So, as a possibly interesting aside, gay men often refer to one another as boys. But past a certain age, that’s much less heard.

It’s totally normal for example, to hear a (white) gay man in his thirties refer to an age-peer paramour as a “hot boy,” a “cute boy” or even a “beautiful boy.”

Black gay culture is a little different, and I think the use of the term boy is less common there, but I don’t feel entirely qualified to say.

But I’ve often wondered about how we white gay men call one another boys. In some ways, it’s just in-group language, something we do to be part of our special culture.

I remember once, I mentioned to a straight buddy that I had cruised “this really hot boy” last night. He looked at me funny. Like, boy? The use of the term was so incongruous to him that he briefly thought I literally meant an adolescent rather than a man in his 30s.

The arguments against calling grown women girls are clear and compelling. With our cultural history of infantalizing grown women, that’s a clear no-go for me.

So is it different for gay men? Since men have traditionally held the reins of power, I suppose maybe it is, though we gay men certainly have our own toxic issues with idolizing youth.

Sorry for the meander, but your story got me thinking a little, perhaps with my conscious CEO trying to make some unconscious connections!

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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