The following list consists of formally-accepted words, as well as slang in Singapore's 4 official and other minority languages (Singlish), used to refer to gay men and lesbians. Terms for transgender and intersex people, while not strictly applicable to gay people, are also included in this section.


PLU - acronym for People Like Us, the main organization involved in the struggle for gay equality. It is also used as a slang word for LGBT people, especially amongst the younger internet-savvy generation. Only in fashion for less than a decade, but rapidly becoming the most popular.

Muffadet - Singlish corruption of 'hermaphrodite', used not with the proper meaning of a person with genitalia from both sexes, but as a synonym for an effeminate male. Formerly popular especially with older Eurasians.

Sister - slang for a transwoman (male-to-female transgender, transvestite or transsexual person). Also commonly used by some portions of the gay community to refer to close male gay friends.

A.Q. or A.K. - acronym for Ah Kua or Ah Qua, the Hokkien word for transvestite (see below).

A.J. - a popular term probably a deprivation from Pig Latin. Mainly used about the Chinese/locally educated community as well as prevalent amongst the younger generation. The term is often used as code, in situations where the speakers wish not to allow outsiders to understand the conversation. Example: 'Is he AJ or straight?', 'My classmate is also AJ.'

G - abbreviation of 'gay'. Example: 'Is he a G?'

On - slang meaning 'gay'. Example: 'Is he on?'

302 - Singapore Armed Forces (Military) designation of both homosexual and transvestite/transsexual


Pondan - an effeminate male; increasingly being used by the Malaysian - media to refer also to non-effeminate gay men.

Bapok- derogatory word for an effeminate male.

Kedik - derogatory word, derived from the Tamil 'kiddi' (see below), also meaning an effeminate male.

Peliwat - homosexual; derived from the Arabic word "liwat" which means "sodomy" or homosexual act, a serious crime under Shari'a law.

Luti - Arabic for homosexual, literally the Biblical Lot; not commonly used by the Malays.

Homoseksual - obviously derived from the English.

Mak nyah - Transwoman. "Mak" is a colloquial contraction of "emak", meaning "mother". The term "mak nyah" was coined by the Malaysian male transsexual community (in 1987 when they tried to set up a society but was denied by the Malaysian Registrar of Societies) as a preferred substitute for "pondan" or "bapok" which generally refers to men who are effeminate homosexual (and cisgender) males.

Ponen - an effeminate male (less commonly used).

Pak nyah - Transman (female-to-male transgender or transsexual person); perceived to be much rarer than mak nyahs.

Abang - literally 'older brother', but used as slang for transmen.

Waria - an Indonesian contraction of 'wanita' meaning woman and 'pria' meaning man, thus coining a word for a third sex, usually meaning transgender people.

Wadam- a contraction of 'wanita' and 'Adam', literally a woman who looks like Adam; masculine female or butch lesbian.

Cunta - uncommonly-used word for 'hermaphrodite'.

Khunsa - an Arabic-derived term for 'hermaphrodite' (intersex people) used by the Islamic Religious Department in Malaysia which permits such an individual to undergo medical treatment to convert to one or the other sex. Also formerly used as a term for lesbians.

Mukhannis - an Arabic-derived term for a pre-operative transgender people; used by the Islamic Religious Department in Malaysia which forbids such a person to undergo sex-reassignment surgery, cross-dresses, wears make-up or even act effeminately.

Mukhannas - an Arabic-derived term for an effeminate male who does not want to change his physical sex; used by the Islamic Religious Department in Malaysia which forbids such a person to cross-dress, wear make-up or even act effeminately.

Kes cermin - literally means "mirror case"; prison slang for an inmate convicted for a homosexual crime.



Tóng xìng lìan (同性恋): "homosexual love".

Tóng xìng lìan zhe (同性恋者) - "proper" or "scientific" term for a homosexual. The suffix 者 zhe ('person' or 'one who') is frequently dropped--incorrectly according to many grammarians--in colloquial Mandarin usage in Singaporean (as well as in China).

