of what I find to be an uncomfortable use of a gay term.

    Maybe all of the “macho Mary’s” in the world are just being too damn sensitive….OR maybe we’re rapidly approaching a new era -one where the lines between gays and straights are slowly receding- and the only thing holding us back is our unwillingness to let go of the past.

    Just as the younger generations should respect the culture and history of their community, so too should the older generations be aware that the world has become a different place.

  • Jack

    Something tells me that the people who submitted these words all live in a gayborhood. Fags are so sensitive there.

  • Ganondorf

    If one says that certain derogatory words are permissible in certain contexts, one is providing no language rule for their use; ergo, it is meaningless. What one usually means is that in certain contexts, it isn’t objectionable to them. The standard is then whether or not the word is objectionable to them, and is subjective. Subjectivity is not a viable candidate for a language rule (language rules may be intersubjective, but not subjective). There’s no such thing as a private language; that is to mistake the function and meaning of language for something else. Unfortunately, that’s what this contribution comes down to (cognitively void noise, no offense intended). Just think if we had to ask the person who makes such a claim in each instance of the word’s use, whether or not it’s offensive. Worse, when disagreement appears, the rule’s application is doomed to rectify it, and the standard is meaningless. What, then of reclaiming, or members of a minority group using the derogatory epithets amongst themselves? These, too, are basically meaningless, but figure out why. What do derogatory words like ‘n’ and ‘k’ really mean?

  • Cc

    The thing with “queer” is, that’s how I identify myself. I hate the word ‘bisexual’ for reasons I don’t feel like going into, and I’m more towards girls in general anyway. Plus when I say pansexual I tend to get looks. I use queer the same way I use ‘short’ or ‘a girl’- it’s just an adjective to me.

  • Gorbeh

    Where I grew up “queer” and “fag” were used interchangeably so even though “queer” isn’t negative to many I am no advocate for it. It is also rather ironic I’m posting this on a blog titled “Queerty”.

    Also I don’t know why there is a debate over “partner”? What’s wrong with “spouse”? Husbands and wives both fit in the spouse category and it’s much more personal than “partner”.

  • brandon rolph

    @Tim Trent: Thank you for this. I will be more mindful of how I use the word “straight” now.

  • Mark Snyder

    Queer is an integral part of our vernacular. It has been reclaimed. If you’re too gay to understand why queer is awesome then don’t use it – you’re gay not queer. I identify as sexually, politically, and gender-queer for many many reasons. I also love using queer as a verb, as in to queer something.

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Gorbeh: I also like the word spouse, but the idea was to find a word for people living together in pre-marriage equality states.

  • Tim Trent

    @MB1987: tolerating the name and, just possibly, making a small difference somewhere. Or should I be silent when I see something I dislike?

  • beerwad

    What makes my skin crawl is people telling me what words I should and shouldn’t say. And this trend of people being overly fucking sensitive about every goddamn thing. Toughen up, queers.

  • John

    How about referring to pecs as “tits” or an ass as “boy pussy”. Such a turn-off…

    I do like the “gay” rhymes, though! Gayborhood… gaybies… or even things like “guncle”. Those are fun.

  • Tim

    Damn, what will we have left!? I like to identify as “queer” because it fits more of a culture and feels more transgressive. If we get rid of all this stuff we might as well be straight. If you get offended by these things, especially when gay people use them, you are probably struggling with your own internal homophobia. God forbid some one refers to you with the female pronoun! Some one might think you are gay!!

  • Max

    @Tim: I don’t mind that gay men refer to other men as girls or whatever, but some men DON’T enjoy being referred to as something they’re not. It probably doesn’t have anything to do with others thinking they’re gay. I’m pretty sure most of here have no problem saying we are…

  • Joshua H

    I *STRONGLY* disagree with those who want to get rid of “queer.” Being bisexual (a 4 on the Klein scale), a lot of people read the notion that I need to have “two partners.” It’s absolutely moronic and drives me batshit crazy…and I don’t think it’ll go away because the word “bi” implies TWO partners to a lot of people. Now, throw in the fact that a lot of people see me as androgynous (but I’m not transgender). Without “queer,” I feel like some isolated mutant combination of categories.

