Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Diversity Lesson 101: Queer

Queer is a complicated and "radical" term that has been used disparagingly, an outside of the binary way of self-identifying, and an umbrella term to describe sexual/gender minorities.

Queer Historically Seen as an Insult:
The word Queer has typically and historically been used as an insult to gay men and lesbians, it is considered a synonym to "strange", "unusual", and "different" and has been on par with hateful rhetoric such as "faggot", "dyke", "shemale", and "he/she".

Reclamation of the Term by Sexual Liberation Movement:

  • The term has been reclaimed by sexual/gender minorities to be an umbrella term for people who are different from the heterosexual "norm", this term now encompasses those who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Asexual, and Intersexual.

    Queer as a Sexual/Gender Identity:

  • Queer is also a way for people to self-identify with regards to their sexual orientation or gender identity. People who are Queer may feel that sexuality is not just black or white but falls into shades of gray. They do not box themselves into categories such as gay, lesbian, or straight but see sexuality as lying on a continuum with varying degrees. Queer people often describe their sexual orientation as being "pansexual" and are open to males, females, transgender, and intersexual people. Hence, Queer as a sexual orientation is different than "bisexuality" which conveys an attraction to males and females and works within the gender binary system. Sexuality for many Queer identified people is seen as fluid and changes throughout their lifespan. Their interests, passions, and behaviors change with them as they grow as individuals.

  • Many Queer people also do not box themselves into the gender binary system of male or female. They feel that they are genderqueer and have masculine and feminine aspects to their personality and choose to embrace their gender identity/expression in various ways.


    Anonymous said...

    Excellent Post, and hello readers and writers. On Queers United. Love the blog title love the concept. Our community is in need of so much education , even us old timers. I look to the youth for leadership and fire. We are all part of a garganguan struggle to enlighten those who will not acknowledge what is in front of their faces. People live ,and need to happily on any or all points on the gender continuum - be that hetero normative or anyWHERE in between. Thank you for all you do here together we will make progress.

    fondly - a queer united !

    Queers United said...

    hey somenotesonliving, thanks so much for stopping by and I am so very happy to here that you are a Queer united! hehe All of us need to gather together and fight for our equality, united we stand, divided we fall.

    DavidFSF said...

    I believe Queer is an appropriate umbrella term for us simply because saying LGBTIQ is very clumsy. When gay women started to call themselves lesbians, we lost our single unifying term "gay." Add bisexuals and trans and str8s without h8 and the need for a blanket term becomes obvious. Unless someone comes up with a better one, I'm sticking with Queer. And I always capitalize the Q in print to identify it as a class of people plus it differentiates it from the pejorative version of the term.

    Natasha Yar-Routh said...

    A very nice and concise summary, thank you. I identify as pansexual and gender queer and it's nice to see an accurate representation of us.

    Renee said...

    I just thought that I would add a comment. Even though some in the gay and lesbian community has reclaimed the word Queer. It is still my belief that those of that identify as straight should really avoid using the term. No matter how we mean it there will always be an element of privilege in our speech. I always use the terms same gender loving or gay and lesbian. It is best to always err on the side of caution and be respectful of being that identify as GLBT.

    Queers United said...

    Renee thank you for your sensitivity and for always being such an amazing ally. I am perfectly fine with queer, but if it something that worries you or makes you feel uncomfortable by all means go with what feels right.

    T. R Xands said...

    Yay zombie post! I agree with this and, despite some misgivings I still have with the term queer, I still use it to identify myself. I agree with Renee, and also add that I try to avoid referring to anyone else as queer unless they actually want to be, since I know quite a few still take offense to the word, and I can understand that.

    The Bi Avenger said...

    I would add to this that the word queer can also have radical and/or political connotations, and also that according to a more academic definition/queer theory, queer could potentially be anything not heteronormative. Thus, straight people might identify as queer if they are (for instance) into BDSM.

    I personally identify as bisexual and queer. I'd like to address the belief that the term "bisexual" reinforces the gender binary, but I don't have time right now. Hopefully I can do so later.

    Queers United said...

    I think it's debatable and an interesting concept, I will bring it up for tomorrows open forum topic and we can discuss further.

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