I love the word faggot.
Sure, it’s not always a fun word to hear. It stings sometimes. This one time on campus when I was strutting to my car, admittedly drowning out the world with Britney blasting in my headphones, some guy began backing out before realizing I was right behind his van. I said excuse me, and through his window, he spat, “Watch where you’re going, faggot. I’ll kill you next time.” That one stung a lot. And I was just trying to be fierce.
But it comes with the territory. Years of putting up with f-bombs make for tougher, less sensitive skin. (Actually, though, I’m pretty smooth. I adhere to a strict moisturizing schedule. No one likes a rough twink.)
I’ll come back to what exactly a twink is in a bit, but I love being one – it may have taken a while, but I’m finally sure of who I am. So like I said, I love the word faggot and I love being one.
Another lover of general faggotry is Margaret Cho, the racy comedienne and self-proclaimed fag hag. She’s bisexual, down for the gays and has won awards for her humanitarian work with women, the transgender community and Asians.
Though fag hag is historically an insult in the American gay scene, Cho is just one of many women who have come to embrace the name: “I love the word ‘faggot,’ because it describes my kind of guy. You see, I am a fag hag.”
What’s a fag hag, you ask? In the U.S., the term refers to a gay guy’s straight girl BFF – the Grace to every Will. And Cho believes hags are the backbone of the gay community. She says: “Without us, you’re nothing! We have been there all through history guiding your sorry ass. We went to the prom with you.”
Different types of fag and hag relationships may exist. But Cho finds something more meaningful in being a fag hag: “For fags and hags, love is love, and that’s the best part of it.” I’m sure I speak for every gay boy when I say we wholeheartedly appreciate the girls we call our hags.
This past weekend I had to take the time to explain the concept of a fag hag to… a fag hag. She had never heard the term before, and when the gaggle of gays around me assured her she was not only a fag hag but a fierce one at that, she threw her hands in the air and yelled, “YAY!”
This little moment made me realize how often my circle of friends throws terms and names around like this all the time. And sometimes, I forget we need a gay-to-straight translator. The outside world doesn’t always know what the hell we’re talking about.
The fact is, no matter how much we say we hate them, everyone loves a label. They’re easy. And more often than not, they’re actually spot on. Why, then, should we not embrace the hell out of it?
So let me finish off this column with a little gay glossary. After all, if any fag hags in the making are out there reading this, this is entry-level intern stuff. I’m doing you a favor.
Used as gay slang, the word twink describes a young, fresh-faced gay. He usually stands tall and slim, and has no or very little body hair.
The name comes from the Hostess snack, notorious for its golden color, phallic shape and cream-filled center. In the past, twinkie was used in a derogatory manner to describe a perhaps more effeminate male with tanned skin and little emotional depth. Today, these implications really don’t exist, and lots of slender gay boys aren’t shy to claim their twinkhood.
Bears, otters and pandas
Quite the opposite of a twink, a bear tends to have a hairy body and facial hair. Some are heavy-set or muscular and may present themselves with more masculinity in their appearance. Some bears even hate girly little twinks.
Though opposite, the term bear, like twink, is also a marker of a certain identity and community. There’s even an established flag for the bear community, and you can check it out at the LGBTRC. There are different strains of bear, naturally: pandas are bears of Asian descent, and otters are hairy thin gay boys.
The world can sometimes be a beautiful place. One of the most beautiful and worthwhile connections is that between a gay man and a straight one. A play on fag hag, the stag is a slang term for a heterosexual man who either enjoys the company of, or simply has numerous friends that are gay or bisexual.
To my straight honeyboys, be confident in your straightness, just as I am with my gayness. Nothing changes the world like tolerance and friendship. You won’t catch it, so talk up a fag and consider being a stag. And just an FYI, gays can make great wingmen.
MARIO LUGO wants a fag stag who will play sports with him. No, for real – like, football and baseball and stuff. The spring sun is just too good to not be outside. Send your apps to firstname.lastname@example.org.