What You Need To Know About The Reason So Many People Say, 'Yas Queen!'

Why Do People Say 'Yas, Queen'? How Drag Queens, Lady Gaga & Broad City Made A Viral Meme

Chances are that if you've tried on a new black mini skirt in front of a friend, you're a fan of Lady Gaga, or you've watched even one episode of "Broad City," you've heard the words, "YAS QUEEN!" gleefully shouted at least once, perhaps delivered as "yas Queen yas," simply and elegantly pronounced as "yaass," or with an extra flourish along the lines of, "yas Queen, slay!"

What you may not know about where "yas queen" comes from is the back story involving drag queens and a little something known as cultural appropriation.


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If you've caught yourself wondering what it even means, here is the top definition from Urban Dictionary: "Anything applause-worthy, fierce. Can add as many AAAs and SSSSs to drive the point home. [Ex.] Gurl saw your outfit on Empire Last Night. YAS Queen. Pronounced YAAA-SSS-SSS QUEEN!"

These days, this uplifting bit of slang is often attributed to either Lady Gaga and/or Ilana Glazer on Broad City. We'll get there, but the fact of the matter is that the words "yas queen" have been around for at least 3 decades, if not longer.

While us fierce females might use the term to empower other women and make us feel as though we are truly getting down with our baddest selves, women have nothing — zero, nada, and zilch — to do with the origin of the phrase.

"Yas queen" was first heard being used in New York City back in the 1980s by gay men attending drag balls.

If you don't know what a drag ball, is please stop everything you are doing and watch the amazing documentary about drag ball culture called Paris Is Burning. (Frankly, I consider it to be required viewing if you consider yourself to be a human existing on planet Earth, so there you go.)


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Drag balls were massive events where drag queens would gather and literally strut their stuff.

There were often themes — passing as straight was even a theme once — and if you were working the runway in your look you could rest assured that you would hear the words "yas queen" bellowed by more than one person out there. (I mean, if you were doing it right, that is.)

Tragically, the AIDS crisis wiped out many icons of this era, and like many of their other traditions, there are only a few folks left keeping the true flame alive. 

Nowadays, "yas queen" has become part of our vernacular.

You can trace the moment this phrase first went viral to the summer of 2013, when a man obsessed with Lady Gaga had the opportunity to see his own personal queen appear in person right in front of his own two eyes and lost.his.mind, yelling "YASSSSSSSS" in a moment that soon made Internet history.


A post shared by VERSAYCE (@johnnyversayce) on Aug 21, 2013 at 6:00pm PDT


It's also kind of where the rest of hetero America decided to take the phrase and use it, often without understanding its origins, which, ICYMI, is walking the very thin tightrope of what is known as cultural appropriation.

But now you are aware and conscious of the true history of this fun saying!

You are a wise, hip, knowing soul who can acknowledge FIERCENESS when she sees it and who knows exactly where the hip new slang she's slinging came from. (Just be sure not to forget it.)

And because of this, I give you official permission to buy and wear anything with "Yas Queen" written on it and to share as many "Yas Queen" memes and GIFs are your heart delights.


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr.