I absolutely love this word.
I know. Many of you only know this as a slur. A way of demeaning and hurting someone like me.
But I love it.
To me the word queer means community. To me the word queer means accepting and loving the expanse of identities there are in the queer community.
Last night at work I was talking with one of my coworkers about the expansive alphabet soup that is LGBTQIAA+. It is a mouthful and complicated and is still not as entirely inclusive as many of us within the community would like.
To me queer is an amazing umbrella term which does not reduce my sexual orientation or gender identity to some black or white, gay or straight, male or female existence.
You guys. I’m not 100% gay. I cannot rule out that there could have been some guy out there who could have won my heart. It is unlikely because I am definitely WAY more attracted to women, but we get so caught up in black and white in our society, yet as I age I see more and more that everything is shades of gray.
Queer embraces the grayness and vagueness and the possibility that sexual orientation and gender identity are fluid and changing and moving. Our identities are not set in stone. Our identities are not check one box or another. We are diverse and beautiful and we defy labels, and to me queer is a label which embraces the inability to properly label something and complex and individual as how we see ourselves in regards to sexual orientation or gender identity.
Queer had its start as simply a word to describe non-heterosexual identities and was co-opted to be a slur. The community has worked to reclaim this word and take its power from the homophobes among us. For more about the history of the word queer and how it has been reclaimed check out these AMAZING articles on Autostraddle.
I am queer. I am proud. I am expansive and will not be reduced to one box or another.
I love this word and find positive power in it, but there are many who do not. This word has power in it in two directions. Be careful with your usage of it, especially if you are not in the queer community. If someone openly identifies as queer, use this word. If someone doesn’t use this word as their own, avoid it.