Pansy: The Video

We previously informed you that North Carolina Governor Mike Easley used the word “pansy” in his Hillary Clinton endorsement. Said Easley, “[Mrs. Clinton] makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.” Well, you can check the video out after the jump.

Before you dive on in, one reader sent us a note on this poor word choice, which we’d like to share:

You might point out top readers that one would use that term, say, when chasing a gay guy with intent to harm. Or, say, not hiring him. Or maybe not letting him rent an apartment in one’s building.

I expect more from her. She’s no dummy. She knows exactly what that word means.

Considering the Senator’s silence, we get the impression that she simply doesn’t care. And this is a gay ally?

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  • Matt

    I read this entry on The sentiment about this comment is overwhelmingly that it’s not offensive. I personally think we are exhibiting some hypersensitivity to this. I always found that this word meant cowardly or weakling, not homosexual.

  • walt zipprian

    The Clintons have NEVER been allies of teh gays.

    DADT? DOMA? Anyone?

  • Tom

    I don’t think we can hold his words against her, especially since it is not a blatant anti-gay remark. I think the word is more associated with wimp than gay. But I come from a different background, so I may be missing it.

  • Steve

    pansy when refering to a straight male boxer means weak and timid

    pansy when refering to elton john means effeminate gay man

    Its about context people and we are not so important that we need to inject our cause into every sentence that comes out of everyone’s mouth.

  • jt

    Seriously – Get over it, you pansy.

  • mike

    i agree it is not offensive and means delicate especially to a boxer gay or straight . to much drama / insight being take what other word would have been considered appropriate in the contex?

    if the internal democrat fights dont stop it is going to be ineviatble that the repulicans will pull ahead

    someone should be watching this closer

    hilary will be better just because she is familuar & will feel all ready at home in the w house & bringing mr bill will help them jump right in to patch up all the international affairs quicker ( hopefully )

    i work in a hotel in florida & sad how many foreigners feel the upperhand because of the weak doller . both have a pro & con
    not sure how to view ?

  • Jeremy

    I’m gay and I’ve never heard this in the pejorative sense about specifically someone who is homosexual. I thought it was a synonym for weakling exclusively.

  • hisurfer

    It sounds like such an archaic term that it’s hard to get worked up over it. And, it’s definitely an effective image (HRC is tougher than Rocky Balboa).

  • Bitch Republic

    Obama’s followers are really stretching this one. :P

  • hell's kitchen guy

    So what was she supposed to do? Interrupt the most important endorsement she’s gotten in two months with, “That word was inappropriate, governor”? I mean, come on! This is the real world.

  • John Aravosis

    Not sure where the rest of you grew up and live, but pansy has always been an anti-gay slur. As for those who say it “only” means an effeminate and weak guy… uh, duh? Ring a bell? The word has no other meaning than gay, other than some kind of plant.

  • Leland Frances

    And “we get the impression” you’re playing your readers for stupid again. “Queerty. Free of an agenda. Except that Obama one.”

    No allies of the gays, Zipprian? Name ONE thing Obama has ever done for us besides drop the G-word in speeches. When the Advocate asked him recently to name the most influential gay person in his life, he wasn’t certain he was even remembering the guy’s name correctly he’d known years ago. And, if people keep building statues to Obama because he didn’t vote to authorize the was even though as an Illinois State Senator he could cast no vote either way, then it’s fair to ask these questions:

    Why didn’t Obama issue an Executive Order protecting gay executive branch employees against job discrimination for the first time? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama approve “a total revamping of the security clearance process that ended the ‘special procedures’ under which gay people were frequently delayed or denied on security clearances, a real problem for people in technology occupations working for government contractors”? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama appoint James Hormel the first openly gay ambassador? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama appoint Bob Farmer the first out gay U.S. consul general? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama appoint the first openly gay federal judge, Deborah Batts? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama invite the first openly gay people to occupy federal positions requiring Senate confirmation such as Assistant Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Roberta Achtenberg whom Jesse Helms publicly denounced as “that damn lesbian”? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama open the White House to the first out gays in senior staff positions? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama enable the first “major advance on asylum policy by adopting as official precedent a decision that gays are a ‘distinct social group’ for purposes of analyzing eligibility for political asylum in the US for people from oppressive countries”? President Clinton did.

