A young gay man, usually in his late teens or early twenties, getting his first taste of gay life. He might still be a closet case or he might have been out and proud since he was 12, but he has only recently started prowling the gay scene as a legal adult, especially if he's in college and away from his parents' watchful eyes for the first time. He starts out naïve, and risks being exploited by the older men around.
Appearance-wise, he's stereotypically rail-thin with a boyish face and minimal facial and body hair. If white (and he usually is, where fiction is concerned), he'll be bleached-blonde with skin that's either pale or artificially tanned. His clothing style will be on the preppy side, and he will wear flip-flops regardless of the weather. note
As he adapts to the gay scene, he will begin to realize the power he holds over other men with his youthful looks and might become full of himself. If the story has a darker tone, his life may devolve into a hedonistic spiral of sex and drugs, especially if he was already on the road to addiction before coming out. If the story covers enough time, he'll hopefully be brought down to earth sometime in his 30's, when his maturity kicks in and/or his boyish looks start to fade. At which point, he begins to morph into some other gay trope.
The etymology of the word is a little ambiguous, but it's generally agreed to refer to the snack food Twinkies, because they're gold, delicious, and full of cream, but have absolutely no nutritional value. Similar terms include "cub" for young bears, "baby dyke" for lesbians, and "baby queer" as a more general term. This is essentially the caterpillar to the butterflies of the other gay archetypes. See Uke for the rough Japanese equivalent. Arguably the gay Spear Counterpart to The Ingenue.
Not to be confused with Princess Peach's infant star helper, "Twinking", a gaming term referring to lower level characters using hand-me-downs from their higher level characters that are still enough to make them overpowered, or God Moding.
- Jetlad in Top 10: The Forty-Niners, though he notably avoids the "full of yourself" phase.
- Elio from Call Me by Your Name fits the trope, probably even more so than the character in the book, given he's played by Timothée Chalamet.
- To some extent, Michael in Parting Glances. This movie also contains a subversion in the form of Peter ("you're into the realm of the Supertwinkie") who is actually "a wolf in Twinkie clothing." Also Nick used to be 'quasi-Twinkie'.
- Andre from But I'm a Cheerleader is probably the campiest version of this trope to date.
- As the World Turns: Creative, pretty boy Luke Snyder realizes he's gay, crushes on his straight best friend and is very sensitive. He eventually falls in love with straight-acting but still very twinky Noah.
- Days of Our Lives: Teenage Will Horton discovered his sexuality through walking around shirtless, copious weeping, flirting with his incredibly hot and wicked stepfather EJ and bonding with eventual boyfriend/husband and Straight Gay Sonny.
- Game of Thrones:
- Ser Loras Tyrell fits the physical description to a tee, but the trope is somewhat subverted with regards to his romance with Lord Renly Baratheon (who is an "otter") because Loras is the emotionally dominant partner in their relationship despite being a few years younger.
- It was unclear in Season 3 what Olyvar's sexual orientation was, but it's confirmed in "Breaker of Chains" that he's gay.
- Arguably, all the gay boys from Glee fit the bill given their age and being at a point of self-discovery, but Kurt and Sebastian are the closest in characterization, albeit in different ways.
- Beecher in his relationship with Keller
- Also, Timothy Kirk, though he's a much more minor character. Pretty well summarized by Reverend Cloutier, after Kirk makes a sexual advance on him: "You've made a lifetime out of being adorable, sexy in a lost-little-boy kind of way, but ... it's time for you to be a man." Kirk may be bisexual though, since he was involved with women outside prison (he's in there after leaving his baby to die).
- Justin from Queer as Folk (Nathan in the UK version). The series opens with him going to Babylon for the first time where he meets the older Brian, who takes his virginity. Their on-and-off relationship serves as the backbone of the series. The original idea for the closing scene in the series finale was to show a brand new baby gay come of age by visiting Babylon the same way Justin had, showing that the main characters' lives as gay people were just a few of many.
- Maxxie of Skins fits the description in appearance, but in personality he seems to be a bit savvier. We think. He never gets enough screen time for us to really tell.
- Jack from Will & Grace, in the episodes which flash back to his teens.
- Brandon Wright and Dante from The Wire are both twinks, but played in slightly different ways; Brandon is more the naive and easily led type, while Dante shows signs of arrogance and a tendency to try to manipulate Omar, with his jealousy being one of the factors to drive a wedge between them.
- Todd Grimshaw in Coronation Street is a self-centred twink who has used his attractiveness to break up a heterosexual relationship involving the older Marcus, a bisexual who tried to go straight with a girl, only for Todd to take pleasure in wrecking it. Todd is not a nice boy to know.
- Discussed in How to Get Away with Murder - Oliver accuses Connor of treating him like "a disposable twink". Connor rebottles this accusation saying Oliver is too old to be a twink anyway.
- Kenny, the main character of The Real O'Neals, is an Irish-Catholic teen who has recently come out and is struggling to fit in on the gay scene. While he does has his moments of self-centeredness, mostly he's just awkward, and since he's still in high-school, a sexual relationship is still out of the question.
- Chase in Multiplex jumps into this role within a few days of his first homosexual experience. He then piles on the Camp Gay, much to the annoyance of the series other gay character, Neil.
- Rich from Go Get a Roomie! identifies as a twink, to the point where he realizes he's growing a beard invokes an identity crisis.
- Whithers from Smoke Fur And Stone is lean, attractive and hairless. Of course, being a shape-shifter, he doesn't have a true form and adopted a twinky one to further his own goals. Which are world-domination. Just kidding - he just wants to get off his lonely island and reach the mainland.
- Family Guy
- Referenced in a Cutaway Gag, where they're watching a documentary about Twinkie the Kid, which implies him to be gay.
- Also mentioned in the episode "Are You There, God? It's Me, Peter" where Peter, after meeting God and knowing he's about to die, laments that he's not going to see Stewie grow up to be a man...loving twink.