    While I was on a church sexuality committee, someone very strongly objected to the name being changed to include “queer” when we were making a decision about adding “transgender” to the name. We dropped any labels and came to refer to it as “Gender and Sexual Diversity.” Some of the folks didn’t understand that “queer” is very popular in academic circles.

    I could clearly understand their pain about “queer” being used as a slur, but in those cases, it’s a noun (e.g. “shut up, you stupid queer!”). On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it used as a noun among those who identify by it or use it for academic purposes. What I would argue is that identity categories that make a “noun” out of the person’s characteristic (e.g. fags, dykes, trannies, and even gays, lesbians, and bisexuals) should be abolished. The fact that a person has a particular characteristic should not solely define/describe them. I think *THAT* description outlines which “terms that should be abolished” better than anything else!

    Otherwise, there’ll constantly be fights over “terms that should be abolished” due to new and different adjectival terms that spring up. Let’s just set an idea that we should stop making nouns out of people’s characteristics (e.g. “blacks” or even “African-Americans”) and allow them to use whatever terms with which they identify themselves as adjectives. This even works with the rising tide of concerns about disabilities which I share due to my own disabilities (e.g. “the handicapped,” “the disabled,” “cripples,” “retards”). Describe people as people who happen to have these characteristics and DON’T categorize them as if everyone with those characteristics are alike!

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Joshua H: I think you’ve brought up an important point about bisexuality. Bisexuality is a problematic term. People don’t understand bisexuality because they realize unconsciously that we are all attracted to individuals, not categories. Being attracted to two OPPOSITE, mutually exclusive categories confuses a lot of people. But being attracted to the particular qualities of an individual in either category is a different matter, that’s something that can be understood.

  • 2+2chan

    I haven’t heard ‘troll’ since the 90’s. Thanks to teh internets when I hear troll I think of internet troll.

  • Robbie K

    I call the hubby Mookie and he calls me Pookie and we live in the gaybourhood :-)

  • Joshua H

    One additional point about the noun/adjective concept in identity labels lies with the term “homosexual.” If you notice, most anti-gay groups rally against “homosexuals” and not “homosexual people” or “homosexual men” or “homosexual women.” The key point is a failure to acknowledge the other person’s humanity and to (in Martin Buber’s concept) make an “It” out of them instead of a “Thou.” So again, instead of rallying against adjectives, let’s rally against nouns that forget that the other person is a PERSON!

  • Sebizzar

    @Tim Trent: Yeah i’ve thought about this a lot too, i never understood why people started to refer to heterosexuals as “straight”, it’s like, does that mean they’re a perfect line? The problem is what would we refer to them instead & how would we change it =/

  • mattydean

    Aww, but I like mangina.

  • Interesting

    words I hate

    “down low” because its just another word for closet case so what’s the fucking point?

    “straight acting” because if you are in bed with me the last thing I want you to do is acting straight. Leg’s up!

    “twink” because we really don’t need another word for skinny and young

    “polymorphous” because it sounds like you are trying too fuckin hard, when all I want to know is- is it hard?

    “pride” because I don’t think of being gay as something I need to be proud of. Its what I am. If anyone has a problem with my being gay, they can kiss my ass. I’ll let them kiss it twice i they are really good at it.

    “it gets better” because it really doesn’t. Life is shit, and so are most of the people in it.

    words I like

    “geek” because I am one and they are the best lovers on da fucking planet. hit me up. I. Will. Rock. Yo. World. Kiss.

    “homosexual” because I am reclaiming it back from the haters. You are on notice MB and your grifter, queen for life husbear.

    “marriage equality” because for once we found a phrase that shows liberals can be smart about politics (well except when we are not. In which case we are all just retards).

