Linkage to Care Blog: LGBTQ Pride and Lingo

LGBTQ Pride and Lingo


Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender woman who was an LGBTQ rights activist and an outspoken advocate for trans people of color. Johnson spearheaded the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and along with Sylvia Rivera, she later established the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group committed to helping homeless transgender youth in New York City.

Stonewall Uprising On June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street (the hub of the NYC Gay Community in the 1960s), things turned violent after a few LGBTQ people were arrested on questionable charges, handcuffed, and very publicly forced into police cars on the streets of NYC. The LGBTQ community was fed up with being targeted by the police and seeing these public arrests incited rioting that spilled over into the neighboring streets and lasted several days. These events have been collectively described as a “riot,” a “rebellion,” a “protest,” and an “uprising.” Whatever the label, this was certainly a watershed moment in LGBT history. Many eyewitnesses have identified Marsha as one of the main instigators of the uprising and thus, some have recognized her as the vanguard of the gay liberation movement in the United States.

Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)

As an African American trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson has consistently been overlooked both as a participant in the Stonewall uprising and more generally, LGBTQ activism. As the broader gay and lesbian movement shifted toward leadership from white cisgender men and women, trans people of color were swept to the outskirts of the movement. Despite this, following the events at Stonewall, Johnson and her friend Sylvia Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) and they became fixtures in the community, especially in their commitment to helping homeless transgender youth. STAR provided services — including shelter (the first was a trailer truck) — to homeless LGBTQ people in New York City, Chicago, California, and England for a few years in the early 1970s but eventually disbanded.

Death And Tributes

Sadly, at the age of 46, on July 6, 1992, Marsha’s body was found in the Hudson River off the West Village Piers. The police ruled she had committed suicide despite claims from her friends and other members of the local community that she was not suicidal. Twenty-five years later, Victoria Cruz, a crime victim advocate of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) re-opened the case. Johnson’s story is featured in Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson (2012) and The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017) and Happy Birthday, Marsha! (2017). In 2015, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute was established. Its mission is to defend and protect the human rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. Marsha is honored as a Stonewall instigator, a drag queen, and Andy Warhol model, an actress, and a revolutionary trans activist. (


Common Terms Used

Language – Commonly used terms in the LGBTQ community

Top: one who is the giver or penetrating the anal.

Bottom: one who is the recipient or gets anal penetrated.

Versatile/Vers: one who can play either role/position as a Top or Bottom, likes both. Some versatile guys have a preference for one over the other, but will do whichever depending on their current partner.

Paid/Pay: to describe something that has been ignored, disregarded, or neglected.

Snatched: referring to good looks, fierceness, or something good. Used to take the place of ‘on fleek’, ‘perfect’, ‘on point’, or ‘fashionable’.

Beat: to describe how good looking someone or something is.

Mug/Carter: referring to the Face.

Cunt/Fish: to be Lady/Woman like

Pig Latin: Pig Latin is not actually a language but a language game that’s used to speak “in code.” Pig Latin words are formed by altering words in English.

Werk/Work: A congratulatory declaration of support, praise or approval, for outstanding achievement in any area of life. Probably for original, sensational, or courageous accomplishments in the fields of art, fashion, music, sport, and friendship.

Butch: 1. A person who identifies as masculine, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. 2. Sometimes used as a derogatory term for lesbians, but it can also be claimed as an affirmative identity label.

Drag Queen: A male-bodied individual who wears female-designated or feminine clothing. Drag Queens usually cross-dress on a part-time basis and often perform in nightclubs by singing, dancing, or lip-synching.

Drag King: A female-bodied individual who dresses in masculine or male-designated clothing. A Drag King’s cross-dressing is usually on a part-time basis and many work as entertainers at LGBTQ or straight nightclubs.

