If you’re a gay man who doesn’t like to refer to himself as gay, there is a new term available to help separate yourself from the rest of us sissies: androphile. Earlier this month, its creator, Nicolas Chinardet, gave an interview to the BBC to explain the basis of the term. “I think homosexual is a bit clinical, and lots of people use it negatively,” Chinardet explained.
“‘Gay’ has a certain lifestyle attached to it, which I don’t recognise myself in.”
Yes, he’s one of those girls, and yeah, I’m trolling with this sentence, sis. Chinardet claims he doesn’t relate to “the clichés you could attach to the ‘gay’ scene.” Despite working as a club photographer, he explains, “I don’t go clubbing. I don’t like shopping.”
What is the white gay equivalent of the mocking Black colloquialism, “Oooh, you so different?” Insert that here. That’s what the lick reads as far as androphile is concerned.
As for the term’s inception, Chinardet noted that he came up with it in the early 2000s. “I made it up from my vague knowledge of Greek,” he explained. “Putting two bits together” – the prefix ‘andro,’ meaning man, and ‘phile,’ denoting a love for something – “to come up with androphile.”
Apparently, androphile is a person of any gender who loves men or is sexually attracted to men. Let Chinardet tell it: “It’s a polite, nonspecific way to ask what a certain person is attracted to. An androphilic man is homosexual, while an androphilic woman is heterosexual.”
Nice try looping in women, but it’s very apparent the term was created for same gender loving men who reject what is considered to be gay culture. It is designed to separate gay men from those gay kind of men. Gay men who are considered effeminate, listen to Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, enjoy going to the club, and yes, actually like shopping.
To wit, BBC writer Chris Stokel-Walker notes that right-wing leaning gay men have particularly taken a likening to the separatist term. Stokel-Walker goes on to invoke the alt-right, which is just another way of describing a white nationalist, which is usually a nicer way of saying white supremacist, which is ultimately just a lot of word salad to describe a white racist asshole.
Indeed, Stokel-Walker goes on to speak to self-described libertarian and “alt-right” (a racist) sympathizer Henning Diesel, who says he rejects “gay” and Ariana Grande, opting instead to describe his “sexual orientation as homosexual” and his personality to be filled with “typically male characteristics like courage or diligence – very traditional aspect.”
One can be all these things and be gay, though. And hate to play spoiler, but if your aim is to come across as “traditional,” by default, you will never it that because you’re ascribing to standards that never truly considered your same sex attraction. But hey, that racist gay who loathes Ariana Grande (who makes amazing thotty pop bops, by the way) got it.
I should note that Nicolas Chinardet did not particularly care for this article — notably after finding out what sort of folks have embraced androphile.
In a blog post, Chinardet writes: “I have never really used the term other than in that profile and for simplicity’s sake, I routinely and happily describe myself as ‘gay,’ since it’s a short-hand that everybody will recognise and understand. And following the discovery that the word is now favoured by all sorts of (to my eyes) unsavoury characters, ‘gay’ will certainly remain my descriptor of choice for the foreseeable future.”
Translation: Yo, it was never that serious and please don’t link me with those fuck ass racists.
Unfortunately, Chinardet may not be using the term much, but the sentiment behind its intention lingers on. Case in point, I just found out about the term “goys,” which is a term for men who are attracted to other men but hate the gay label. Bonus: goys hate to have anal sex, too. Why do they hate it? Unclear, but maybe “painting” is involved. Please advise.
As a Black gay man who is often relegated to covering issues like hyper masculinity amongst Black men collectively and the mythology about Black homophobia being so much more heinous than what’s found in other racial and ethnic groups, I have to say it’s tickling to see white gays sound as silly publicly because, in the end, there is rampant ignorance and insecurities for men attracted to other men in every community. That is due to the pervasiveness of patriarchy.
While I think it’s fair for individuals who feel as if they exist outside the mores of what is considered “gay culture” to state such, going as far as to call yourself something else is a fool’s errand. Being gay but not calling yourself that will not preclude you from the prejudices and biases that stem homophobia. Not to mention, the term gay itself has always been pretty broad.
It is a term that means someone of the same gender having a predominant sexual attraction to individuals of the same gender. It has nothing to do with shopping, the club, or pop stars. Gay can be anything to anyone. It’s up to the individual to define themselves based on their terms independent of anyone else’s preconceived notions that ultimately aren’t our business. If you don’t see yourself in a particularly world, carve your own space in it.
I would know: I’m Black and bypass biases all the time. It gets better — but not with a new term no one is going to use outside of the basket of deplorables.