This paper discusses the use of slang terms that refer to homosexual individuals.
This paper is an examination of why the very words that have been used to make gays and lesbians feel inferior became so critical to their liberation. The author discusses how slang’s purpose is to question and to subvert the notion of gender.
One of perhaps the most fundamental linguistic shifts in the last thirty years or so since Stonewall has been the questioning and rendering as unacceptable of certain derogatory terms for gays and lesbians in polite society. Words such as queer and dyke and butch as terms of abuse are no longer considered appropriate for educated people to say. So post-modern etiquette would have it. Yet almost as quickly as these terms became unacceptable to use as expressions of hatred and abuse, gays and lesbians began to reconfigure the use of these terms within their own communities.