    “gay liberation” because it encompasses so much more than “marriage equality.”

    shitznerdoodlers because I like making up my own words when I can’t find anything else to like.

  • JAW

    @AFruit4Thought: your #13 post stated… “I disagree with clumping “queer” and “fag” together. My best analogy – the reclamation of the word “color” (people of color) versus the use of nigger. Queer is to color as the f word is to the n word.”

    Queer is not the same as color… back in the day Blacks were known as colored. LGB people were queers. Today the term People of COLOR is used for Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, basically any one that is non white. Back in the day Blacks wer the only People of color… so the term colored was used as an insult… just like the word Queer was and still is used as an insult.

    It needs to go… or at least not be associated with gays and lesbians.

  • JAW

    @John W: #19… I agree with you 100%… I am a man, and I am into manly Men also. I also agree that that some men are into men that are a bit more feminine. I am glad that they are out there for each other.

    As a bit of a history lesson… Using Female nouns to talk about gay men goes back to the days when about 90% of LGB’s were in the closet. Fear had men talking about friends calling them her or she etc so homophobics would not catch on. There were few places to meet so Gay Men, Lesbian Women and Transvestites would hang together so transvestites would sometimes be called by female names and nouns.

    I would love to hear stories from the older generation, of what life was like before the freedoms that we all have today. Perhaps the bars could have history lessons and discussions, instead of some stupid game on tuesday nights.

  • Stuart

    Yes. Please rid the world of the term “rice queen” – As an asian man, I’ve always hated that term – completely demeaning and tired. I shudder every time I hear it – Asian or not.

    While were at it, let’s also eliminate member fitz (comment #17) for that pathetic comment and false statement concerning “rice queens.” Fitz showed his complete ignorance by generalizing about an entire community from a some personal experience and uses it to represent the reality. Hey fitz, it’s not. On so many levels it’s not even close.

    I’ve lived in San Francisco for 7 years, spend my time with a good amount of gay Asian men and your warped perspective is not even close to being the reality. Take your high-horse, prejudice, and smattering of envy to another community (preferably one that you know something about).

    “Breeder” is such a stupid and lame wannabe slur – I hate when my straight friends refer themselves as breeders in the way that they assume I use/like the term. It’s such a unproductive word in all senses (aggressive slur for straight people, whom just laugh it off/are confused by it).

  • Interesting

    So, what are you supposed to call white guys who have racial fetishes for POC? I don’t just mean attraction. I mean fetish as in the ones that I used to meet who wanted to me to act “ghetto” or said that I wasn’t “black enough” for them because of their fantasies of being with a ‘real black guy.” Black being a lot of stereotypes about how they expected black guys to act. Are you saying there aren’t gay white men who feel the same about Asian men? I have a friend who is in a relationship with a really nice white guy. None of those issues exist, but before that he dating this dude who had this fetish for Asian men. I admit all racial fetishes creep me out. I am equal opportunity when it comes to dating- I’ve dated Asian, Black, Latino, White etc. When its just attraction its cool, but when if turns into a fetish- its weird because they seem to be looking for a stereotype.

  • Red Meat

    I like being called a homosexual in an objective way. Don’t judge me.

  • declanto

    I still have a Pavlovian response to “queer”,(smash-kick-stomp).I have had serious problems reclaiming the word. But I have resolved myself to its use and my identity with it. I have friends who disown other friends for using “gay” in an inappropriate manner as in “that’s so gay”. Words evolve. Meanings change. It’s pointless to attempt to direct the vocabulary of such a diverse, creative, vivacious community. Language is a living breathing evolving part of our culture. I’m all for diverse. I believe in the power of the creative insult. I love reading Queer commentary. If you strip away some of the words, you’ll only come back for more later. So up yours, miss manners. Take your guidelines and rulebooks to a less diverse audience who are enfeebled and can’t speak for themselves.