    Why didn’t Obama make appointments to the US Supreme Court that enabled our first major Supreme Court victory, Romer v. Evans, overturning Colorado’s antigay law; “Lawrence v. Texas” negated all sodomy laws; and nearly overturn the Boy Scouts’ ban on gays? President Clinton did.

    Why wasn’t Obama the first President to meet with gay activists in the White House? President Clinton was.

    Why wasn’t Michelle Obama the first First Lady to demonstrate her support for gay rights for all the world to see by marching in New York’s Gay Pride Parade? Hillary Clinton was.

    WAIT! I remember the one thing Obama has done for us: he paid for the bus and put Donnie “gays are trying to kill our children” McClurkin at the wheel to run over us on his way to seducing homohating voters in South Carolina just seven months ago.

  • Ryan

    It means a “weakling” which was often associated with effeminate homosexuals, hence why many were labeled as such. Had he said, Fag, I am certain Hillary would have said “Not cool”

  • Chet

    overreacting much? Obamabots get over urselves. Now if he said: “[Mrs. Clinton] makes Rocky Balboa look like a girly-man.” maybe then I would be offended.

  • An Other Greek

    ha ha ha,

    let’s all laugh at the pansies…

    ha ha ha


  • Kevin

    I am in the majority of the posters so far. I have always equated ‘pansy’ with a wimp or weakling. Not ‘effeminate.’ I am not saying that the word has not been associated with homosexuals in some circles, just not in my experience.

    I also would like to agree that our community as a whole (meaning overall majority NOT individually) DOES indeed seem to be hypersensitive. As does every minority group out there. Not every derogative word or phrase out there is a overt or masked attempt at gay bashing, racism, sexism, or religious persecution. Has our paranoid society grown so PC sensitive that we see conspiracy and hatred in every non-edifying comment made? Jeez!

    Not that I would ever condone offensive, hateful comments about anyone or any group, but sometimes I think bitching and complaining about something as innocuous as the word “pansy” only fuels the fires of ignorance rather than helping in putting those same flames out.

    And for you out there that are who still looking for something to “homophobe out” on, I used the ‘flames’ word as a metaphoric expression to describe a sensitive situation. It has no gay intention, pun, derivative, slight, smear, slam, or guile intended. It is just a word with many meanings and uses. Remember gay also means happy not just homosexual.

  • Nitesurf

    Since when has “pansy” not been some sort of coded gay slur? If anyone connected to Obama had said this, people here would be up in arms and you know it.

  • Rock

    The word “pansy” is offensive to me.

    Someone needs to apologize.

    Hillary sucks too!

  • blayne

    I wasn’t offended when I first read about it. I didn’t really think it was a guy slur. I guess I can see how it might have originated as one but evolved to something more general. That doesn’t make it right, but I don’t blame Clinton for not catching his mistake.

  • Bill Enuff

    Somebody is really looking for a stretch.

    If anyone was offended, then they are a pansy.

    This is a “hey look over here and pay no attendtion to Rev Wright”

  • abelincoln

    Whenever anyone called me a pansy they meant faggot. That’s been my experience your mileage may vary.

    Online Etymology Dictionary
    c.1450, from M.Fr. pensée “a pansy,” lit. “thought, remembrance,” from fem. pp. of penser “to think,” from L. pensare “consider,” freq. of pendere “to weigh” (see pensive). So called because it was regarded as a symbol of thought or remembrance. Meaning “effeminate homosexual man” is first recorded 1929.
    WordNet – Cite This Source – Share This
    1. large-flowered garden plant derived chiefly from the wild pansy of Europe and having velvety petals of various colors
    2. a timid man or boy considered childish or unassertive [syn: sissy]
    3. offensive term for an openly homosexual man
    ==== Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source – Share This
    Audio Help /ˈpænzi/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[pan-zee] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun, plural -sies.
    1. a violet, Viola tricolor hortensis, cultivated in many varieties, having richly and variously colored flowers.
    2. the flower of this plant.

