>Gay 101. What’s with all the labels?

>Ok so by now you must have heard at least some of the labels that we use as Gay boys to help us to identify, categorize, group, sort, pigeonhole, typecast and stereotype each other.

Labels can make us feel comfortable. They can make us feel like we are part of a group or community.

Labels can also be used to put down and disparage by enforcing negative stereotypes.

So why post about it?

For a young Gay person beginning to explore their sexuality labels hold a lot of power. They can offer the comfort of feeling like you are part of the group. They allow us to define ourselves and how we fit in to the wider community. The need to “belong” is strong, perhaps even stronger in GLBTI youth because of the isolation that living in the closet and the coming out experience can sometimes bring.

But it is important for you to remember that we are all much more than our labels.

The important thing to remember is that labels although sometimes comforting do not define who you are. They may help you figure things out but you are more than just a “Twink” or a “Gam” or whatever other label you may choose.

A lot of young Gay guys who send me emails or ask questions because they are confused about their sexuality and are looking for an answer to the question “what am I and where do I fit in?”

Don’t be so quick to label yourself. What’s wrong with just being you? It takes a strong person to stand up and decide that they are not going to be pigeon holed by the community around them. Being Gay is only a very small part of who you are and although when you are young or coming out it may seem like it is everything believe me when I say it is not.

I have posted some of the more common labels below in the hope that you will see just how limiting they are.

Be yourself! No one else Can.

Young and gay. The age range of the Twink varies but generally the term refers to young gay guys who are slim and have zero body hair. They often are accompanied by the faint smell of fake tan and are blonde or sporting some kind of additional hair colour. Twinks are commonly perceived as being self absorbed and tend to live in a world that is all about being young and Gay.

Twunks are Twinks with muscles. Often they are slightly older and have grown out of the “my whole world is gay” phase. Twunks are sporty and enjoy going to the gym, and can often be found with adoring Twinks in tow.

“Gym bunny”
Gym Bunnys are gay boys or gals who have discovered endorphins and their addictive qualities. Often dressed in under armour or similar tight clothing, they are commonly found eating at Sushi Trains and sucking on a protien shake.

Bears are your hairier variety of Gay Man. Generally thought to be older, Bears cover all varieties of the male form. Younger bears are called cubs.  Bears can be broken down into a number of sub groups:
Otters, Cubs, Wolves, Grizzlies, Ginger bears, Ewoks, Polar Bears etc. 

“Fag hag”
Fag Hags are the Female companions of Gay men. Some take offence to this term but in general it is a term of affection. Fag Hags are the gay mans support, carrying extra lip gloss, offering a sympathetic ear and acting as wingman when we hit the dance floor.

“Fag Stag”
Fag stags are the Male equivalent of the fag hag.

Usually used in conjunction with another label. Twink Chaser, Chubby Chaser etc. It refers to a guy who actively seeks out or is attracted to a particular type.

“Gaysian or GAM” (Gay Asian male).
A gay man of the Asian variety.

“Rice Queen”
A Gay man (usually Caucasian) who is attracted mainly to Asian men.

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