Remember When the Word “Fierce” Actually Meant Something?

The word “fierce” is in danger of being defanged. Somewhere in between Tyra Banks throwing “fierce” around like used fake eyelashes and President Obama campaigning as a “fierce advocate” in spite of his galling ambiguity on comprehensive LGBT rights, “fierce” has been sanitized—pink-washed if you will—and pushed to the brink of irrelevancy.

Perhaps being killed softly is the way of queer culture. After all, who could resist us—our flourishes, our intelligently crafted posture, our razor sharp punch lines, our tailoring? The Ballroom Culture of 1920s Harlem (yes, honey—and Langston Hughes was there snapping with the best of them) becomes “Paris Is Burning” becomes Madonna’s “Vogue” becomes Lady Gaga’s hilariously trite “Born This Way.” What once encapsulated a captivating, untamed and necessarily tough spirit has been turned into a synonym for “good,” or even “cute.”

–In a new monthly column for Lambda Literary, writer Saeed Jones strives to re-appropriate “fierce” in terms of queer rage found in literature. What do you guys think? Should we take “fierce” back or is the mainstream coining of the word another step towards visibility and acceptance?

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  • Sans Bitch

    Fierce was stoned to death by these utterly brain dead “House Music Retards”. Once a 45, 50+ year old Gay Man (who is still trying to fucking “party”) uses something in gay culture, it is officially DEAD. About the only thing in Gay Culture more of a KISS OF DEATH than anything embraced by The House Music Crowd is anything embraced by Michael Musto.

  • Oscar Raymundo

    @Jorial: Um, actually from the look of that video Jade Elektra is pretty fucking fierce.

  • Sans Bitch

    ummmm, FIERCE TV … I rest my case

    RuPaul, Michael Musto, House Music … thank God for wood chippers

  • Josh Elder

    Why do people on those who like House Music and label / stereotype us so much? o.0
    We get hated on because we’re “typical” with our taste in music, although it’s become extremely a-typical and uncommon anymore. All you ever hear is some badly remixed crap hip-hop you hear on the radio in gay clubs anymore. It’s hilarious though because pop music, hip-hop and R&B are slowly adopting sounds and styles from trance and house music and people don’t even realize it. They ‘love’ the music but don’t realize it’s a bunch of copying and ripping of house / trance music, which they claim to hate.

    So sick of the LGBT Community being so full of hate, judgment and exclusion. Time to get over yourselves and realize you’re not the center of the universe nor are you as amazing as you seem to think.

  • Charles Rosenheimer

    Speaking of last names, it’s a fine German name, isn’t it? Rosenheimer.

  • Jim

    Gradual evolution? In my language? It’s more likely than you think.

  • Brandon h

    The new queerty needs to put down the Pomo queer theory bull shit and actually post something interesting.

  • Cam

    It stopped meaning anything about the same time the word “Diva” stopped meaning anything.

  • John

    Im actually soooo depressed right now, not because of the word fierce but just in gereal :(

  • just sayin

    there is no more gay community. everything is over.

  • Gregger

    Sorry, fierce stopped being a “gay” thing more than 25 years ago with the group Klymaxx and their song “the Men All Pause.” After 7 years it falls under the Right of Aquiescence. Too bad, Christian Siriano and everyone else was doing “An American Colloquialism.”

  • Dave

    I have a fairly broad working vocabularly, but rarely use the word “fierce”. On the rare occasion I -do- use the word, it’s likely to be uttered in a sentence that also includes the word “lion” and I am likely to be speaking to my pre-K-aged nephew.

    In all honesty, the -only- time I ever here the word “fierce” used in the ultra-cheesy way discussed here is…well, when I read Queerty. I guess it helps that I don’t own a TV have no desire to become familiar with Tyra Banks. Or maybe it’s just me–maybe I’m not gay enough. Or maybe I’m not gay at all–just delusional.

    This is worrisome–can you be gay if you don’t use and don’t really ever hear anyone using cheese gay slang? What if you never get the urge to express faux-and/or-ironic-exuberance at all?? I mean, my friends and I never use the word “fabulous” in its gay connotation either–not even with a knowing smirk as a cheesy-though-stale “joke”.

    Can you still be gay even if shallow (and lame) cultural bullshit originating from the urban centers on the east and west coasts seems as alien to you as straight sex? How about if you feel like fucking projectile vomiting everytime you read another goddamn article that mentions Tyra Banks, gays, and the word “fierce”? Or any other lame-ass shallow gay stereotypes?

    On second thought, I don’t know why I’m worried about this–I’m not so sure that I give a flying fuck whether or not I’m “gay” if this garbage is what being gay is about…

  • Tone

    @Sans Bitch: Ageist much?

  • iDavid


    You are not alone!

    It’s a take it or leave it world. Most of my friends laugh off gay culture as “Yeh right, get a life” and we are all mos.

    The gay comm does have flare drama and a very colorful expression, but it’s juzz show bizz. Love the entertainment but at the end of the day we all tie our shoe laces just the same, and me and my friends didn’t pick rainbow colored laces, in fact, that would be totally “wierd” to us. But still love the bros and sis’s that do. The number of gay people that think like you and I is staggeringly high, we don’t see them as much well because, they opted out of the feather boa crowd, a minuscule but avidly advertised group.

  • iDavid


    Sorry you are depressed John. I am a counselor. If you ever want a professional assessment, let me know.

    [email protected]

  • Paco

    @Dave: I completely agree with you and iDavid. I remember an article about the silent majority of the political structure in America. I think it also applies to the culture of the gay community. We are the men who go to gay clubs because we like to dance with men, but go to pubs for a relaxing cocktail. We go to drag shows to support our friends, but give them about as much support as we would seeing a play or a good movie. We may not dress the part, act the part, or be as showy as those who the world seems to exploit, but we are still gay. We are still proud, but we choose to roll our eyes and continue silently maintain our lives, even if we do avidly advocate.

  • Mark in Indiana

    @ Sans Bitch–seriously, some day you’ll be 50 like I am. Now, given I don’t go to circuit parties or bars anymore–I’ve been married for 15 years. I go to bed at 10 and the gym at 6:30am. But the shit tone of your comments against men d’un age certain is just a slug’s worth of slime.

    You’ll be lucky to look and feel as good as I do at 50. If you want to do that, drop some of the bitch baggage.

  • Armand

    Why worry about taking ‘fierce’ back?

    You have yet to remove ‘queer’ and ‘gay’ from the heterosexuals.

  • Armand

    @Brandon h says: “The new queerty needs to put down the Pomo queer theory bull shit and actually post something interesting.”

    ha ha ha. Agreed.

    Queer theory.

    I left that in grad school. Is there anything more obnoxious?

  • Sans Bitch

    Alls I’m saying is that “Gay” needs to tighten up its membership requirements, weed out the old, the ugly, the poor, the “dark” and the deformed … I’m just saying DeGayed

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