Click here to return home. Zeke for President, 2004

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Ezekiel J. Krahlin


© 1997 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin
(Jehovah's Queer Witness)

Someone posted a private e-mail regarding my use of a new word
for "gay".  Here is the account of my response, that others
may enjoy what was shared.


At 08:05 PM 3/20/97, someone wrote:
>Please advise, when, by whom Thracian was first used
>to denote gay or queer. It sounds to me, a slight
>knowledge of classical Greek in background, 
>like a sensible alternative for "gay" people or
>tendencies, which do not conform to the usual
>stereotypes - but who does, anyway...

Thank you for your interest.  The idea to use "Thracian" as an
alternative for "gay male" came from one person, and one
person alone: me. I was thinking about a Greek word to mirror
the one we already have for "gay female", which is, of course,
"Lesbian". So I first tried to find a Greek island that
sounded good, but I didn't.  I laughed when I thought of the
island Crete, for surely "Cretan" was not a good word.  Then I
thought of different towns and cities...but alas, nothing
seemed right there, either.  Then I decided to examine regions
of Greece, especially in the ancient eras.

During this research, I learned that ancient Macedonia--which
gave birth to our magnificent Alexander the Great--was
originally called "Thrace" by the ancient Greeks.  (Later,
after calling it Macedonia, they called the region further
east, "Thrace".) Thrace and Macedonia both have a rich
cultural influence mixed with the great history of Hellenic
and Hellenistic cultures.  So "Thracian" became the word I
decided to use...both for all GayFolk (males and females), as
well as for gay men specifically.

An Internet acquaintance, Fireweaver, suggested we use the
term "Hellenic" (instead of Thracian) for all GayFolk, and
reserve "Thracian" as a specific alternative to "gay men".  I
found that to be an excellent idea, as it would eliminate the
chauvinist application of "gay" to define homosexual women and
men, as well as just the men.  So now, we have this lovely
triad:  Hellenic, Lesbian, Thracian.  I have begun using
"Hellenic" and "Hellene" per Fireweaver's wonderful

>I would like to hear in more detail, what you 
>mean by Thracian? Is it just another word
>to contrast with common usage - or do you
>mean something specific to certain "gay" tendencies?

I mean "Thracian" as common usage, not as something to
describe a particular type of gay person.  However, this word
does instill a more dignified sense of the homosexual
male...with a hint of the warrior. And this, I do like.

To me--as well as to others--"gay" comes off as another
stereotype word that creates an expectation of homosexual men
to behave flighty like a butterfly.  I now quote from my
recent essay, "New Declaration Of Independence":

---begin quote

...I propose the new label "Thracian" over "gay male," to
symbolize the new-found empowerment of the homophile community
in this century's closing decade.  The word "gay" perpetuates
a stereotype of ourselves as flighty, emotional, and
frivolous...not to be taken seriously, as a citizen, as a
human being, or as anything else!  (Surely, women have a
similar complaint against male chauvinists.)

     "Lesbian" is a beautiful term for the homosexual female;
as its name comes from a Greek Island with a rich, classical
history.  The region of Thrace also has a great history, and
likewise plays an honored role in Hellenic culture...hence I
coin the term "Thracian" for those who are commonly thought of
as "gay male"...."Hellenic" can be the general term for both
homophile women and men, who are sick of the belittling and
ineffectual descriptor, "gay".

---end quote

>Thank's for your consideration

Not at all.  I encourage all Hellenes to come up with
additional, graceful and dignified words to add to our very
limited lexicon. Any society that reveres, respects, or loves
something...usually has many words as subtle variations on the
object of that love. And very few words are provided for those
things a society cares little about.  I believe as we enter
the age of global village extended societies, that many doors
of diversity will open up for our Lesbian/Thracian
family...and it's only up to us to grasp the opportunities,
and reinvent ourselves in much greater and brighter ways.