Slang City Mail

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June 8, 2006

Slang of the Week: breeder (noun)
a heterosexual (derogatory)

Tom hoped to find the man of his dreams on the intramural volleyball team, but they were all breeders.

Celebrity quote:
“The nicest part, though, is that they totally accept me [at the gay bar.] You’d think they’d have a problem with it, me being a ‘breeder’ and all. But they totally don’t. It’s ironic, but I actually feel more accepted when I'm with Curtis at a place like that than when I’m with straight people.”
-Fictional character Debbie Ayler, quoted in the story “Gay Man, Unattractive Woman Form Tight Bond” in the satirical newspaper The Onion

People usually think of insults and slurs as being about minority groups, and there do tend to be more such terms. However, this is not always the case. Straights may be the majority, but with this word, which is usually reserved for animals, they have no value except in their ability to produce children.

Speaking of animals, I discovered that in Australia, rams that pursue other males are euphemistically referred to as “shy breeders.” And apparently, gay sheep are not uncommon. According to a 2005 article in the Seattle Times, about 8% of rams are “male-oriented” and have no interest in fatherhood.

While there don’t seem to be any solid studies on how many Americans are gay, some studies give figures as low as 1%, which may have something to do with people’s natural disinclination to discuss their sexual orientation with random survey takers. Perhaps because they don't care what people think of their private lives, rams come closer to the disputed figures from the 1948 Kinsey Report, which claimed that roughly 10% of American men were gay.