OPINION: Using the outdated term ‘breeder’ isn’t cool, it makes you a jerk

by Vinny O’Hara

Hey straight people (and some queer folx), stop using the term “Breeder” because you think it makes you look like an ally or “woke.” Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. 

A couple of weeks ago, a well intentioned but misguided straight person pointed out a group of fellow heterosexuals to me and scoffed about how obnoxious “the breeders” were being. It was said in a hushed, almost secretive tone, as if she was “in” on the lingo—as she were whispering the password to the queer secret clubhouse. 

The term took me aback. It’d been awhile since I’d heard such early 2000’s exclusionary slang. Though she was trying to be an ally, the phrase came out foreign and harsh, even though it was delivered with a smirk. She felt cool. I felt confused. 

Like so many words that originate in the queer community, “breeders” is a term straight people heard a decade after it was already outdated. Maybe they finally discovered Queer as Folk and the original seasons of Queer Eye or maybe they finally feel “woke” enough to use a word that 15 years ago they tried to claim was hate-speech, equivalent to “faggot” or “dyke.” 

Setting aside the absurdity of that decades old claim, there is an incredibly ironic prejudice in straight people now using the word to describe their own community in a way to seem like an ally. 

The implication behind the word breeder is that a person is, in fact, able to have children or a family. When a straight person, such as the one from a few weeks back, uses the term to describe other straight people, the implication is clear: only straight people (and cis ones at that) are able to have children and a family. 

Let’s face it, queer people used the term jokingly for a long time as a sort of “us” vs. “them” distinction. At that time, gay people weren’t allowed to get married or adopt children, so it was an obvious, perhaps bitterly rooted, dig at the lives we weren’t legally allowed to live. But laws have changed, definitions of identity and queerness and family have changed, and it’s no longer some line in the sand to be a “breeder.”

When straight people use that word, they forget about all of the families, parents, and children who make up our community. They forget about the wide range of queerness and gender identity that make couples so much more diverse than just “man” and “woman.” 

Queer parents exist y’all. Queer people can breed. We can adopt or have a surrogate. We have bodies that don’t conform to your normative view and relationships that aren’t binary. “Breeders” also erases and marginalizes bi-sexual people.

We can even come out later in life with a past and a family who may have looked like one of those hetero-appearing units that allies love to whisper “breeder” about. 

The term is outdated. It doesn’t make you woke or in-the-know to toss it around. If anything, it shows just how little you know or care about the queer family unit.

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