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Thread: The usage of the word "queer"

  1. #11
    Druid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flordibel View Post
    From what I've seen as an Extremely Online person in fandom circles, for some reason, it's mostly the younger generations who want to argue that it's a slur and to remove it from the lexicon. My circle of friends (30+) almost all identify as "queer." Because it's a great descriptor for all sorts of sexual identity and gender weirdness!

    The younger kids seem to recognize it as a slur, which is odd, because... I haven't heard queer used as a slur since like, the early 2000s. Faggot? Dyke? Tranny? Yeah. But queer? Nah. It's not rude enough for people these days, I think.
    I've found the same thing! And when conversations get heated that "yes it's a slur" argument is paired with "know your history," which like.. I do, including the part where we took it back?

    Quote Originally Posted by kittyray View Post
    I personally find 'queer' to be the best word to describe my experiences as a whole. I don't want to microlable every aspect of how I experience gender/attraction/and so on, especially because it's so fluid. I wrote this earlier and came back and it seems like Flor has had a similar experience, and I think that's true for a lot of my peers. In general I find umbrella terms really useful, and also have it encompassed into a word instead of an ever-changing-acronym-inevitably-exclusive acronym. I like it, it's comfortable.

    Also like Flor, I haven't really seen it much as an insult in a very long time. I've definitely seen fag and dyke used a lot, and to me those seem like words where it might be more of a personal decision of whether to reclaim or how, but those aren't really my words to speak on.
    Quote Originally Posted by kittyray View Post
    The word queer is what helped me to actually identify as queer. Kind of going back to what I said about microlables, none of them ever really seemed to fit right and the ones that did were such small facets of me that I didn't feel the need to label at all or had aspects I didn't fully connect with, so it all felt very fragmented. Hell, even my self-described pronouns on here is very representative of my somewhat ambivalent relationship to gender and I feel like "queer" covers that more than any label ever could.
    God getting into microlabels would be a whole other conversation haha. I'm glad they're there to give a sense of belonging to some people I guess, but it also seems like they're overall a lot more divisive and make people feel separate from the broader community. They can be cool within relevant conversations but idk, the rainbow was always for all of us.

    Also I totally agree that it feels like it's on a different level than dyke, fag, etc, which are still pretty crass. I was going to say I feel like those should be said only by people they apply to, but I honestly don't even mind other close friends using them as long as it's with love - like I'm sure more than once I've had conversations with my (straight) former roommate that go:
    me: [something gay, like "woah look at this picture of Kristen Stewart"]
    her: "dyyyke!" (affectionate)
    me: ".....ok fair"
    ...but yeah that's very much a personal call, and I know everyone has different comfort levels around them. Interestingly in my own experience - which should come with a grain of salt because I've never lived in particularly conservative places - I've almost never heard those really slurry ones used by homophobes as attacks. It's always the technical ones, like homosexual or lesbian, said in a way that makes it feel like it's a different species or a contagious disease. I heard dyke (negative) ONCE and distinctly remember it because of how surprised I was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonfox View Post
    I am in this exact same boat by the way! In my household many terms were used as slurs. I have a hard time just typing or saying the word lesbian, and though technically, yeah, that's what I am, I always go with wlw/sapphic/gay to describe myself.
    Oh it's cool to see someone else feels the same! Even outside of thinking about the times I've heard it said scathingly, something about it just doesn't feel good? "I'm straight", "I'm gay", "I'm bi", "I'm pan", "I'm queer", but "I'm a lesbian"... idk it just feels like saying we're something ~else~

    Also it's cool that "comfortable" is a recurring theme about the word queer! I feel the same - even as someone with simple/easy words for my specific gender and orientation, queer still feels right too & that feels very unifying with all my other queer friends

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope View Post
    Admittedly the first time I heard someone using it to self describe it rubbed me the wrong way because it had been a slur for a much larger part of my life. However, I think the practice of reclaiming the words used to hurt you is powerful and important. Ultimately I think if someone asks you not to refer to them as that the respectful thing to do is to call them by their chosen identifiers obviously, but it's a little entitiled to think you have the right to tell someone what they can and cannot call themselves. That said if it's really hurting someone I care about to even hear the term I'd probably drop it around them out of love. Queer is a good nonspecific term that I think is really helpful for people who don't find they fit in a single box.
    Oh interesting to hear you actually did experience it as a negative first! Definitely agree that in general the respectful thing to do is use people's individual identities, and in any given conversation to use language that keeps everyone as comfortable as possible, but what starts to get weird is the umbrella term element. Hearing "I'm gay but I do NOT identify with queer, don't talk about the queer community when you mean the gay community, I don't want to be included in that" - which is definitely a sentiment I've seen around - feels a little like hearing "I'm Belgian but I'm NOT European", you know?

