Why Queer is Such a Wonderful Word
Queer is a simple word that makes it so much easier to talk about those who fall outside the norms of a cis/hetero society.
When posting about transgender issues on tumblr, I often end up using a lot of hashtags to indicate queer content: LGBT, LGBT+, LGBTQA, LGBTQIA and so on and so forth. The rainbow alphabet soup has become unmanageable.
And don’t get me started on how difficult it has become to search for LGBT-whatever content using search engines. What variant of LGBTxxxx am I supposed to use?
There was a time when LGBT made some kind of sense, as most people actually believed that the only categories needed were lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans.
We now accept that sexualities and gender identities can be found in a multidimensional space, where they all overlap and intermix. It is clear that the words we use are products of our minds as much as realities “out there”.
Where the pink ends and the blue starts in the rainbow mandala above is hard to say. These are gradients, not clear borders. Moreover, there are colors that do not fit the pink/blue binary, and that is OK.
Queer is a term that does not force us into the losing game of trying to include all variants.
LGBTQQIP2SAA is not the solution, as the community — for very good reasons — is continuously creates new terms and new letters in an ongoing exploration of the complexity and diversity of sexuality and gender. Adding a plus to the soup does not clarify anything.
Which is why I strongly support using queer as a term to describe lives and identities found outside the cisgender/heterosexual norm. It is an ambiguous term, for sure, but that is a good thing, at it makes it so much harder for the sex and gender police to force queer people to adhere to their ideas about how the world ought to be.
But it is a slur, you might say. So was the word “gay”. I believe that if we use the word queer as something positive and affirming, it becomes positive and affirming.
See What “queer” means and why it is such a useful word for more.
This article has been crosspublished over at Trans Express.