Queer semantics

This article about increasingly diverse self-labels in the gay community caught my eye while browsing Arts & Letters Daily just now :

First, there was the term “homosexual,” then “gay” and “lesbian,” then the once taboo “dyke” and “queer.”

Now, all bets are off.

With the universe of gender and sexual identities expanding, a gay youth culture emerging, acceptance of gays rising and label loyalty falling, the gay lexicon has exploded with scores of new words and blended phrases that delineate every conceivable stop on the identity spectrum — at least for this week.

Someone who is “genderqueer,” for example, views the gender options as more than just male and female or doesn’t fit into the binary male-female system….

The list of terms — which have hotly contested definitions — goes on: “FTM” for female to male, “MTF” for male to female, “boydyke,” “trannyboy, ” “trannyfag,” “multigendered,” “polygendered,” “queerboi,” “transboi,” “transguy,” “transman,” “half-dyke,” “bi-dyke,” “stud,” “stem,” “trisexual,” “omnisexual,” and “multisexual.”

“The language thing is tricky,” said Thom Lynch, the director of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center. “I feel sorry for straight people.”

I’m not entirely sure why he feels sorry for us. Since by definition we’re not interested in rogering any of these people however they describe themselves this week, we don’t need to keep up with the labels either. We’re in no danger of making a horrible mistake; I don’t mind what anyone else calls themselves or who they roger. Nevertheless, if you yearn to be au fait with the argot, this article may be just what you’ve been seeking.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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observa
observa
2022 years ago

A gang of brickies I know refer to homosexuals as ‘the sads’. I don’t know if this term is prevalent among the hetero working class generally.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

Not round my neck of the woods it isn’t.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Leaving aside the questionable value of any analysis sourced from someone named “Thom” in San Francisco, I can’t say I recognise many of these terms as common currency in Sydney. God! I hope the FTA isn’t going to impose a foreign gay argot upon us!? What will happen to fine old Australianisms like poofter?
.

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

A mate of mine and his wife were in an ultra hip Sydney restuarant doing the Sydney thing during a visit from Perth. It was not a busy night. They were sitting in the near dark in their groovey booth when in came a gay couple. One turned to the other and said

“Let’s go somewhere else this place is full of hetties.”

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I hope they didn’t say “hetties” James – the correct term is “hets.” Sadly, it might represent the infantilising of our speech so graphically represented by the term ‘hot’ – to describe a sexually desirable person – degenerating into “hottie”. A hottie will always be a rubber receptacle filled with hot water to me I’m afraid.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Too much information.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

“Doing the Sydney thing”? “Rubber receptacles”?
This blog needs an R rating!