    Quote Originally Posted by hissi View Post
    i think everyone should be able to use what they feel best encapsulates their experience, whether that's queer or another term personally i don't use it for myself since i just eschew labels in general even though i'm lgbt.

    there was a time in college a couple years ago i was a little bothered by events and clubs with "queer" in the name because it wasn't necessarily something i felt like i wanted to call myself by attending (and i had friends who were firmly against the term) but i don't as feel strongly about it now. like we have much bigger fish to fry, picking at each other's identities/other pride discourse does nothing useful lol
    100% agree re: bigger fish to fry! Which is maybe a little ironic as the person who made this thread, but discussion and division are different haha.

    I'm interested in what name for an event or club you'd have preferred - would LGBT be better, even if you don't identify with lesbian, gay, bi, or trans? I definitely get the aversion to specific labels, but conversely I feel like that's largely the purpose of "queer" - an umbrella to use and just not get into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by birdies View Post
    Queer is the word I use to describe myself, and for me personally it's the best word to describe not being heteronormative but not entirely wanting to put myself into another box. Queer for me is a good catch all - dig down and there's a lot more to me, but queer covers it as a point of identification.
    Point of identification is a good way to put what I'm trying to say! Like it's not important what exactly is going on with each of us, what's important is that we can find each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by TsUNaMy WaVe View Post
    Like it has been said before, I just prefer queer over trying to find out this perfect (probably inexistent) label that describes me.
    But English is also not my first language, so I probably can't understand a lot of nuances about this specific debate of using vs not-using this term.
    Ooh I hadn't even thought of getting into other languages - does your language have a non-specific word like this? If so, is it considered a slur or just a normal word?
    Last edited by Druid; 1 Week Ago at 05:05 PM. Reason: grammar again I'm a monster

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Druid View Post

    Ooh I hadn't even thought of getting into other languages - does your language have a non-specific word like this? If so, is it considered a slur or just a normal word?
    It actually doesn't, unfortunately. My language is very poor when it comes to queer vocabulary. A lot of the terms are also foreign words to begin with, which might have gone through some minor changes to be more natural in the language. For example: "lesbian" is "lesbit" - "it" being a suffix for feminine-gendered words. The language being gendered makes everything even worse, for non-binary people for example. We don't have a parallel to the singular they, and even if we had, our plural words are gendered as well.
    So yeah in general just having conversations about the topic in my language can get pretty hard. As far as slurs go, I think "homo" for example went through the same thing and got taken back. There are still other slurs ofc that haven't, but none of them are parallel to the term "queer".




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    Quote Originally Posted by Druid View Post
    Oh interesting to hear you actually did experience it as a negative first! Definitely agree that in general the respectful thing to do is use people's individual identities, and in any given conversation to use language that keeps everyone as comfortable as possible, to but what starts to get weird is the umbrella term element. Hearing "I'm gay but I do NOT identify with queer, don't talk about the queer community when you mean the gay community, I don't want to be included in that" - which is definitely a sentiment I've seen around - feels a little like hearing "I'm Belgian but I'm NOT European", you know?
    Yeah it's tricky when people don't like it as a term for the community. I think that's why I co-opted "Alphabet Mafia". I know it was meant to be an insult originally but I've literally never felt so cool. Here I come to push my agenda in a pinstipe suit with a cigar and my hot wife that will ultimately kill me!

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    I used to really dislike the use of the word but now my stance is that I dont really care just if someone asks not to be called queer dont call them queer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Druid View Post
    100% agree re: bigger fish to fry! Which is maybe a little ironic as the person who made this thread, but discussion and division are different haha.

    I'm interested in what name for an event or club you'd have preferred - would LGBT be better, even if you don't identify with lesbian, gay, bi, or trans? I definitely get the aversion to specific labels, but conversely I feel like that's largely the purpose of "queer" - an umbrella to use and just not get into it.
    i think i would've preferred lgbt or lgbtq instead of "queer" alone. i avoid specific labels but consider myself lgbt/gay in a broad sense, i just have a complicated relationship with gender and sexuality and gay feels better than queer lol

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