I’ve written about my own struggle with using the word ‘queer’ – it’s something that I personally struggle with regularly. There are a lot of discussion online (and I’m sure offline as well) about the use of queer to be a universal term for the LGBTQ+ community. In the below video, Kat Blaque takes a question from one of her viewers about a club on a college campus using ‘queer’ as a universal term and the club essentially saying that if you don’t like it, you’ll get used to it. (The previous video Kat mentions in the below one can be found here and I definitely recommend watching both videos in relation to this conversation.)
I used to be the person that used queer to be a blanket term for the community because my own relationship with the term was mostly positive. But now, I don’t use it a universal term but do identify as it personally. Everyone comes to the term differently and for some people, there’s a negative implication behind it, which is why I stopped using it all a catch all term for the LGBTQ+ community.
Some people will use the term as a universal blanket while others won’t and honestly, I’m not here to police how people identify. But I do think it’s important to have this conversation, especially as people who use it, because the term has such a loaded history.
- The Question of Reclaiming the Word Queer – Lauren Guy, University Times
For me, the term is an inherently political one and identifying as queer is, in some ways, a political act. Being queer, for me, means pushing back on gender and sexuality in ways that defy the traditional norms. As someone who is a nonbinary/trans person, I push back on traditional gender expressions and norms every day in how I exist. I take the traditional binary of masculine and feminine and lump it all together in a way that often defy tradition expectations. But I also frequently challenge people’s assumptions and stereotypes about gender.
Every person’s relationship to queer and many other words and labels are going to be different because there is no universal human experience. And it’s important that we honor those different experiences in as many ways as we can. I am in full support of using queer as individuals, if we so decide. But I’m definitely against projecting labels and experiences onto people, especially if doing so makes someone uncomfortable and unwelcome. And for some, using queer as a blanket term for the LGBTQ+ community does just that.
- Tracing the history of the word queer – Jake Hall, Dazed
I’m writing about this again in part because Kat Blaque’s videos I referenced earlier brought this issue back up for me. I frequently have this internal discussion over the using of ‘queer’, both for myself and for the larger community. At this point, I still use it for myself because there’s a bit of wiggle room yet strong expression that comes with it. I write about this a lot because I want to be open about my use of queer and that I don’t take it lightly. It’s not something I use without any notion of the history and I no longer use it as a universal term.