Is it okay to use the word ‘Queer’? | Being.LGBT Is it okay to use the word 'Queer'? - Being.LGBT
Is it okay to use the word ‘Queer’?

As a term for the broad community, ‘Queer’ is either embraced or shunned. So is it okay to use?

Added to FAQ, on 2 June, 2016

Is it okay to use the word ‘Queer’?

This is another complicated answer.

Let’s be honest, LGBT was simple enough, but as our community welcomes and broadens its involvement with sexuality and gender identity, the LGBT soon became an alphabet soup. Not that it’s a bad thing, but at the last check, we had LGBTQIAP+.

Put simply – it’s a word that you should probably exercise caution with, especially if you’re not Queer. Some people may have had bad experiences with that word, through harassment or bullying, and as a result may detest the word with a passion. Others with bad experiences instead decide to ‘reappropriate’ the word – that is, reclaim it from being an insult to an embraced, self-identified term (which is what happened to the word ‘gay’). Even those without bad experiences of the word may chose to shun it out of respect, or due to a dislike of its origins, while others may find it important to reclaim the word for the community.

The word Queer is used academically, for example, in Queer Theory – the study of Queer culture, community, history, sexuality, identity, etc, as it is a convenient, short, and to the point word that has slowly gained prominence as a term for the Queer community, rather than an insult meaning ‘weird’, ‘odd or different’ or ‘unwell’. Although many older generations may use the word by the latter definition, most dictionaries acknowledge that it is now slightly dated. That hasn’t stopped people from using the word ‘Queer’ in a pejorative sense, however.

Here on the site, we embrace the term Queer (obviously) and use it liberally. We made a conscious decision to do that, as we have when chose not to censor or ‘wordfilter’ (replace letters with asterisks – e.g f*ck) words that may be considered offensive by some (e.g. homosexual, which some Queer-related sites have begun to wordfilter).

But although we provide information for Queer/Allied people, it by no means insinuates that we speak for all Queer people. So exercise caution, and perhaps – interestingly enough – ask any people involved. But right now, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ usage of the word as there perhaps is with ‘gay’, and the usage of the word does tend to differ based on a person’s location (e.g. “Queer” doesn’t seem to be embraced in the USA as it is Europe, and even within the USA and Europe, may vary from location – such as rural/metro).

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Is it okay to use the word ‘Queer’?