What Does 'It's Giving' Mean? The LGBTQ+ Slang Term Explained
The creativity to resignify or amplify a phrase's meaning is something the LGBTQ+ community has reigned ever since the internet was created. The popular internet slang it's giving has a combination of different cultures, arising from sources like drag queens, queer TV shows, and Black Twitter. But what does it mean to give and in what contexts the term is used? Let's find out in this article.
What Does The Slang Term ‘It's Giving' Mean?
"It's giving" or "giving X" is a slang term used to describe someone or something's look or vibe with a positive ironic connotation, derived from the phrase "giving X vibes." The verb giving becomes impersonal as the “it” that’s doing the giving could really stand for anything, like a celebrity look, a promo for a movie, or a music video, and it’s not literally giving it to anyone in particular.
It's meant to replace the expression "to give off," as in vibes. The term is often portrayed as stereotypical queer slang, similar to expressions like, "yass," and "slay."
How The Expression 'It's Giving' Is Used
It takes a bit of spiritual effort to understand this expression, but think on this example: "It's giving rockstar" would positively describe someone as having a rockstar vibe. On June 29th, 2020, Twitter user RALPHALXNDR posted "it's giving lois griffin" in response to an image of a RuPaul's Drag Race winner's Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga cosplay (shown below).
The term became increasingly popularized over the course of 2020 and 2021, gaining significant attention in late 2021. On December 27th, 2021, musician SZA shared a picture of her enjoying a sunset on the beach, to which user @newjayera sarcastically retweeted the image with the caption "it's giving Hagrid," comparing the singer with the Harry Potter character.
Who created the 'It's Giving' Expression?
"It's giving" originates from African American Vernacular English, specifically Black Trans communities and the New York City Ballroom scene.
One of the earliest bits of content available online with the expression being used comes from a 2019 video of influencer Rolling Ray, a disabled gay man, who appeared in an episode of Divorce Court and used the slang term a number of times, notably introducing himself to the judge by saying, "It’s giving very much how you doing your honor Ms. Judge Lynn Towler" (shown below).
For the full history of It's Giving memes be sure to check out our entry for more information.
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