    3. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
    a. a male homosexual.
    b. a weak, effeminate, and often cowardly man.
    [Origin: 1490–1500; 1930–35 for def. 3; < MF pensée pansy, lit., thought, n. use of fem. of ptp. of penser to think < L pénsāre to weigh, consider. See pensive] Unabridged (v 1.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
    American Heritage Dictionary – Cite This Source – Share This
    Audio Help (pān’zÄ“) Pronunciation Key
    n. pl. pan·sies

    1. Any of various plants of the genera Achimenes or Viola, especially V. tricolor or its hybrids, having flowers with velvety petals of various colors.
    2. A deep to strong violet.
    3. Offensive Slang
    1. Used as a disparaging term for a man or boy who is considered effeminate.
    2. Used as a disparaging term for a homosexual man.

    [Middle English pancy, from Old French pensee, thought, remembrance, pansy, from feminine past participle of penser, to think; see pensive.]

    pansy2 [ˈpӕnzi]
    (slang) a male homosexual
    Arabic: شَخْص مُخنَّث او لُواطي
    Chinese (Simplified): 男同性恋
    Chinese (Traditional): 男同性戀
    Czech: teplouš
    Danish: bøsse
    Estonian: homo
    Greek: ομοφυλόφιλος άντρας (λαϊκ.)
    Hungarian: hímringyó
    Indonesian: laki-laki homoseks
    Italian: omosessuale

    Latvian: homoseksuāls vīrietis
    Lithuanian: pederastas
    Norwegian: homse
    Polish: pedzio
    Russian: гомик, педик
    Slovak: teploš
    Slovenian: peder
    Spanish: mariquita
    Swedish: fikus
    Turkish: ibne, eÅŸcinsel oÄŸlan
    Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version), © 2000-2006 K Dictionaries Ltd.

  • abelincoln

    PS – I’d still vote for Clinton but I’d not vote for that governor when his time came.

    I don’t think she should publicly denounce him but I do think she should take him aside and tell him to apologize in public and then he should apologize for saying it and apologize for saying it in connection with her.
    Then she could address it in public. That way the gov faces the music on his own and Hill can come out smelling like a pansy.

  • Dom

    Fuck you, Hillary, and your DOMA and DADT-lovin’ ways. Obama may have had an ex-gay preacher on the stage, but he didn’t help enshrine anti-gay sentiments into law as the Clintons did. If you think Bill and Hill care about ANYBODY but themselves and their political careers, just stay away from the voting booths because you are too damned stupid to even comprehend the ballots before you. And how come no one make a big deal out of her sticking with that sleazy husband of hers – you know, that moron who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants and helped lose the 200 election for the Dems and helped lose the House and Senate Dem majorities while he was in the White House? If I were a married woman and I ever caught my man fucking around he would be GONE! And he’d be lucky if I didn’t pull a Lorena Bobbit on him. She even puts up with his infidelities for political gain – the poor, wronged woman. By playing this poor weak woman card she does a disservice to the feminist movement in this country. And her recent comments about how hard her life has been – bitch, please! I wish I could have a life that hard! Her silence at this endorsement ceremony speaks volumes about her. She knows EXACTLY what the word “pansy” is meant to convey. So fuck you, Hillary! Yeah, FUCK YOU!

  • underbear1

    another pansy 4 Obama

    Hillary is welcome to cast herself as Rocky, but if she gets labled BUTCH, she has no one to blame but her own self.