  • the undeniable

    like mother used to say, “sticks an’ stones will break your bones, but names and words can never hurt you… unless you let them.”

    why our community is allowing the word “faggot” to have the same- if not more- power than the word “nigger” is beyond me. we have even gone as far as to put price tags on this word. kobe bryant was fined $100,000! really? the glbt community as a whole needs to learn to pick our battles. if we continue to allow this word to be like “nigger”, then we- like the blacks- will have this stone tied around our necks for the next 100+ years until we start using it in our music and our movies and then we can be viewed in the same light as black “nigga” toting celebrities. i for one do not want that and would hope the rest of community feels the same. 100+ years of bigotry via a word?! aw, hell no!

    its a word… get over it. if someone calls me a faggot, my response is always the same… “and your point is what?” it always stifles the persecutor’s logic and words. c’mon my glbt brothers and sisters… get it together and quit being whiney about a word. you want something to fight? fight against the religious right and their bigotry… and their bigotry is way stronger than any word.

  • tenshinigami


    My friends and I use “troll” far more broadly than to describe a creepy old gay man. We simply use it to describe anyone at all that we find especially creepy, and yes, unattractive. What can I say, we can be a little shallow sometimes.

    I don’t understand the issue with “queer.” I get “fag,” but not “queer.” Granted, I enjoy the word in the Old World context of “something strange.” If I want to be quirky I’ll actually use the word in place of “strange.” “My, that was a bit queer, huh?” Perhaps that’s why people don’t like it. We as gay people aren’t strange. Oh bother.

    Ew…. rice queen? Somehow I’ve never heard this term, and my goodness do I not like it. M friends and I say “Gaysian.” That’s perhaps no better. Still, it serves the purpose pretty well. Even worse I’m sure, we refer to super muscular Asian men as “Power Asians.” Good Lord my friends and I are terrible people……..

    In terms of “partner,” I don’t much mind the word, but I hardly ever use it. Plenty of my friends regularly do. I typically refer to my BF as my BF, as we aren’t engaged, or married. Do straight couples go through this much drama over titles? My best friends dated for 9 years before getting married. Even in year 9, they were BF/GF. In fact, thinking about it more, all my straight friends in LTR just say BF/GF until they are engaged or married. I especially get confused when straight people use the term partner. That’s a little weird huh? I just don’t expect it. Sometimes I enjoy being especially obtuse, and will say “my better half.” It’s fun, and confusing!

  • c61

    While I can acknowledge that sometimes terms like “queer” and “fag” are used in ways similiar to the use of the n bomb in some black communities, I don’t think either lgbt term is exclusively derogatory in the way that the racial slur is. I, for example, would personally identify myself as queer and frequently refer to the “queer community,” “queer studies,” or “queer” as a descriptor of presentation (queering gender, fashion, etc) in a not negative or ironic way. It’s not reclaiming, it’s just the most accurate word for what I am describing when I use it.
    It is an issue when particular communities have termonology that all others are not welcome to use, or perpetuate jokes that would be racist, homophobic, etc, if individuals outside of the group used them. I can’t say I am innocent on this (I have certainly mocked my own attire as ‘super gay’ or the fact that I once drove a subaru as ‘the obvious choice’), but I can agree that promoting stereotypes and keeping slurs around can be a bad thing. There’s a fine line between ‘reclaiming’ and just repeating because we can (it’s pretty atypical for lgbt people to be called homophobes or black people to be called racists…), but I think at least “queer” has a legitimate and perhaps necessary place in our lexicon.

  • Clark

    In the inimitable words of Tina Fey regarding the term ‘lovers’: “That word bums me out unless it’s between the words ‘meat’ and ‘pizza.'” It sounds very unattached and temporary. Which, if that’s the case, go for it. But I would never use it to describe someone with whom I am in a committed relationship.

