What slang words are used to describe lesbians in your country?

5 08 2010

Here are some from Asia.

From North India:

  • Chapat Baaz – meaning stuck things. For more on this read Ruth Vanita’s book Same sex love in India.
  • Ran Chandi – the word denotes an angry butch warrior like woman. Hmm, I think the Daily Mirror would like this in referring to us as man haters!
  • Bhayada – Hmm, I like this one. It literally translates as ‘androgynous’, not a man but not a woman either. The world needs more of these!
  • Babu Baai – meaning ‘man-woman’. Or sometimes just ‘babu’, meaning man but by calling a woman that, it implies she is not a woman.

From Sri Lanka:

  • Aappa – ahh! our favorite and the name of our blog!
  • Kello-Kello – meaning ‘girl-girl’. Pretty tame.
  • Thori – ‘thori’ is the feminine form of ‘thora’ which is the Sinhala word for Kingfish or seer fish. So lesbians are basically called fish. Great (must admit I do like the water!)
  • SLS – this one is a classic. It stands for ‘Sama Lingika Sevavan’, or ‘same sex services’! It can also be used to describe gay boys. I believe it is very popular in universities around here..

From Jordan:

  • Is she a taxi? – apparently taxis in Jordan are green and yellow in colour, and in conversation, when you ask “is she a taxi?” you are actually asking “Is she gay?” Green And Yellow = GAY, get it? Of course in Bangladesh calling someone a taxi is calling someone a prostitute.

I am fascinated by these words and expressions and wonder where they come from. I think of taking pride from these expressions and in re-owning these words. They take on a different meaning in a different place and time…. Of course there are more slang words for gay boys but it’s interesting to see what gay women are called.

Please feel free to add words from your countries.



7 responses

6 08 2010

We in San Francisco, address them sisters. (And I do not know any slang words other than the obvious ones, which I refuse to write because they are offensive.) Yet I am rolling all over the floor about Aappa and Green And Yellow! Aappa, the edible version (No offence, I am sure you’re delicious to someone too) being one of the things I look forward to whenever I come back to Sri Lanka. I will be “more” respectful to them Aappas now!

Just to let you know, Today a federal judge overturned ban on same-sex marriage saying “the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians are being violated every day that Proposition 8 remains in effect.”

6 08 2010

I always thought the terms ‘thori/thora’ were used more or less exclusively by some gay men. Did you find it in use among non-gay people as well?

Also, I have to confess that I have never heard the term SLS before in any of the universities, so this is news 🙂

6 08 2010

Hmm….I’ve heard carpetmunchers being used when I used to live in LA, mostly in a derogatory way (no offense intended). Also scissor sisters from what I remember in relation to the lesbian/gay theme of the band of the same name, not sure that qualifies though.

11 08 2010

The term ‘Thori’ is used mainly by gay men to describe lesbians. It actually has a very vulgar meaning at the root of it and has nothing to do with you liking water! LOL

11 08 2010

@ suresh – ah it is time to reclaim it then!

12 10 2012

I think ‘thori’ has an implicit – though back-handed compliment built into it.
Sri Lankans consider Thora the most desirable edible fish, and it is always the most expensive in the market.
Thora is large, firm, beautifully flaky, bright-white, and has a clean and decidedly un-fishy fragrance, unlike any other variety of fish.

10 12 2012
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