The term 'queer'

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The term 'queer'

Unread post by Raymie »

So, I love this word for my sexuality and gender and everything, it's just so non-specific. However, I'm being careful not to use it for all LGBTQIA people as a lot of people over here (the UK) seem to have issues with it - saying it was a slur and not fully reclaimed. Talking to older people, feel the term was was fully reclaimed in the 70's but then became 'un-reclaimed' for millennials? Did straight people somehow take it back at some point and turn it into a slur again?
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Re: The term 'queer'

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Raymie,

I'm also a fan of the term. I think a tricky thing about queer as a term is that even if it's been reclaimed by the community (although I don't exactly know the history of how it declined in popularity after the big pushes of queer activism around things like the AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s), there will still be people for whom the negative connotations will always be front and center. That depends on the meaning it's had when used in their life, whether they see any validity in reclaiming words that were slurs, and a bunch of other things. So while socially it's been pretty reclaimed (with things like "Queer Eye") there will be people who just personally don't like it. Does that make sense?

I've also seen some folks point to certain chunks of online discourse, especially discourse promoted by TERFS, as trying to convince younger people that queer is a slur as part of a way of pushing certain identities out of LGBTQA/queer spaces. But I haven't had the opportunity to really look into those claims to see if they have a lot of basis in reality.
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Re: The term 'queer'

Unread post by BishoneninBloom »

This is an old post, but as someone who uses tumblr (yes, even after it 'died') I can at least anecdotally attest, to a lot of the 'queer is still a slur' discourse coming from accounts who just so happen to also spout exclusionary stuff about aromantic/asexual communities, bi/pan people and just general transphobia (also to a lesser degree some post anti-BDSM/porn sentiment, but I can't say I've personally seen the last part).

Its worth stating for prosperity, not everyone with any of these view points necessarily had others, I know a trans girl irl who doesn't like the word queer, but she doesn't use tumblr or have any of these other views

From different (mostly older) perspectives, its generally agreed to have started around 2015 and basically the whole purpose was to use the discourse to downplay younger users (who weren't as aware of LGBT history) adopting terms like queer, as it naturally includes groups like trans/NB/pan/aro-ace people.
It is said (oh boy, weasel words!) that tumblr had a sizable ace community of varying ages before this stuff started, as afterwards, a lot of ace people got harassed off the site.

Whilst the word is a personal choice, I feel 'queer is a slur' is an argument that quickly falls apart when you see how many people still use 'gay' in a derogatory way (and to a lesser extent, how many lesbians/Sapphic women feel comfortable reclaiming 'dyke')
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