Twink Again

This Jonathan Bailey discourse proves why we need ‘homosexuality training’

Jonathan Bailey is one of today’s hottest actors (literally and figuratively). With roles in everything from Bridgerton to Fellow Travelers to Heartstopper, he’s got the gays in the palm of his hand, but he’s also causing discourse just in time for Pride. Today’s question: Is Bailey a twink? The answer, of course, is no, but that isn’t stopping the internet from fiercely debating it.

The drama started when X account @dilfscentral posted a gif of Bailey shirtless from Fellow Travelers, adding the caption, “Need a twink like this so bad.”

Folks were quick to call out the account’s misuse of the term twink (aka “mistwinkifying,” which has been a hot topic on the internet all year). In the gif, Bailey is muscular, hairy and in his mid-30s, while twinks — as the term is traditionally used in queer culture — are skinny, hairless, and young.

But one of the post’s top replies corrected @dilfscentral in the wrong direction, reading, “So close! That is a BEAR.”

Bears, of course, are known for their bigger builds and hairier bodies. Bailey would be somewhere in the middle: in gay terminology, perhaps an otter, a wolf, or a hunk, as plenty of people pointed out.

“We need homosexuality training,” added one user. “This is the clearest otter I have ever laid eyes on.”

Why do any of the terms matter? They’re longstanding parts of queer culture, and misusing them can feel belittling. On the other hand, they’re arbitrary labels, which many people would rather do away with altogether. Maybe their frequent misuse signals the end of an era — or maybe they’ll fall out of favor with the general public, while queer folks keep using them with their intended meanings. 

For now, though, folks will keep debating if Bailey is a twink, a bear, an otter, or any other number of gay tribes. It wouldn’t be Pride Month without a round or two of mind-numbing discourse.

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