DL / Down-Low Slang term meme examples.

DL / Down-Low (Gay Slang)

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Updated Apr 27, 2023 at 03:15PM EDT by Zach.

Added Apr 26, 2023 at 12:34PM EDT by sakshi.

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Down-Low, sometimes abbreviated to DL, is an AAVE and gay slang term used to describe men who identify as straight and publically date women but still seek out sexual relationships with other men in secret. The term was first popularized after it received widespread media coverage in the early 2000s and has since been used to refer to men outside of Black American communities as well.


The term "down-low" generally means to keep something on the low or to keep something private. It was originally used to describe men from African-American communities who have sex with both men and women but do not identify as gay or bisexual. However, "DL" behavior is not exclusive to Black communities.[1] The term was first popularised to the wider American public after a series of media companies covered the practice of being "DL" in 2001.[2][3]

On August 4th, 2004, an Urban Dictionary[5] user posted a definition for DL for the first time, which defined the term as "a gay male who claims to be straight but nevertheless frequents gay clubs and bathhouses to score gay sex" (seen below).

DL A gay male who claims to be straight but nevertheless frequents gay clubs and bathhouses to score gay sex. Many DLs have families and claim to be happily married. by Robert Lanham, Author of Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees, and Other Creatures Unique to the Republic August 4, 2004 3513 y f 1187 FLAG

A 2006 Slate article identifies "Thugs4Thugs" and "DLBrothas" as internet chatrooms for DL men to talk and meet up.[4]


On May 26th, 2020, Twitter[8] user @saintalx posted a tweet that read, "DL MEN ARE NOT A PRIZE," gathering over 6,000 likes in three years (seen below, left). The tweet alludes to the notion that "straight-acting" DL men consider themselves to be more appealing than openly gay men. On December 1st, 2020, Twitter[9] user @LordeCali posted a tweet that attested to a similar sentiment, gathering over 1,000 likes in two years (seen below, right).

lexi @saintalx DL MEN ARE NOT A PRIZE 3:46 PM May 26, 2020 from Colorado, USA 1,436 Retweets 289 Quotes 6,084 Likes 110 Bookmarks bravo Lethal Homo @LordeCali DL men swear they're some type of prize that people are lucky to come across/be with. You're DL because your homies gone murk you if they find out, not cause you're special. 12:33 AM Dec 1, 2020 301 Retweets 128 Quotes 1,551 Likes 41 Bookmarks

On August 14th, 2020, Twitter[6] user @Key0nte posted a tweet that read, "This why I don’t fw DL niggas 💀," gathering over 3,000 likes in three years (seen below, left). On September 25th, 2020, Twitter[7] user @soberthots_ posted a tweet comparing two dating apps, gathering over 2,800 likes in three years (seen below, right).

Keyoncé @KeyØnte This why I don't fw DL niggas 10 On my way God dont like want im doing i got to stop 1:19 AM - Aug 14, 2020 Yesterday 10:48 PM Oh you're one of those. Okay it's as simple as not hitting me up anymore 448 Retweets 457 Quotes 3,344 Likes 125 Bookmarks : BJÖRK'S UTOPIA @soberthots_ DL Niggas. VS. The Racists @rythescorpio Sep 25, 2020 whew Chile Verzuz JACKI Jack'd Grindr 10:49 PM Sep 25, 2020 738 Retweets 90 Quotes 2,805 Likes : 101 Bookmarks

Various Examples

how long should I wait for your progress? @dommtrains walking into a dl man's apartment 10:12 AM May 21, 2021 579 Retweets 118 Quotes 5,268 Likes 124 Bookmarks : www. 1 12:27 AM ● Giving Head 1356 feet away I prefer to keep things anon here X иоtnis XTRA III 12:26 AM Dl with a pineapple phone case and a pop socket? Delivered 12:27 AM Philaye @PhilayeFilms Gays welcoming their DL married hookup into their home 4:08 PM May 7, 2022 2,853 Retweets 656 Quotes 22.4K Likes 809 Bookmarks we got the dominos everyone @ForeverElSanto no i'm not single on Valentines Day, he's just DL 1:56 PM. Feb 14, 2022 914 Retweets 181 Quotes 9,170 Likes 172 Bookmarks : DL guys dramatically leaving a gay's house, after delighting in gay sex* THAT_CARDASSIAN Sean Garrette @seangarrette when he DL Imao 8:29 PM Jul 26, 2022 :

Search Interest


External References

[1] Internet Archive – CDC

[2] Los Angeles Times – Minority Groups AIDs

[3] New York Times – Secrecy and Stigma

[4]  Slate – Can You Be White and DL?

[5] Urban Dictionary – DL

[6] Twitter – Key0nte

[7] Twitter – soberthots_

[8] Twitter – saintalx

[9] Twitter – LordeCali

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