Californian power-pop band The Morning Benders have changed their name to the somewhat blander Pop ETC. after belatedly discovering that ‘bender’ is a UK slang term used to describe gay men.
The band said on their website that reason for this was that “We simply cannot go on using a name that is demeaning to the gay community. The reason we are making music is to reach and unite as many different kinds of people as possible, and the idea that our name may be hateful towards anyone makes us sick.”
Frontman Christopher Chu said “As soon as we had landed in London, people started asking us about our band name. “What does ‘Bender’ mean to you?” people would ask. “Are you seriously called The Morning Benders? was a common question.”
He added they were told The Morning Benders would be the US equivalent of a British band being called The Morning Fags in America.
Chu recounts his initial reaction to the news, saying he thought it made the band “look hateful, or at best, ignorant.”
Ironically, many bands of the US queercore movement in the 1990s – a movement of hardcore and punk bands with all-LGBT or predominately LGBT members – proudly took offensive or homophobic terms as band names in an attempt to reclaim those words: The Dicks, Big Boys, The Queers, Three-Dollar Bill (Bent as). Others included Pansy Division, Super-8 Cumshot, ASSACRE and Sister George.