Well, okay... I am a moderator of a mailing list where lately we have been discussing queer activism (activism in general, but it kind of branched off, since the list is concerned primarily with sexuality issues.)
Anyway, one person said something which was rather disturbing to me which gave me the idea that we had very widely varying definitions of the word "queer." To the point where I was really offended, and I don't want to repeat what he said, but I don't think that he meant any offense by it based on other things he said in the mail. For the record he is from Sweden, I think--or maybe Holland, and he might have just taken the word "queer" in the literal sense, i.e. odd...
Anyway, the end result is that I'm just curious if there really is a universal definition of this concept, since I definitely have a particular definition in mind when I call myself queer.
I'm curious if we'll all come up with the same thing, or what...
I don't think gay and queer are synonymous. Perhaps originally it was a derogatory term mainly for male homosexuals, but now it seems that the point of the word is to include gays, lesbians, bisexuals, questioning/curious and transgendered people. It's more inclusive and easier to say than convoluted acronyms such as GLBTQ...etc.
Posts: 582 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000
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I am Activist Kid, always stopping to tell people gay isn't an insult. A particularly ridiculous incident occured when my friend commented on how queer it is that there are different covers for Harry Potter books in the U.S. and the U.K. I immediately jumped in saying queer isn't an insult before I realized he meant odd. The ensuing chaos wreaked havoc in the school library.
I like the word queer better when it means odd, because it's more applicable to me then. It's still applicable when it means not straight, but I think the original meaning is cooler.
Posts: 356 | From: Phoenix--name that plurally | Registered: Dec 2000
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Lemme just clarify on my previous post ... in the sense that I've heard them in. I actually didn't know 'queer' had another connotation other than homosexual.
Posts: 290 | From: Minneapolis | Registered: Feb 2001
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Queer can mean odd, or gay in a derogatory sort of way (used by the kind of people who get nervous about 'homos' and 'ethnics'), but usually it just seems a cute, almost affectionate variation for two (or more)people of the same sex who love each other very much. The problem with many words, though, is that they have different meanings or connotations in different regions, to different groups of people, etc. etc.
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000
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See, the thing is that my definition of "queer" (once I get over the idea that it means people think I am bizarre...heh...) has always been basically anyone who engages in non-hetero sex, or who identifies as anything other than hetero (hence LGBT==queer. Or maybe LGBTP--for pansexual. ) When I use it, that's generally what I mean. A few people who I have been talking to recently would also include fetishists and such in their definition, which...well, doesn't bug me a lot but doesn't seem accurate to me (I really couldn't care less who wants to call themselves queer, but in this particular instance it was an average heterosexual throwing labels around).
Anyway, just wanted to make sure that I am still in step with the latest definitions of things... which I think I am. I didn't really yell at the people in question or anything but I dunno how comfortable I am with the assumptions which were being made.
[Aftherthought] I was also the only person who said anything to clarify the situation which bugs me too. It makes me wonder what people in general really think of the queer community although it really shouldn't matter to me... I had a really negative experience today and I guess I am kind of dwelling on it a bit. It's interesting how, by surrounding myself with the right friends, I can almost forget that bigotry and ignorance exist until I get slapped in the face with it. *grumble*
I knew queer was queer before I knew it was gay. Although I think queer is used as queer more in Europe than it is in America (I've never heard it said, actually, outside of the gay meaning). I'm sure that it started out like an insult (eww, you're so queer), but just like *** , dyke, and nigger, I think that people are trying to just take it and turn it into something positive.
I do like the word queer though, because it just emcompases everything
------------------ Brittany Scarleteen Advocate
"Just say no" fights teen pregnancy the way "hey, cheer up" fights manic depression.
I use the word queer in 2 different ways. I use it to denote the entire queer community (ie. LGBT, etc.), but I always use the phrase 'queer community', never queer alone. I also use queer to denote something odd or out of place. "Well that's queer...I was sure my brother wouldn't be home until tomorrow..."
I don't see either as a derogatory, since I consider the word 'queer' to have been reclaimed by the LGBT etc. community.
(As an afterthought, I'll be collecting my second queer movie tomorrow! But I'm A Cheerleader! Huzzah!)
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