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May 28, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Bent – Queer Terms

“Gay B C; is easy as one, two, three…”

The Jackson 5 knew clearly knew their gay terminology when they wrote that classic amidst the free love era of the 1960’s. Basic as they may be, knowing a few key gay-related terms will allow you to slip them in (to conversation) and act like you know a thing or two about LGBT culture. So grab a pen and paper or your iWhatever to jot down a few notes as I give you a very short introduction to some gay words and their meanings.

First up: Queer. A little bit controversial and a little bit political, this term is still a divisive one within the community due to its previous negative connotations. An umbrella term used to encompass all non- heterosexual orientations, ‘Queer’ has also been associated with political radicalism (woo!) and as a slur against gay people, eg “Fucking queers” or “I ain’t no queer.” So 1967. Now a reclaimed word, the LGBT community chooses to use it as a positive expression of self identification with the sting taken out of it, as they decide how and when it is used.

Potentially more interesting than ‘Queer’ for y’all who don’t know, is the categorisation of the different types of gay males that exist in our ever-evolving culture. Firstly there’s the twink. The stereotypical teenage to early twenties, slim/skinny gay guy who has little or no body hair and who traditionally had a crop of fine blond hair. The bane of many a Queer uni student’s existence, you’ll find those categorised as twinks in political science lectures, hands on hips on the dance floor, or buying something ‘gaw-jus’ from Taro-trash. If you think I’m being serious, you clearly didn’t read my article on stereotypes. Shame on you…

At the other end of the spectrum we have the bear. *Growls.* Regardless of your age, body shape or how much hair you have, being a bear is about being a masculine gay guy who is comfortable with his sexuality and image. A young guy of a bigger build who associates himself with the bear culture may identify himself as a ‘cub,’ whilst slim hairy guys may be called ‘otters.’ The bear culture is the most diverse of any of the gay sub-cultures and was founded on the principle of inclusivity.

So there we go: a very brief introduction to a few gay-related terms. Now go and impress your friends!


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