linds's picture

I hate the word. I think it's too totalizing, and undermines the disparateness of distinct non-heterosexual populations. I can see how it would be politically useful, but I don't think we've fully "reclaimed" it in any sort of positive way.

Agree? Disagree?

Do we need terms and acronyms at all? Do we have any better alternatives? Is it okay to use the word queer in certain ways with certain groups of people? When?

As JB says: Discuss.


artistravenskull's picture

I agree

Queer has a nice ring to it, in my point of view, and I don't mind being called that. The word I can't stand though is lesbian. Ick! I simply can't stand it when someone calls me that. Yea! to queer though and all it stands for, because queer is me!

alice's picture

I don't like that word either

I don't like that word either. It's horrible. When some people say it i don't mind as much , but it's the whole idea one people calling you, A lesbian, like your nothing else like a cat or a dog. Plus it's hard to spell.

linds's picture


I see the word "queer" used in a throwaway, dismissive, that's-all-that-person-is fashion more often than I see the word "lesbian" used in that way.

Perhaps one of my issues is that queer doesn't seem to have a coherent definition (not that the definitions of other words are impermeable or open to shifts, just that queer seems pretty damn amorphous). Lesbian can be read as both a set of acts and as an identity. Queer's just an identity.

~Linds, pondering.

Special Envoy to Tea-Drinking Nations for The Movement To Free Oompa Loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates

Daniel's picture

It also encompasses any range

It also encompasses any range of people who are not straight, it's more enclusive. Personally I have no problem with the word, though I could see why people would. Normalcy is, understandably, something alot of people strive for, even though nobody is normal, it's something we've made up that no one person can achieve.

I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.
-- Albert Einstein

greyboi's picture

Strange, Obtuse, Abnormal, Outcast...

There are countless reasons why this single word has caused uproar in the gay community. The usual justification is something like:

"We have to reclaim the language! If we steal the words from homophobes, they won't be able to use it against us."

But human psychology doesn't work that way. No matter how much a frequently bullied kid starts insulting himself, the bullies still have an unfair advatage in word usage.

And then there's:

"It's kinda like when black people call each other nigger. It becomes a befriending term and less of a demeaning one."

Well, first, I'm black, and I can say to you that nigger still isn't accept by most of the black community. Only the loud and vocal elements of the rap subculture use this term, and it gives people the impression that you are uneducated.

Do Mexicans call each other "wetbacks"?

Do the Japanese call each other "chinks"?

Do women call each other "bitches"?

Secondly, the word queer comes off as a political term. Do we as gay and lesbian people really want to equate our sexuality with politics and give others the stereotypical impression that we are all radical "gay activists"?

Third, the word is all-encompasing and like the label LGBT (some even L.G.B.T.Q.Q.I.Y.Y.I.P.T.S) ignores the special consideration that each group deserves. Lesbians differ from gay men in their own unique way. Homosexuals and bisexuals have some similarities but distinct differences. Sexual Orientation (homosexulity/heterosexulity/bisexuality) has nothing to do with Gender/Gender Identity/Clothing Fetish (Transgenderism/Transexxualism/Transvesticism), and to cloud the two only exacerbates the "gay men as women" and "lesbians as men" stereotypes.

What we should ask ourselves is, do we really want to complicate matters even further by putting everyone into one neat little box?

nicki_m's picture

how can one word describe so

how can one word describe so many different feelings though? i'm bisexual, but if i were to say i'm queer people would assume i mean that i am a total lesbian. why should we even have labels anyway? yes a word is useful when trying to explain your sexual desires, but lesbians, bisexuals and gays only have one thing in common - they are attracted to members of their own sex. th@s important, but there are other major differences. why don't hetrosexuals have to define themselves in this way? why, instead of taking or reclaiming a word from homophbics, don't we decide on our own unique word that describes us in the way that we actually are?

jules's picture


they are defined. Straight or heterosexual. And having dated the great number of straight girls that I have, may I humbly suggest that those labels also suck.



