May 3, 2024

Yas Queen: Tracing the History, Culture, and Evolution of an Iconic Phrase

The Origins of "Yes Queen"

"Yes Queen, or more famously pronounced "Yas Queen", is a term that has pierced through conversational texts, social media posts, and television scripts. But where does it stem from? And what does it symbolize?

Birth of the Queen

"Yes Queen" finds its roots in gay slang, where it was initially used as a slur against gay men who were seen as acting like a queen. It later became reclaimed by the LGBT community, drag queens and the ballroom scene, where it transformed into a phrase of endearment and empowerment.

A Reclaimed Empowerment

The term "Yes" also came from urban gay slang, employed as a means of recognizing and expressing excitement. Hugely popularized on the internet in 2013, it soon evolved its variations such as "Yes honey" and "Yes ma'am", often quoted by celebrities like Nicki Minaj.

Becoming Mainstream

After the viral Youtube video of a Lady Gaga fan screaming "YAAASSSS GAGA", the term "Yes Queen" entered mainstream vocabulary. The effect was further amplified when it was featured on the TV show Broad City in 2015, signifying approval or excitement when someone had achieved something impressive or touched a soul.

A Versatile Term

"Yes queen" is very versatile, simultaneously an exciting affirmation, an empowering term, and a celebratory cheer. It originated in the 1980s ball culture in New York City as a way to celebrate individuals for their confidence, fashion sense, and fierceness.

The Sacred Roots

While the phrase is now common across all social classes, its significance in queer culture is deep-rooted. The term "queen" in "yas queen" is a reclaimed term of endearment or a form of reverence towards someone deserving praise. It was also strictly used to refer to those involved in drag culture. With the success of shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and viral memes, the term became more mainstream in the 2010s.

Appropriation vs Appreciation

With more people using queer slang terms, the question of cultural appropriation arises. Some argue the notion of it being acceptable as long as the origin of the terms is appreciated. The terms were originally created by and for the LGBTQ+ community as a form of code and solidarity. Thus, understanding the history and context behind the language, and its immense significance within queer culture, is crucial.

Originating Culture

Your "yas queen" has echoed from the ballrooms of NYC, inside the Black trans and queer community. They used the exclamation to celebrate their identities and culture. Ball culture allowed for the Black LGBTQ+ community to express themselves and gain recognition through categories like 'femme queen realness' and 'vogueing'.

Supporting the Origin

Though popular now, it is essential to not forget the roots and the struggle of the Black trans and queer individuals who continue to face discrimination and violence. We should pledge to Support Black trans and queer individuals by contributing to organizations like the Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund and working to dismantle discrimination to protect their lives.

Into the Modern Times

The term "yas queen" is now a prevalent internet phrase. It is a celebration of fabulousness and audacity, a confession of a moment that takes your breath away. Born from the ball culture and urban gay slang of the 80s, it has now seeped into our screens and daily lives, thanks to contemporary media.

Women in Pop Culture

TV shows like Broad City, RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and artists like Nicki Minaj have introduced "yas queen" into women’s vocabulary invoking feelings of confidence, allure, and femininity. However, within this vast popularity, it is essential to remember, understand, and respect the term’s origins.

In conclusion, "yes queen", in all its glorious vibrancy, is a term that signifies celebration and support. A term whose roots reach deep into the soils of queer culture, it weaves a narrative of perseverance, beauty, and most importantly, empowerment.


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This is Justin from Tustin, California.

I love men's (he/him/his) fashion and stuff like that. I believe that you are the best person for yourself. Your beauty truly goes beyond these megapixels. Its about enlightening your MENtal health for the manly gay queen queer energy that you perspire.
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