Last update:
January 8th

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Glossary of
Gay Slang Terms

These slang terms were collected from a variety of sources, and among others the following ones:

  • Francis Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, published in 1785 and again in 1811
  • Vocabulary of the Flash Language (the Cant) included in the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux, published in 1819 in Australia.
  • Ken Cage, Gayle: The Language of Kinks and Queens, A History and Dictionary of Gay Language in South Africa
  • Robert Owen Scott's Gay Slang Dictionary
  • Gay & Black Glossary by Roedy Green
  • Rebecca Scott, A Brief Dictionary of Queer Slang and Culture
  • Wei Lee, Dictionary of Gay Slang
  • Gary Bowen's: A Dictionary of Words for Masculine Women.
We also thank here all our readers who sent us new terms, with the needed explanations, origin and so on. It is also thank to them if our dictionary is becoming one of the most complete and exhaustive in the Net.

We normally didn't include in our dictionary the terms that can be found in a good dictionary of English language. In this revised edition we also added the synonyms. We decided to use pop-up windows for defiitions and synonyms, to make more fast the uploading of pages, and also because, in this way, you can click only the terms you don't know, or you want to understand better.

If you know other slang terms, ethymology, or other meanings, that are not included here, please email us and we'll update the list.

Andrej & Matt

Many homosexual terms are defined by people in different ways. Meanings of words are often chosen to promote specific belief system.

Homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality can refer either to: feelings of sexual attraction to another person, or to the actual sexual practice between people of the same gender.

During discussions of sexual orientation, a person may switch between these two meanings. This causes much confusion and misunderstanding; sometimes this is done intentionally. We recommend that the terms homosexual or heterosexual never be used in isolation, but always be identified as referring to either feeling or practices.

Sexual orientation has been given many different meanings:
Gays, lesbians, sociologists, psychologists, human sexuality researchers, members of liberal and some mainline faith groups use this term to indicate a person's feelings of sexual attraction to males and females. They recognize three sexual orientations, all of which they feel are normal, natural, and fixed in adults:

  • heterosexuals are attracted to the opposite gender only.
  • homosexuals are attracted to the same gender only.
  • bisexuals are attracted to both male and female; not necessarily to the same degree.

    Conservative Christians and some religious conservatives within mainline faith groups frequently avoid the term "sexual orientation" entirely. That is because it implies a factor in life that is not chosen and is not changeable:

    Some prefer the term "sexual preference" or "homosexual preference." That implies that gays and lesbians are really bisexuals. i.e. they are attracted by both men and women, but they have a "preference" for members of the same sex. Thus, they could all choose opposite-sex partners if they wished.

    Others use the term "sexual lifestyle" or "homosexual lifestyle." That indicates that a homosexual orientation is not innate. It is a "lifestyle" selection, as in the choice whether to marry or remain single, whether to get a job or be self-employed, whether to drive a car or ride a bicycle, etc.

    Some conservative Christians use the terms "sexual orientation," preference," or "lifestyle" very broadly to include feelings or behavior towards men and women, animals, and children. They believe that the term covers a wide range of feelings and behaviors, including heterosexual or homosexual attraction to persons of the same age group, incest, polygamy, polyandry, bestiality, and pedophilia. They consider only the first to be normal and natural. By using this definition, they can state that any legislation giving equal rights to persons of all sexual orientations would also legalize bestiality, incest, sexual relationship with children, polygamy, etc.

    Many conservative Christians do not acknowledge the existence of a bisexual orientation, believing peoples' feelings of attraction to be either purely heterosexual or homosexual.

    Gay has been a widely used synonym of "male homosexual." Its meaning is rapidly evolving to refer to both male and female homosexuals. Some people differentiate between homosexual and gay: homosexual is regarded as a sexual orientation; gay is a political identity -- i.e. an advocate for equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations.

    Author: B. A. Robinson Copyright © 1999

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