Tóng xìng aì (同性爱) - homosexuality (lit. "homosexual love"); a more respectful term than 'tóng xìng lìan' (同性恋).

Bō li (玻璃) - (lit. "glass") slang for male homosexual. It draws an analogy between the opening or mouth of a glass bottle and the male anus.

Tóng zhì (同志) - properly meaning "comrade", but used as slang for homosexual in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Not commonly used by Singaporean Chinese.

Jǐe mèi (姐妹) - literally meaning "sisters"; a term of endearment used between transwomen, or even effeminate gay men, to address each other.

Kǒng tóng zhèng (恐同症) - a recently-coined scientific term for "homophobia", a product of Western culture.

Yīn yáng rén (陰陽人) - an intersex person; literally meaning "a person with feminine and masculine qualities".

Rén yāo (人妖) - a term for transgender people who usually perform on stage; literally meaning "human monster" or more euphemistically, "enchanting person". It is the Mandarin version of the Hokkien A-kua. This term is typically offensive among Chinese speakers and is mainly applied to South-east Asian transgender people, especially Thai katoey or ladyboys. Ethnic-Chinese transgender people themselves almost universally avoid the term, favoring less deprecative descriptions.

Bìan xìng zhe (變性者) - scientific term for a trangender person who has undergone sex reassignment surgery, hormonal treatment or lifestyle changes.

Bàn zhūang húang hòu (扮裝皇后) - cross-dressing queen; drag queen.

Yì zhūang pì (異裝癖) - literally meaning "obsession with the opposite (sex's) attire"; cross-dressing.

Zhōng xìng rén (中性人) - an intersex person; lit. "neutral" or "middle sex person".

Kùa xìng rén (跨性人) - recently coined term for a transgender individual; it has a somewhat scientific/technical ring.


 Qûa - a transvestite, or more recently, with sex reassignment surgery becoming more available, also a transsexual woman. Used in the past to refer to male cross-dressers who perform in Chinese operas or 'wayangs' as they are locally called.

Or  - literally meaning 'black crow', it is used as a covert form of  Qûa , referring to the cackle that crows make, which sounds like a contracted form of  Qûa . Not widespread.

 Pong - 'pong' is the Hokkien translation of 'pump'; used to refer to a straight man who enjoys being the passive partner in anal intercourse, i.e. getting 'pumped'.

Mo·-Tau-Hu - literally 'to knead soybean/tofu'; used to refer to sex between two 'bottoms' or effeminate/passive gay men, where their soft, limp penises do not respond to each other's fondling, and sex is an exercise in futility.


Bō lei (玻璃) - Cantonese version of the Mandarin "bō li" (see above); a gay man. Uncommon in Cantonese.

Gēi (基) - Cantonese transliteration of the English word 'gay'.

Gēi lóu (基佬) - a gay person/fellow.

Gáau gēi (搞基)- to indulge in homosexuality.

Sí fāt gwái (屎忽鬼) - literally meaning "bottom devil"; derogatory and offensive term for a gay man.

Tùhng seng lihn (同性戀) - Cantonese version of the Mandarin "tóng xìng lìan zhe".



Kiddi - an effeminate male.

Potaipaiyeh - an effeminate male

Ombohthu - an effeminate gay man

Oombi - a male who enjoys performing oral sex on men

Sutthadi - a male prostitute.

Akkaa - literally meaning 'older sister' but used as slang for transwomen.

Ohrinapunarchiyaalar - recently-coined scientific word for 'homosexual', used in newspapers and documentaries. It literally means 'person who has intercourse with a similar kind'.


Swawarga bhogi - scientific word for homosexual; "swa" meaning "self", "warga" meaning "type" and "bhogi" meaning "a person who has sex".

Flute - one who likes oral sex.

Vadanasuratham - oral sex.




Amraprasand - scientific word for homosexual.

Hijra (South Asia) - a member of the "third gender" in India.

Maasti- sexual play between men who are not necessarily homosexual, mainly to relieve sexual tension.

Samlaingik- scientific word for homosexual.