  • Alan

    I’m bisexual, and I despise the term “queer.” Putting aside that it is a slur (more so in Great Britain then here, but a slur nonetheless), its use homogenizes the GLBT movement into a vanilla movement that obliterates the diversity of the movement. Yes, the acronyms get cumbersome, but I think ‘queer’ is not a solution. For one, it means gay white men will end up dominating the public perception of the word ‘queer,’ with people of color, bisexuals, lesbians, and the transgendered seen as at best auxiliaries or junior partners. Their own specific interests will not receive much attention unless they coincide with the dominant group. We can work together on these issues, but it does mean out identities are assimilated into a term used by obscure academics. I am bisexual (and an academic), and I am fine being labeled a bisexual, since that is what I am and what I call myself.

  • JAW

    What the Heck are u trying to say or suggest??

    White gay men are running from the term queer… we sure as hell are not embracing it..

    all of the funky artsy folk are the ones that use it… not the white educated males and females… who work in the Public sector an I would bet most educated people of Color also.

  • Joshua H

    @JAW: Huh? Have you not heard of “Queer Theory” or “Queer Studies” departments in colleges???

  • Abirdwillingtobeitself

    @Alan: That’s not my impression. I do get the sense that white people use queer for themselves, but I thought it was used most often to refer to each of the letters of LGBT. In any case, right now it doesn’t have a clear definition. I sometimes even see it used for allies, which I think creates a lot of confusion.

  • Queer Supremacist

    I thought of a few more words and phrases that have worn out their welcome:

    Gay Icon: It seems to be applied at one time or another to every female singer or actress in history who doesn’t hate gay people.

    Sex negative: Kill this one with fire. It’s nothing but an insult for anyone who believes in sexual moderation or restraint, which is not the same as disliking sex. It’s also used to describe monogamy. And most of the people who use it are love-negative.

    Boi: As someone who has been accused of being a Nazi (usually by people trying to distract from their own Nazi-esque tendencies), I respond to them, “only when it comes to spelling and grammar.” I hate this with a passion.

    Slave: Enough said.

    Straight: I said it before and I’ll say it again: Calling heterosexuals “Straight” implies that they are normal and we are not.

    Queen: Off with its head. First of all, Americans broke away from a monarchy for good reason. Second of all, referring to men by female pronouns is patronizing and sexist.

    To be honest, I have mixed feelings about “queer”. It’s a slur, and it will always be a slur (“Fag[got]” is worse, though), and I only use it for my handle because it sounds more forceful than “gay” does. That said, I can’t stand Queer Theory. Every time I hear that I instantly tune out.

    We also need to lose “It gets better.” Caca de caballo. It doesn’t get better unless you choose to make it better.

  • Alan

    I was giving my opinion on why queer is not a good term, JAW (it seemed pretty apparent, so maybe re-read?). And in my experience, it has been white gay men, especially activists and academics, who push the term (as Joshua is pointing out). I haven’t seen them “running” from it. I guess we run in different circles.

    @ Abird: My point is that the term doesn’t refer to each of the letters. But that’s a matter of my opinion on it, and I’m not going to abuse you for your opinion (unlike some of the rude people who seem to dwell on Queerty boards, of course)

  • Chris

    @Damon: (Hete)Ro’s. Mo’s and Ro’s. I can’t even tell if I’m kidding right now.

  • JAW

    I have been running from the term as have most of my friends. I see many Lesbians and Trans people… as well as members of fringe groups. I do not mean disrespect when I say fringe groups, but not sure how to describe them… perhaps goth,etc.

    I saw that you were not likeing the term either… but it seems like you and I hate it for different reasons… LOL…

  • greenmusic23f

    This comment was mine — Queerty logged me out :( (ridiculously picky about claiming “ideas”)

    No. 70 · Chris

    @Damon: (Hete)Ro’s. Mo’s and Ro’s. I can’t even tell if I’m kidding right now.

  • Fitz

    Stuart… I hit a nerve. Wonderful. Look around– look at all the skinny young Asian boys in the Polk walking 3 feet behind their big white daddy.

  • Joshua H

    I see little more than moronic concepts of supremacy in much of the points raised about language. You effectively sound like you’re making schoolyard criticism of the clothing of the “dork” in class.

  • Michael H.

    I love being called queer,that way everyone knows

Comments are closed.