  • M Shane

    I can just see Clinton out bombing more innocent people in the world in her Bush-like tight crothch army outfit . Or maybe she can just torture people now that we’ve voted with her assist to break the Geneva convention.

    What the fuck if we’re tossing the Constitution to hell , may as well have a vile pisser for a president .

    Just reading Christopher Hitchens book about
    Orwell; from his presient point of view back then our vile sense of humanity will blow back right in our faces like a bloody fart. Hillary-Bush Vader bet on it!

  • Charley

    Pansy is a word used by my mother and her bridge ladies. It was a victorian, somewhat polite way of describing a gay man. It probably got it’s origin at the turn of the century because of the Oscar Wilde trial and his tour of America. They always described Oscar on his speaking tour in the press as a “sunflower”.

  • Whatever

    Face, if the guy had said the “N” word and it would have gotten Hillary just one more vote, she would have jumped up and down and applauded. The women is a disgrace to everything progressive. Randi Rhodes was right in that she’s a power hungry WHORE. There’s a label for ya boys and girls. Hillary will throw any one under the bus, and she will, as long as it will get her the White House. (WHITE House that is…) If the LBGT community thinks this woman is going to help us, will heaven help us.

  • steve

    you know, it’s not so much the use of the word “pansy” in my books, but the hypocrisy of hillary’s gay supporters… watch them defend this crap

    i can only imagine the shrieks & screams of “foul” if the same word came from someone in the obama camp – you’d never hear the end of it

    selective outrage is the new black

    hillary is still full of shit, pansy or no pansy

  • Doug

    I love pansies! they have such bright happy faces. Being gay myself I see that he wasn’t going anti gay he was just pointing out someone who wasn’t tough. Now ladies, dont get your panties all in a tizzy… LOL

  • Michael Duquette

    You crazed Obamaniacs never cease to amaze me. Pansy is not a gay slur, it’s a slur deemed to make men of all orientations and ethnic backgrounds seem weak. This is beyond absurd. Never in my life have i found so many people act so childish. Grow up.

  • Doug

    Oh and Im an Obama supporter. Hillary plays dirty to me and I dont trust her as much as I do Obama. Choose her over McSame though any day!

  • JM

    I’m an Obama supporter but I’m not offended by the word “pansy” or Hillary’s indifference to it.

    I mean, “that sucks” has its origins in the supposed disgustingness of a man sucking another man’s penis. Do we really make that sort of association today?

    “Pansy” is an old-fashioned term that is only really used to term a weakling. I don’t think anyone would call Mark Bingham a pansy, if that helps clarify things.

  • Carlos

    Wow, thank you Mr. Duquette for your voice of maturity and wisdom. Did you ever stop to think that people have opinions on this subject and how it effects them as a gay person and not out of any loyalty to one candidate or the other? But I just happened to notice from your myspace page that you are 24 years old, so maybe you are the one who has not grown up enough to appreciate someone else’ s opinion without resorting to name calling.

  • minnie mouse

    It makes no sense to point out that Obama has never appointed a Supreme Court Justice or an ambassador, (nor has Hillary, after all).

    However, while in the state senate here he did sponsor legislation banning discrimination against gays. That is not much to go on, but it’s what he did before he was running for president.

    Pansy derives its power from its negative association with homosexuals. It is exactly the same slippage that happens when kids say “gay” to mean “uncool” or “stupid.”

    Maybe Jerry Lewis was right to associate “fags” and “illiteracy” as there certainly seems to be a lot of illiterate people hereabouts.

  • Leland Frances

    If a half-truth is anything like “illiteracy,” then we suggest, Minnie Mouse, you heal thyself.

    Obama did NOT “sponsor legislation banning discrimination against gays” in Illinois. He was only a COsponsor of bills created and introduced by others. Huge difference.

    A bigger difference still—and the most telling of how little he genuinely cares about advancing LGBT equality if a shinier thing distracts him—is that he did not join as a cosponsor of SB3186, the bill which finally passed, even though there were nine months between the time it was introduced and his being elected to the US Senate. Why was he MIA? The obvious answer is that he was too busy running for that higher, shinier office. [Sidebar: he promised at least twice not to run for President until after he’d finished his first six years in the US Senate. This is his fourth year.]

