Preferred Citation: Hawkeswood, William G. One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996 1996. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft6t1nb4dd/


 

Glossary

A

ain't all that
is not that good

ain't usin' it
is not doing (something); not attending (a place or an event); not dealing with (a person)

B

bidwiss
card game (similar to gin rummy)

boys
hustlers

bulldagger
lesbian

bump on up
to enter

C

camp
in American English, refers to the culture of the drag world; in British English, it applies to gay culture in general

carry on
to perform; to party

child
gay friend; lover; gay man

church girls
gay men who frequent church

coins
money; wages

cut up
to laugh and joke

D

data
gossip; news

deep
serious; sincere; thorough; through and through

diction
speech

to die for
the best

dishing
to sarcastically insult; to gossip; to send up (the non-gay black equivalent is "dissing")

down
well done; well prepared; plenty

drag
cross-gender dressing

E

edit
to interrupt speech with grunts, words, phrases of approval


195

F

family
gay community; members of gay clique, such as the "church girls"

fashions
clothes

feature
to turn up; to appear; to put in an appearance

feeling it
in the mood

festive
gay (in the traditional sense), but excessive

fierce
fine; the best

friendgirl
gay friend

G

garments
clothes

get down
to have fun; to party; to dance

get over
to get the better of; to trick

girlfriend
gay friend; any fellow gay man

H

hijra
homosexual; eunuch; transsexual; transvestite; hermaphradite (from hijra , a third sex and gender in Indian society)

ho
whore

husband
lover; sex partner

hustler
man who sells sex, among other commodities, to other men

K

kente
woven cloth of West African origins (see Cole 1990)

kufi
Afro-Muslim cap, popularized by Black Muslim and "back to Africa" movements in the African-American community

L

last
best; finest

the Life
being gay

M

Miss Thing
title for gay man (especially if the man's name is unknown), used out of respect or jokingly

N

for your nerves
the best

O

one of the children
a member of the gay community

only
the best

outing
exposing a gay person to non-gays

over
the best

P

perch
to sit

punk
southern black prison expression for a gay man (pejorative)

R

read
to reprimand; to reproach (usually comically)

real man
potential husband, lover, or sex partner

rock
to surprise; to shock (often used in the expression "rock my world")

S

the scene
the social institutions frequented by members of the gay community


196

serve
to tell; to express (usually nonverbally); to deliver

shade
attitude

shady
sly

sissy
gay man (not necessarily pejorative)

sister
best gay friend

snap
to click fingers as emphasis to verbal monologue

spook
to expose

stuff
sex; sex partner

T

tea
gossip

through
angry; had enough

tired
not worthy of attention; all used up; trashy

toast
folk poem

tough
very good

trade
sex partner; hustler; man

trash
to put down; to gossip about

twirl
sashay

U

use
to do; to attend; to deal with

V

vogue
to dance imitating typical poses of models in Vogue

W

work
to cruise


197

 

Preferred Citation: Hawkeswood, William G. One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1996 1996. http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft6t1nb4dd/