Why Queer?

Historically the term queer was used as hate speech demeaning the gay community. Since then the word queer has been reclaimed by activists who use the term to refer broadly to any persons that defy sexual normalcy.[1]  The phrase queer functions as an umbrella term that can encompass the range of identities which fall outside of heterosexuality, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified individuals and those that don’t fit neatly into these categories. In addition, the concept of queer works to un-fix static identities, preventing the strict codification of binaries like male/female or homosexual/heterosexual.

In this way, the term queer allows for conversations supporting the past—acknowledging its derogatory use and making space for those that fought to claim the identities of gay and lesbian.  Queer is inclusive of younger generations that resist clear gender and sexuality definitions.  And because of queer’s inherent resistance to codification, it leaves space for the as-yet-unknown conversations of the future.


[1] Gabriel, Paul, “Why Grapple with Queer when you can fondle it? Embracing our erotic intelligence.”  Gender, Sexuality and Museums, edited Amy K. Levin. Routledge: New York, 2010. Pg 71.

One thought on “Why Queer?

  1. Pingback: QUEER and why it’s an important word | Shut Up, Sit Down

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