Historian of The Movement To Free Ommpa loompa Land From The Tyrannical Rule Of The Evil Capitalsitic Despot Willy Wonka And Associates

greyboi's picture

Don't forget... "breeder". It

Don't forget... "breeder". It stings, because it over-sexualizes non-gay people.

linds's picture

funny sign

To add to this discussion. There have been flyers up everywhere for weeks now, stating, in very big letters, A VOTE FOR ROTC IS A VOTE FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION. The weaknesses of this argument aside, someone went to all of these flyers on campus and taped another flyer next to them:

arrow pointing to previous sign: "Except if you're queer"

So we have an effective political use of the word. (Effective, at least, in that it totally made my day yesterday.)


TeeAhr1's picture

I agree

You make a good point, one that crossed my mind immediately when I read the intro too. Whatever else you might think of it, and I do see a lot of problems with labeling of any sort, 'queer' is a very politically useful word, it encourages solidarity. As disparate as the 'non-hetero' population is, if we don't stick together, the jackals will take us all down whether we call ourselves queer or not.

TeeAhr1. One sick, sick fucker.

greyboi's picture


The truth is that a vote for ROTC is a vote to create a military recruiting station on your high school or college campus that specifically targets minority and female students, while telling them that this is the "only way" they're going to pay for college:

Visit these links for the truth:

Third World Outreach Program

Questioning JROTC

Ever wonder why the military has more blacks, women, and Hispanics in their recruitment literature? They even have a "Latinos in the Navy" and "Blacks in the Marines" brochure campagin.

What they don't tell you is that:

1.)Two-thirds of all recruits never get any college funding from the military.

2.)After you've spent a few years in the military, you're 2 to 5 times more likely to be homeless than your friends who never joined.

3.)During the Gulf War, over 50 percent of front-line troops were people of color. Overall, over 30 percent of enlisted personnel but only 12 percent of officers are people of color, who are then disciplined and discharged under other than honorable conditions at a much higher rate than whites.

4.)Sexual harassment and assault are a daily reality for the overwhelming majority of women in the armed forces. The VA's own figures show 90 percent of recent women veterans reporting harassment - a third of whom were raped.

5.)The "adventure" in the commercials is code for war, the "discipline" code for violence. The military trains recruits to employ deadly force, yet recruiters rarely discuss the dehumanizing process of basic training, the psychological costs of killing, or the horrors of war.

linds's picture


I wasn't quoting the sign in order to say I supported it? I'm not an idjit. :-) Although I would point out that several Ivy League campuses are looking at reviving on-campus ROTC programs, and I do think that eventually Columbia at least will allow it. Sadly.


Scruffy the Vampire Slayer's picture

what else the words could mean

hey. i made these wallpapers last week but hadn't got to let you all know about them. they are what the thesarus gives when you like up gay or queer.
comments etc....
take of the prefixes and visit my fan art site shades of slayer if you like.
see ya
"The hardest thing in this world is to live in it" Buffy- The Gift

greyboi's picture


Those definitions must come from an abridged, "culturally updated" thesaurus. It's best to use an unabridged, historically relevant dictionary.

See this link.

And this link.

RoaG's picture


I like it. "Bisexual" is a mouthful... Plus, the gay community is small enough - having to separate myself further by calling myself bisexual in a world that believes you're being trendy if you call yourself bi is not the direction I want to take. Yay for run-on sentences. Anyway, I like it and I use it all the time. Queer Queer Queer. How many words do YOU know that begin with Q?

jeff's picture

On Oasis...

I always used queer and questioning, because:

I liked the alliteration.

And I didn't want to have to keep adding to the big LMNOP list that the community describes itself using. I mean, "a writing community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transexual, questioning, and other youth"? Not to mention the fact that there are like 20 other terms people would want in there?

Here's the deal, though. You know who uses queer in a derogatory manner? People who hate fags anyway, so they already have the word, like the word, and use the word. They ain't reclaiming it, because they never lost it.

I also don't think me using it prepared me for the day when someone uses it in a hateful way against me, because I'm not that freaked out about this scenario and if I were, i could probably kick their ass anyway.

I'm really not politically gay anymore anyway, so i just need some term that says "I like cock" for other guys who like cock, so I'm down wth whatever gets that across. Although, I probably would have a problem with dating someone who had a problem with the word queer, because that person would be over intellectualizing an unnecessary debate. I'm more apt to want someone who will just shrug and care less if anyone uses any term.