Macquarie Dictionary


LGBTIQ+ Slang for Pride Month

In recognition of Pride Month, a month of celebration that recognises LGBTIQ+ people, Macquarie Dictionary has gathered a few slang terms commonly used in queer communities. A lot of slang originates in or was popularised by American ballroom, vogue and drag culture of New York City in the 1980s.

First off is the term throwing shade, meaning to make critical or scornful remarks. Throwing shade can be seen used in early literature, such as Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. However, the term was regularly used in New York City’s ballroom and vogue culture, a culture that was predominantly working class, African-American and Latino, and gender-nonconforming. The term gained further popularity due to Rupaul’s Drag Race.

Next up is spill the tea, meaning to gossip or divulge information, especially of a sensitive nature. The tea or ‘T’ stands for truth, so to spill the tea is to state the truth. This is also often expressed in a variety of ways, such as encouraging someone by asking What’s the tea? This is another term that was popularised in the ballroom and vogue culture.

Vogue, or voguing, is a modern house dance style that emerged in the 1980s and evolved from the 1960s Harlem ballroom scene. It gained mainstream attention and popularity in the 1990s with the release of Madonna’s song and music video Vogue. There are three distinct types of voguing: old way, new way and vogue fem. Voguing is made up of five elements: duckwalk, catwalk, hands, floorwork and spins and dips.

Finally we have the term house, used historically to mean a family regarded as consisting of ancestors and descendants. A house functioned as an alternative family that provided shelter and support for predominantly African-American and Latino LGBTIQ+ individuals who felt ostracised by conventional support systems. Houses would have traditional roles: the house mother or house father and the children. Houses would compete or ‘walk’ in balls together to win trophies and money.

Celebrate Pride Month by reading more about the meaning of LGBT on our blog


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