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December 22, 2019

"Q" is for Queer

by Lisa Koenecke

Hey, Lisa, isn’t the term Queer offensive? Why are you writing about that word? Thanks for asking, dear reader. I will give you a Quick history of the term Queer later on in this article. Questioning is another term we use for the “Q” in our acronyn LGBTQ. Questioning was used early on in my school counseling career by middle schoolers, but today, I hear more students identifying as genderqueer or transgender, skipping right over Questioning.

I would be curious to see your reaction when you saw this title. Some will want to read and learn, others will quickly quash and scroll past this article. Thank you for those of you still reading, you are my people!

Miriam Webster defines Queer: of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation. My generation doesn’t use Queeras much as the generations following mine use it. Here is my article on Genderqueer if you’d like more information. Please feel free to share with everyone!

Perhaps this will bring a smile to your face? Have you seen the cable show “Queer Eye?” Queer Eye is an American reality television series that premiered on the cable television network Bravo in July 2003. Originally Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the title was later shortened to broaden the overall scope (Wikipedia). What I love about the show is how the Fab Five as the main cast are known as help others. It’s not about the Queer lifestyle or focused on Queer relationships, it’s about paying it forward. Who is your favorite character? Original cast or lastest cast?

Original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Cast ~ Wikipedia
New Queer Eye Cast ~ Variety

I promised you more on the history of the term Queer. Historically, queer meant not straight (ha ha). If you have ever ridden in a car with me, I use the term “gayly forward” rather than straight when it comes to directions. By the early 1900s, “queer” became used to reference homosexuals both by people within the community (Gertrude Stein in her poetry, for example) and people outside of the community (newspapers, for instance). Marissa Higgins writes this in an article for In the 1950s, the term queer held a negative connotation like dyke or faggot. Enter the 1980s and the LGBT world worked to reclaim the word and offer it as a more inclusive umbrella term for our population. Higgins writes, A word like “queer” encompasses sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression concisely. Read her entire article Here.

So, should you use the term Queer? I would probably ask someone how they identify. If they use the term to identify themselves, then you can probably use it when talking with them. If they don’t use it, you don’t use it. Questions? There won’t be a Quiz, I just had to use as many “Q” words as was Quantifiable.

Quite lovely of you for reading your “Gay for the Day” article!

~Lisa from Wisconsin (Lady Rainbow)

Read more from LGBT Resources A to Z

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