    An even bigger difference—revealing his lack of integrity—is that he has publicly claimed at least three times that HE WAS a sponsor or “chief cosponsor” of SB3186: at the LOGO forum, on “Meet the Press,” and in his first “Advocate” interview.

    The biggest difference of all—and the most revealing of his lack of integrity—is that he’s implied and point blank lied to “The Advocate” that he “passed” SB3186 when, in fact, he was no longer even in the IL Senate when it was voted on.

    There’s obvious debate about whether the use of “pansy” in this context by Easley meant “gay.”
    Anyone want to debate what “liar” means?

  • dave

    Yes, liar means Clinton.

  • Mark

    In the real world, “pansy” is a synonym for “faggot,” plain and simple. It’s an unequivocal slur, especially in the South. Hate speech. Those who pretend otherwise are conning themselves.

    Of course, if self-delusion helps you feel comfortable with your chosen candidate, godspeed. But while you may be unclear on the concept, Easley knew exactly what he was saying, and who he was saying it to. Hillary didn’t flinch because she wants that good old boy vote bad (we’re talking Indiana and North Carolina now, not New York or California) and figures she has the gay vote locked up.

    Remember how disparagingly she referred to San Francisco when she was slamming Obama’s comments about bitterness? She’ll throw her gay supporters under the bus the second it gives her an edge; in fact, she has already. The Defense of Marriage Act … have you heard of it? Does “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ring a bell? Are these really good reasons to cling to Hillary Clinton?

    Never mind. If her Iraq War vote doesn’t bother you, why would little things like these?

  • Jack Scribe

    I have concluded that the governor’s use of “pansy” was merely a pejorative for being weak. BTW, you’ll seldom find a sound byte with Hill uttering the word, “gay”. Everything she does is calculated.

  • Cody

    My god…Hillary didn’t even say it people! Get over it…she’s not our bodyguard! She’s a woman with a goal. Quit nitpicking!

  • M Shane

    In the respect of being a militarist she is. The whole Clinton line about being “strong” president and commander and chief is the most damning thing that anyone could in integrity promote.
    The U.S. has become the worst militaristic nightmare in the history of the world. The road there has been the price of tossing our Constution down the toilet and destroying any respect that we could concievably want from anyone in the world.
    No one seems to be aware to wise up to the fact that policing the world is exactly what HItler wanted and we have achieved.

    Many be we need a pansy, not a war machine for a president. What have we gotten for pulverizing and stricking fear in nearly every country on the earth. Assuredly no friends or people who savor our continued existence.

  • Greg

    Hillary didn’t say it, so she gets a free pass? Well it is only fair, after all Obama is getting a free pass on Rev. Wright.

    I am amazed that cultural illiteracy is now a red badge of courage in the lgbt community. Unless you’re in the garden center pansy is a gay man. Weak, girly, effeminate when said in reference to a male means gay. Minnie Mouse’s analysis is spot on.

  • Bob

    When a straight man says “pansy” it means only one thing…Gay.

  • x

    #16 Kevin, shut the fuck up

  • Mike B

    I don’t know about you guys but the gay men I hang out with are no pansies.

    Is it true that Obama says he can’t support gay marriage because he’s a christian? Just wondering.

  • underbear1

    minnie mouse
    “Maybe Jerry Lewis was right to associate “fags” and “illiteracy” as there certainly seems to be a lot of illiterate people hereabouts.”

    Spoken like a dumb motherf*ckin breeder

  • underbear1

    putting quotes aroung the slur FAGS…doesn’t make it inoffensive.

