Search icon


26th Mar 2024

LGBTQIA+ slang terms every ally should know

Anna Martin

LGBTQIA+ slang terms every ally should know

Every culture and community has its slang terms

Where else in the world would you have people saying ‘grand’ and ‘craic’ than Ireland?

The same goes for the LGBTQIA+ community, sometimes it can seem like we have a whole other language that needs to be decoded.

While many people are already aware of some of the more common ones, in large part due to pop culture and the growing acceptance of LGBT+ folks, some things have people scratching their heads.

While we may not be able to cover every single one, here are some common slang terms and their definitions.

Top or bottom: Positions in sex, determining the penetrative person and the receiver.

Switch: Pretty self-explanatory slang, a person who doesn’t mind being top or bottom in the bedroom.

Twink: Often used to describe young, skinny males and is a term that can apply to any man who fits the bill, such as celebrities, just based on appearance.

Bear: A man who is larger in size, whether hefty, muscly, beefy, or all of the above, and often hairy. This is a whole community within itself.

lgbtqia+ slang
Credit: Getty

Otter:  Kind of like a bear but slender, often leaner or fitter, but still fuzzy.

Friend of Dorothy: A classic code term for a gay male, referring to Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Judy was a noted ally to gay men throughout her career and lifetime.

Lipstick/Skincare Lesbian: Lipstick Lesbian used to be the more commonly used term but in the age of social media, skincare has also worked its way in there.

These are the ultra-femme lesbians who some may call ‘high maintenance’ but really, they just love to take care of themselves, as they should.

Fem/femme: Lesbians who lean more towards the feminine side of their gender expression.

Masc/ Butch: Masc, also known as a Butch lesbian, is short for ‘masculine’ and is a term for lesbians who lean in that direction. It would be considered the opposite of femme. 

Pillow Princess: The takers, they love to receive but would rarely, if ever, give in the bedroom. 

Sapphic: This is a term for women who are attracted to other women and can include people who identify as bi, pan, lesbian, or any other sexualities. 

lgbtqia+ slang
Credit: Getty

The word traces back to ancient Greece, specifically the Island of Lesbos, where the poet Sappho lived during the 7th century BCE.

Sappho was renowned for her lyrical poetry, often expressing her love and desire for both men and women.

Gold star: A gold star lesbian is a lesbian who has never had sex with a man, and a gold star gay is a gay man who has never had sex with a woman.

The terms can be joking, sincerely held identities, or stereotypes within the community.