I am currently writing a novel with a Russian main character. Part of his backstory and something that comes up frequently is that he is, agaisnt all odds, a homosexual transvestite. I am particularly looking for colloquialy used neutral/positive and negative terms for transgenderism, homosexuality, and transvestism.

So far my search online has been fruitless. Every term I find is too formal or I can't corroborate anywhere else (like the use of the word трап in that context).

I am aware that the country currently has a bad reputation when it comes to these subjects, which is why I hope a question like this doesn't seem tasteless, offensive, or out of place. This is simply the inquiry of a writer working on a novel with heavy linguistic themes attempting to enrich his story.

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    The online slang word "трап" has the exact same meaning as its English cousin "trap" and generally refers to cute feminine men that can be mistaken for women. It does not always imply LGBTQ and will unlikely be understood by people who don't browse 4chan or similar websites. As a general note I find your endeavor commendable, but would also suggest making sure that you've researched the LGBTQ situation and transitioning options available to Russians beforehand. Getting a good command of Russian would prove invaluable too as most English articles are skewed and don't describe the whole picture.
    – undercat
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 1:40
  • Is your novel in Russian? Just curious. Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 9:32
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    I'm a native spanish speaker. I'm writing this novel in Spanish, but many of my characters are not native Spanish speakers. I got to say though, after doing so much digging for this particular character I'm interested in learning Russian. Maybe one day I'll get to it, I've been meaning to learn a third language.
    – John Wells
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 1:45

5 Answers 5


Widely understood and neutral/positive:

  • Ему́/ей нра́вятся ма́льчики/де́вочки
  • Он/она́ лю́бит ма́льчиков/де́вочек
  • Он голубо́й / гей
  • Она́ лесбия́нка

Lesser known, colloquial:

  • Ле́сби, би, транс

Official neutral language :

  • гомосексуали́ст,
  • бисексуа́л, транссексуа́л, трансвести́т, трансге́ндер

Official and negative:

  • мужелю́б, мужело́жец

Colloquial and outright derogatory:

  • гомосе́к, педера́ст, пе́дик, ле́сба
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    трансуха for the last category.
    – alamar
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 12:29
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    For completeness' sake, there have been calls in the last decade or so to abandon гомосексуалист in favour of гомосексуал (and гомосексуализм in favour of гомосексуальность), as the existing suffixes are, or can be interpreted as, medically tinged and thus potentially stigmatising. General public response has been largely negative, as with all things perceived to be "PC", but it will probably be more authentic for LGBT people and allies to not use the -ист/-изм suffix. Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 21:32
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    мужеложец sounds way too archaic nowadays. When did you actually hear it in conversation lol? Only if ppl wanna sound funny and intentionally bookish they could use it Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 18:14
  • @Serg Z. Yes, it is quite dated and I only listed it for the sake of completeness. It appeared in the Soviet Criminal Code (Уголовный кодекс СССР) not too long ago. Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 19:57
  • @SergeySlepov the USSR never had a criminal code.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 10:37

Since this is a forum dedicated to knowledge of a language and not to political issues i don't see any justification for suppressing the knowledge in favor of political correctness. This regrettable phenomenon already affects the Western academia and is certainly detrimental to it. A situation which could be described with a famous retort of a renowned witty Russian actress Ranevskaya: "How come, the ass does exist, but the word doesn't?". End of rant.

Some of more or less pejorative or uncomplimentary names for people with alternative sexual preferences or self-identification are:
педик - a male gay (a shorthand of педераст - a boy lover, check out some synonyms)
гомик, гомосек - the same as above (a shorthand of гомосексуалист - a homosexual)
петух - the same as above in prison lingo which in Russia has percolated into the civic life
кобёл - a male-like lesbian, also from prison lingo
буч - the same as above but likely technical rather than pejorative (LGBT lingo, from the English butch having the same meaning)


Colloquially used neutral/positive terms for homosexual male are "голубой" and "гей".
For both transgenders and transvestites common terms are "транс" and "трап"("трэп"). Transvestites are sometimes called "травести" (although this is wrong term!)

The negative names for all these people of course exist (and in many more variants!), but I will refrain from publishing these words.

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    Thank you very much! I understand if you don't want to share words like that, I still appreciate the help.
    – John Wells
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 4:56
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    I believe "транс" is mostly used for transgenders, not for transvestites. For later proper word is "трансвестит". "Травести" is used for women who take roles of young boys in theatre.
    – Alissa
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 10:47
  • @Alissa, you're absolutely right about canonical meaning of word "травести" (that's why I said it's wrong term!), but in real life even transvestites themselves use this word (try google "травести-дива"). As for "транс", it's often used for transgenders and transvestites both, especially when you consider that for the most ordinary people the difference between a transvestite and pre-op transsexual is often not obvious. Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 19:15
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    @IvanOlshansky I didn't say your answer is incorrect. Just added some details.
    – Alissa
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 12:46

I wanna add that offensive words like пидар или пидарас are often used just to insult. Without any connection to actual sexual habits. Post USSR countries are rather homophobic so implying that someone is gay (пидарас) is very very often considered rude. Especially among people 40+ or just "simple people". ;)

But I do not recommend to use it as an insult cause it's very rude and provoking.

You should also bear in mind that many of these rude words are connected with prison culture in USSR. Not just with sex as it is.


Нейтральные синонимы - транс, гей, голубок.

Негативные - пидор, петух, опущенный, педераст, пидарас, гомосек.

Формально - трансвестит-гомосексуал, трансвестит-гей.

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    Голубок isn't neutral. It's actually quite offensive, but just not too dirty. "Опущенный" doesn't mean at all that a person is gay. This term means he was sexually abused in prison, but it has nothing to with his sexual priorities. Same with "Петух". Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 18:12

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