  • queerunity

    this was taken way out of context

  • thisniss

    hi, I’m new as a poster (longtime reader and all-around worshiper of this blog). I just decided to post because 1) I’m from NC, and deeply upset about this. and 2) I grew up in the South. There is NO WAY that anyone who grew up in the South could hear “pansy” as anything other than a slur. I’m sorry, but this is not some small deal. I voted for Mike Easley, twice. I’ve written to him and called his office about this – it’s deeply, deeply offensive to those of us from NC who have worked to advance an lgbt agenda down here. I realize that Clinton herself did not say “pansy.” I realize that there was very little that she could have done in the moment about it (any more than she could about that “testicular fortitude” comment today). I don’t personally think that every candidate ought to be taken to task for everything one of their supporters says about them. But that doesn’t mean that this is “no big deal.” It doesn’t make the comment itself less important. Governor Easley needs to know that he made a mistake, and he needs to apologize. It’s not about being “oversensitive” or a Clinton-Obama thing. It’s about the fact that our elected officials should not be using homophobic language casually.

    George Allen lost an election on “macaca” – a word I had never heard before that and wouldn’t have known was offensive if I hadn’t had it explained to me. I guarantee you a whole lot more people know what “pansy” means. We do not deserve to be the punchline for Governor Easley’s homophobic joke. He’s not up for re-election, but he still owes our community – and all the people of North Carolina who he represents – a major apology.

  • M Shane

    I’m not so sure that the situation regarding Ms. Clintons relationship with Governor Easley bears any resemblance to Obamas relationship to Rev Wright. From what I’ve seen both Clinton(particularly) and McCain have capitalized on that pitiful association as much as they could Wright is not a political scientist with any even remote knowledge of the underhanded conspiracies of U.s government.
    Governor Easley should knw better. The significant fact here is that Ms, Clinton has not and will not under any condition, publically defend any sympathy for gay people. She is the coward re; Obama who has publically defended our dignity and rights in the presence of our enemies. If pansy only ment “coward’ without it’s sexual connotations we would have to say thay clontoin is the “pansy”.


  • Duane Kuehn

    I will tell all of you one thing of which you can be certain.
    At the age of both Hillary and Governor Easley, the term PANSY was nothing less than a slur to homosexual men. Even the flower was not considered when that term was used.
    Don’t kid yourselves.
    It was a time directly after “Fruit” no longer meant a difference in vegetable, and directly before “queer” ceased to mean “unusual”.
    With great aplomb, insight and genius, the gay community took the term “queer” off the market.
    But don’t ever think that “PANSY” means a “wimpy boxer” to Hillary or Easley.

  • Duane Kuehn

    Wow, I have just gone back and read some more of these comments.
    I can understand that younger folk wouldn’t understand the intensity of the word “PANSY”, do they use “SISSY” much anymore either?
    I CAN GUARANTEE THAT HILLARY AND EASLEY KNOW THAT WORD VERY WELL. And they know the devastating effect that word had on homosexuals IN THEIR TIME.
    They also know the effect it will have on older homophobic voters. Making Hillary look anti-homosexual to get their vote.
    Hillary NEVER did anything for the gay community when she was first lady and had the power. What makes any of you think she will do something for you now? She will throw you away like the Clinton’s have always done.

  • Duane Kuehn

    One more time while I am on a roll.
    You Obama vs. Hillary people, try to see this.
    Obama is the first in the history to use the term gay in a keynote address for a Presidential Convention.
    It wouldn’t have affected him or the candidate (John Kerry) either way, but he included it in what will be one of the most famous speeches ever delivered.
    Hillary uses a gay term one time for every 37 times that Obama uses one. She even avoids any gay terms in her speeches to GAY AUDIENCES. Lest it come back and lose her the homophobic vote.
    I don’t care who anyone votes for but, if you stand behind Hillary, you will be guaranteed to get whatever comes from her backside.

  • Neal Boulton

    I hate to break it to Govenor Easley but I have worked for Sly Stallone ON “Rocky Balboa” and ain’t NOBODY can make ‘Balboa’ look like a pansy. Shit.

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