Leather: The leather subculture denotes practices and styles of dress organized around sexual activities. Wearing leather garments is one way that participants in this culture self-consciously distinguish themselves from mainstream sexual cultures. Leather culture is most visible in gay communities and most often associated with gay men (“leathermen”), but it is also reflected in various ways in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual worlds. Many people associate leather culture with BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sado/Masochism)

Passing: Being taken for a member of the dominant group–white, straight, cisgender (non-transgender), for example, LGBTQI people who have the ability to pass can choose to conceal the stigma associated with being a member of a sexual minority.

Clocked: to realize, to catch on, to notice. For a transgendered person or gay person to be found out. Typically used when a trans person is trying to fully pass in a gender among people who are unaware the person is trans. Used for either gender.

Over/Ovah: exceptional, incredible, great, outstanding, one of a kind.

House/s: serve as alternative families, primarily consisting of Black and Latino gay, gender-nonconforming, genderqueer and transgender individuals, and are meant to provide shelter, solace, and safety, some who have often been kicked out of their original homes due to being LGBTQ+. Houses are led by “mothers” and “fathers” who provide guidance and support for their house “children”.

Ball/Ball Room: Ball culture consists of events that mix performance, dance, lip-syncing, and modeling. Events are divided into various categories, and participants “walk” and compete for prizes and trophies. Attendees chant, vogue, walk runway, face, sex siren, and support one another in one or more of the numerous competition categories.

KiKi/Key: have more than one meaning; Could mean a joke or making fun of something & could also be a social gathering, usually for the purpose of casually “kicking back,” gossiping, and sharing stories. Really just depends on how it’s being used.

Camp/Campy: absurdly exaggerated, artificial, or affected in a usually humorous way. Being so extreme that it has an amusing and sometimes perversely sophisticated appeal. Over the top and farcical, intentionally exaggerated so as not to be taken seriously.

What is Language/lingo?

Lingo adds personality to language by building on a group or area’s style and culture. … Often the difference between fluency and non-fluency in second language can rely on a speaker’s ability to understand and use lingo, because it shows a true understanding of a foreign language

Why Inclusive Language is Important?

The more people begin to embrace LGBTQ inclusive language, the greater fluency we will have to talk about things we didn’t know how to talk about before, or that made us uncomfortable. With such language comes greater understanding, and with greater understanding comes greater compassion and humanity.

When we use LGBTIQ inclusive language, we demonstrate that we respect LGBTIQ people, we build trust between the public sector and LGBTIQ communities, and we start to address the prejudice and discrimination LGBTIQ people face.

Do’s and Don’ts

This guide seeks to give you an understanding of some of the key concepts and common terms for LGBTIQ people. It also gives you practical guidance in making inclusive language part of your work in the public sector.

Don’t Do Why Example
“Hermaphrodite” Intersex” Hermaphrodite is a stigmatizing, inaccurate word with a negative medical history. “What are the best practices for the medical care of intersex infants?”
“Homosexual” “Gay” “Homosexual” often connotes a medical diagnosis or discomfort with gay/lesbian people. “We want to do a better job of being inclusive of our gay employees.”
“Born female” or “Born male”


“Female-bodied” or “Male-bodied”

“Assigned female/male at birth” Assigned” language accurately depicts the situation of what happens at birth


bodied” language is often interpreted as pressure to medically transition, or invalidation of one’s gender identity

Andre was assigned female at birth, then he transitioned in high school.”
“A gay” or “a transgender A gay/transgender person” Gay and transgender are adjectives that describe a person/group We had a transgender athlete in our league this year. “
Both genders” or “Opposite sexes” “All genders “Both” implies there are only two; “Opposite” reinforces all genders Video games aren’t just a boy thing — kids of all genders play them.”
“Ladies and gentlemen” “Everyone,” “Folks,” “Honored guests,” etc “Everyone,” “Folks,” “Honored guests,” etc “Good morning everyone, next stop RFK Station.”
“Mailman,” “fireman,” “policeman,” etc. “Mail clerk,” “Firefighter,” “Police officer,” etc. People of all genders do these jobs I actually saw a firefighter rescue a cat from a tree.”
“It” when referring to someone (e.g., when pronouns are unknown “They” “It” is for referring to things, not people. “You know, I am not sure how they identify.”



This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *