03/29/2013 01:25 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Why You're a 'Faggot'

Gay men get stereotyped constantly. It should be simple: Gay men are sexually/romantically attracted to other men. That's all "I'm gay" should tell someone. Instead, a landslide of assumptions follows the the word "gay."

For a long time, if you were gay, society assumed you were effeminate, a deviant and a pervert. As the LGBT rights movement gained momentum, the stereotypes became more nuanced, but not necessarily any more flattering.

For over a year I researched the words that people use to describe gay men -- words like "faggot," "pillow biter," "queer," "gym bunny," "bear," "twink," "homosexual" and even "gay" -- to get at the heart of these assumptions.

I asked an (insanely talented) artist friend, Joe Sinness, to create artwork based on my findings. Below you'll find a few words with my favorite histories and my favorite artwork.

Every gay man has to struggle with these words, and getting to know the etymology/history/mythology surrounding the words might make them less destructive. I hope you find that this is true for you.

The Words That Define Us

For more information on the artwork, click here.