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Mandeblind's avatar

What does the word Queer mean to you?

Asked by Mandeblind (420 points ) February 10th, 2014

Do you have a friend who says he/she is queer? Are you queer?

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24 Answers

AshLeigh's avatar

I sometimes call my homosexual sister Queerikah…

bolwerk's avatar

Several, including an asexual who used to post on Fluther.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t use it in a sexual manner, I think queer means different or unusual.

kritiper's avatar

Odd, not normal, out-of-the-ordinary, weird. But “queer” is an acceptable term to use to refer to/for gay people.

gailcalled's avatar

My best buddy and his partner refer to themselves as “gay.” I never hear them use the word “queer.” My second-best buddy and his partner ditto.

My two sets of lebian friends also only use “gay” and not “queer.”

My one really flamboyant gay friend uses all the terminology and often for the shock value; he does make me laugh.

keobooks's avatar

I’ve always assumed it meant anything that wasn’t straight up vanilla heterosexuality. This can be gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered/transvestite/asexual you name it.

In 1993 or so, one of the San Francisco newspapers declared the year to be “Year of the Queer” and people got REALLY offended. Back then the word was very taboo. Now it’s embraced as a word to be proud of.

I had a friend in SF who was straight, but she called herself queer because she performed as a faux queen in drag shows and declared she felt like a gay man trapped in a woman’s body.

muppetish's avatar

It depends on how it is being used (as with most words.)

It’s not uncommon to hear it used as a slur where I grew up, which is unfortunate. I do have mixed feelings about the word on occasion, but it can be a useful piece of terminology considering there is a wide spectrum of different identities encompassed in gender, sexual, and romantic identities. If it is used to suggest “different” then I am okay with it. If it is used to imply “weird” or “unnatural” then I am not okay with it.

I personally have used “genderqueer” (as in my gender identity is divergent to the traditional binary) as a marker of my identity. I am open to exploring alternate markers that might express my identity more clearly, but genderqueer communicates enough for now. And I think it is more fun to say than “gender neutral”.

syz's avatar

While I see the term used in the media (especially the entertainment media), my community uses the term “gay”.

gailcalled's avatar

edit.‘lesbian”. I need new reading glasses.

ucme's avatar

Up here, when we call someone a “queer bugger” it means they’re bloody daft.

Pachy's avatar

To me it used to simply mean odd but now, unfortunately, it has mainly come to be a pejorative for homosexual.

rojo's avatar

I am wondering if it has become one of those words that can only be used within the group.

Kind of like a certain racially charged word that can be used with impunity only by those of a particular skin color.

janbb's avatar

“Queer” was used as a pejorative when I was growing up but it seems to have been reclaimed in some quarters of the gay community. Thus you have “queer studies” as an academic discipline, “Queer as Folk”, etc. I wouldn’t use it to describe someone however, unless they used it as a self-descriptor.

antimatter's avatar

It’s hate-speech… just another flaw in our Humanity to hate and to use hurtful words.

janbb's avatar

@antimatter As I said above, I don’t think it always is any more. It was previously.

Kardamom's avatar

I my neck of the woods queer is still a derogatory term used to describe gay and lesbian people, homosexuals. Some of the gay people that I know say that they are queer or that so and so is queer, but they tend to use it jokingly, it’s not quite such a horrible thing (when said by a gay person) but it’s still not a respectable word. When said by a non gay person about a gay person, it’s still a pretty big insult.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Odd. Like @Kardamom it’s not nice in my area to use that word unless you’re a backwoods homophobe.

rojo's avatar

Petty sure that around here someone would not call a queer unless they were under 12 years old. Older than that and they would call you a f@ggot.

Aster's avatar

In high school “queer” was used for anybody who wouldn’t go along with something for fear of getting into trouble. I did know one gay guy at that time. But if I heard the word “queer” now I’d immediately think, “that’s an old word for gay; I wonder why he/she used it?”

dxs's avatar

The only way I’ve heard the word queer (other than that almost obsolete definition) is when it is used as a derogatory term to refer to someone who is homosexual. Unlike @kritiper, I’ve never heard it used as non-derogatory, unless it is being used amongst homosexual people (which still sort of bothers me).

kritiper's avatar

@dxs I haven’t heard it used, only heard that it is acceptable to use that word. Heard it from either CBS NEWS or NBC NEWS. Dictionary says it can be derogatory or non-derogatory, I suppose, from the exact way it would/could be used and by whom.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

A couple of people have expressed interest in learning the definition of queer theory so this is my attempt to (hopefully, in just a few phrases) clarify what it is…I begin by explaining what feminist and race theories are because queer theory draws much of its tenets from these two areas.

Feminist Theory was conceptualized as a field around 1970s and put forth the concept that gender is a social construct placed upon sexed bodies once each of us is born. In so doing, feminist theory established a clear separation between biological sex and social gender and identified gender as nothing inherent but everything performative.

Race Theory, like feminist theory, understands race to be a socially constructed concept placed upon bodies using biological markers and leading to categorization of people into groups that have power and groups that have not. Further, race theory put forth a claim that our justice system as it stands is systemically racist and much about race relations is about othering people and criminalizing them.

Queer theory is the newest branch of such social theoretical speculation and it grew out of gay/lesbian studies in the early 1990s. It follows feminist and race theories in that it works towards reformulating sexuality’s definitions/paradigms away from ‘such and such sexuality is inherent and real and biological’ to ‘these categories have been constructed so that order can be maintained over society’. Queer theory exposes our society’s history in creating normative and deviant sexualities as well as a very real historical process of localizing power/benefits (ahem, marriage, anyone?) within categories of sexualities deemed appropriate by those in power.

Finally, I’d like to point out that the word ‘queer’ has been used in negative ways some decades ago and has now been reclaimed by the community of which I am a part of and is being used as both a political ideology (for some) and a sexual identify (for others) and as a verb/action (to queer a space, for example…to queer a college course…all that it means is to bring attention to queer identities and queer ways of being…queer meaning non-normative, non-supportive of mainstream ways of opearating if those ways are inherently biased, lead to disparities and are implicit in discrimination).

janbb's avatar

Thanks for weighing in, @Simone_De_Beauvoir.

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