Gay/Drag Slang, Translated

Gay/Drag Slang, Translated

Your go-to cheat sheet

As my little series comes to a close, I am going to do my best at translating, defining, and explaining the fantastic slang and vernacular that the drag and gay community has been gifting the world with. As someone who personally uses a good chunk of this vernacular, I am writing this as a cheat sheet for those who become confused when I start spewing like a queen who is about to slay at the gig. Let’s get started, shall we?

This list was curated with the help of Scruff, Urban Dictionary, H. Max, and this Buzzfeed article.

Common Gay Community terms

Bear: a large, usually hairy man

Beefcake: a masculine male

Bottom: sexual partner who gets penetrated via anal intercourse

Butch: masculine appearance and/or behavior as oppose to feminine.

Closeted: a homosexual individual who is not yet ‘out’ or denies their homosexuality.

Daddy: typically an older, financially established gay man

Jock: athletic, well-built gay man

Top: sexual partner who does the penetrating in anal intercourse

Twink: a skinny, scrawny, hairless man

Common Drag Community terms and phrases

Beat: usually used as “beating your face” and refers to makeup being applied or your final makeup look. For example, “Her mug is beat for the gods!” translates to “her makeup is absolutely stunning”

Clock: to call out someone’s flaws, to uncover or reveal the truth in a situation or one’s true gender

‘Come Thru’: when you are killing the scene, or when someone has “made it”. For example, when Violet Chachki won Season 7 of Rupaul’s Drag Race, after she was crowned, she yelled “COME THRUUU”

Fish: usually used as an adjective for looking feminine, or like a real woman; to be able to pass as a real, biological woman. Can also be used as a noun as well.

Gagging: Used when something is so fierce, you can’t help but want to gag from the overload of extreme fierceosity.

Gurl: the one word that can mean a variety of things to gay man. The “dude” of the gay world.

Hunty/Henny: the drag communities version of “honey”, used to reference someone else.

‘I can’t breathe’: phrase used when something is so amazing and fabulous that you feel like it took your breath away.

Kiki: a get-together among close friends, usually for tea-spilling, confessions about one-night stands.

Kai-Kai: the act of drag queens having sex with each other, in drag

Read: to tell someone about themselves. Usually out of honestly, can be positive or negative, but usually seems to be negative. For example when “reading” someone “to filth”, you would pick out every flaw about that person and be shady about it. Sometimes it’s used in cat fights, other times it’s used as playful jokes, and other times it is a serious burn. The more creative your read, the better.

Shade: acting in a casual or disrespectful manner towards someone/dissing a friend. One usually “throws” shade, meaning to act shady, fake, or funny around or towards someone else.

Sickening: it refers to when you look at a person and they look so good it makes you sick (but in a good way). Meant completely as an admiration.

Side eye: a facial expression expressing one’s criticism, disapproval, animosity, or scorn of varying levels and intensity towards another person. One person looking at the other out of the corner of their eye(s) with a scowl or a bitch face, as their head is turned in a different direction.

Slay: killed it; succeeded in something amazing.

Snatched: term referring to good looks, fierceness or something good.

Tea: the truth. To “spill the tea” or ask “what’s the tea?” = to confess; to spill the truth. Usually used when asking about the latest gossip or what is going on in someone’s life.

Tucked: when a man tucks his genitals when dressing in drag.

Work/Werk/Werq: a congratulatory declaration of support, praise or approval, for an outstanding achievement in any area of life. For example when you see someone down the street with a bomb ass outfit, you might be compelled to say “YAS gurl, werk!”

These are words and phrases that you will likely hear most often, but this sadly is no grand master list. Like all slang and vernacular, every location differs with their uses of words and phrases. New words pop up and old ones can die out. Rupaul’s Drag Race seems to be a Mecca of ‘mainstream’ drag slang, as most drag queens across the globe seem to watch it or know about it. I hope this list helps you translate the fierceness of the gay and drag community.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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