Gay men naughty bananas. Deon Black on Unsplash

Disused Gay Terms That Are Hilariously Wrong

Disclaimer: very sexual and slightly derogatory

I’ve never been a fan of the term “pillow biter”, mostly because I’m a top. I prefer to penetrate than be penetrated, if you catch my drift; so biting pillows is not something I would need to do.

Of course, biting pillows was important in the past to hide a homosexual act. Bite a pillow to stop moaning, so to speak. Because, as anyone who’s been anally penetrated knows, anal sex can be both painful and glorious. In fact, that’s exactly how the term came about.

Over 40 years ago, in the United Kingdom, former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe landed himself in hot water after the attempted murder of his secret homosexual lover, Norman Scott.

During the trial, where Jeremy was later acquitted, Norman spoke of being topped by Jeremy: “I just bit the pillow, I tried not to scream because I was frightened of waking Mrs Thorpe.”

Since then, pillow biter became a derogatory slur towards gay men, which is wrong because many of us don’t like it up the bum. Regardless, thanks to gay liberation in western society, gay men don’t need to hide anymore. We can moan to our heart’s content! Which explains why ‘pillow biter’ is a disused term nowadays.

With that said, here are some other disused gay terms that are hilariously wrong:

Friend of Dorothy

While pillow biter is a derogatory term used by bigoted straight people, “friend of Dorothy” was predominately used by gay men towards other possibly gay men. During a time when homosexuality was illegal, gay men would use this term to ascertain if someone was gay. Or as a way to discuss sexuality in public without other people catching on.

For those who’ve yet to guess, the Dorothy in question is Judy Garland — specifically her character in the Wizard of Oz film. But, linguistically it is meant to refer to the gay icon herself. It likely arose from the fact that Judy had a huge gay fan base during her blossoming years as a singer and actor. It also must be said that Judy was a huge gay fan — in fact, she married two of them! Which makes being a friend of Dorothy desirable, don’t you think?

But the term is quite wrong, and for one major reason. As the Irish Times explains, the term “friend of Dorothy” is time-specific, and that “since the turn of the millennium, there is mounting evidence that seems to undermine the notion that the LGBTQ community are ‘friends of Dorothy’.”

Funnily enough, even after its growing popularity in the gay community, the term still managed to fly under the radar. It even baffled the US Naval Investigative Service in the 1980s, who were then trying to root out gay men in the military. As the Los Angeles Times reported in 1993:

“At one point, NIS agents in and around Chicago fanned out to gay bars known to attract military personnel and began asking searching questions about someone named Dorothy. Homosexuals, they had learned, often referred to themselves as ‘Friends of Dorothy.’ The investigators didn’t recognize the phrase as an allusion to the Judy Garland character in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.”


If you grew up gay in Australia or the United Kingdom, chances are you were called a poofter. Its meaning has grown contemptible over the years, much like many other gay derogatory terms, so its use is dwindling.

Poofter is said to originate onomatopoeically, referring to the idea of loose farts. To be precise, gay men who bottom so hard that their anus muscles become loose. And so every time they let one off, it sounds exactly like saying the word poo — with only your breath, no vocals. At least, that’s what Urban Dictionary says.

As we’ve already noted, not all gay men like it up the bum, so this term is clearly wrong. But it also must be said that gay men are not the only one’s taking it up the bum. Anal sex, even of the rough variety, can be cherished by anyone with an arsehole — even straight men. And that’s a fact!

Shirt Lifter

You may have heard of this term thanks to comedian Jim Davidson, who notoriously used the derogatory word on a 2007 episode of Hell’s Kitchen. Shirt lifter essentially refers to the act of having to lift your shirt so your bum buddy has easier access… if you catch my drift.

In 2018, Piers Morgan asked Jim about using the gay slur, to which he replied: “Yeah that was a mistake. I made the wrong choice of words. And it just got into a hole.”

Oooo, that is one awful pun right there!

Indeed, whether a gay man gives or takes, they may have to lift a shirt. It’s common courtesy, after all. But women wear shirts too, and they may need lifting. And so do straight men! Ladies, would you ever perform fellatio on a man without lifting up his shirt? You never know, he may enjoy nipple play…

Regardless, it’s clear this gay term is not original and clearly wrong.


Don’t be alarmed if you haven’t heard of uranian; it just means you’re young!

This term originates from the mid-1800s thanks to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German law student and journalist, who wrote and published an article titled The Race of Uranian Hermaphrodites, i.e., the Man-Loving Half-Men. And since being published in 1864, the term gained notoriety as a slur for effeminate gay men.

This is clearly wrong because gay men, who refer to themselves as men, are fully male. If you were a gay woman, you would be a lesbian. Also, hermaphrodite is not the same as half-man. In current terminology, hermaphrodite refers to animals with both male and female reproductive organs — like worms. It’s not a half-and-half situation, but all at the same time.

This also means that using hermaphrodite to refer to intersex people is wrong. We humans do not have the capability of harnessing both sexes at the same time, but some of us can be born with atypical sex characteristics. Intersex people, according to Intersex Human Rights Australia, “have innate sex characteristics that don’t fit medical and social norms for female or male bodies, and that create risks or experiences of stigma, discrimination and harm.”

There’s one thing that’s clear with derogatory terms: the people who use them are ignorant of the truth. They have no idea. This means the best remedy is education — preferably one from learned professionals or those who are experiencing it.

After all, ignorance is not always bliss…

Feature image: Deon Black on Unsplash

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