Mar 15 2003 Out Against the War
Queers For Peace, Gays For Peace
What Would A Queer Do?
UsQueers.com is here to assist with the protection of Queer people’s rights to full and equal expression of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” at all times, in all situations, in all places.
Intentionally one-sided, overly favorable to us Queers, this web site’s capitalization of the word “Queer” disturbs some people.
Others base their objections to the uses of “Queer” mainly on the word’s historical and current uses as an insult. Heterosexuals using the word need to be especially careful or, better yet, use another word.
For example, “Queer” is still casually and mistakenly used to convey caricature-like stereotypes as being mainstream gay male behavior. The hyper-sexual, non-stop dance club scene depicted in the British and American versions of “Queer As Folk” is a fictionalized account of a narrow slice of the lives of certain gay men.
The lifestyle coaching program “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” is dominated by depictions of the campy, effeminate behavior of some gay males. Both “Queer As Folk” and “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” are stretched and mildly offensive uses of the word. Their entertainment value seems to overpower the negative connotations, leaving most Queer people to decide, again, that any inclusion of us, even if it is mildly offensive, is better than continuing to be invisible in movies and on television.
Naturally, everyone is entitled to call themselves whatever they like, for whatever reasons they have or don’t have for using any such words at all. We’re not here to promote or discourage the use of one descriptive word over another, or any self-descriptive word at all. We prefer, leaning toward expect, that individuals will make any descriptive adjectives with which they they prefer to be described known to those with whom they communicate.
The word “Queer” has evolved a great deal by now. Although rare, a few people are beginning to use it as a more inclusive word. Instead of being just an alternative to the rotating letters of something like GLIBT? (gay, lesbian, intersexed, bisexual, transgendered, questioning), “Queer” can also include (only by their own choice) any minorities which are seen and treated as “other” by the majority, such as physically disabled people, different-sized people, mentally ill people, poor people, people with no housing, those with combinations of these, and pretty much anyone who tends toward awareness of the barriers erected to keep non-elite people from full participation in society.
As used on this web site, Queer mainly refers to GLIBT? (gay, lesbian, intersexed, bisexual, transgendered, questioning), and we lean toward the type of usage popularized by Queer Nation, with the same earned and energetic attitude.
Because it is self-applied, Queer could seem from the outside to be shorthand for a lot about someone who describes themselves as Queer. There is plenty of room for mistaken assumptions, since “Queer” includes no must-have characteristics or must-do behavior. And then there are those pesky dictionary definitions such as “odd” and “different”.
We refer you to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language – Fourth Edition, bottom of the page.
USAGE NOTE: A reclaimed word is a word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. Queer is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades Queer was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification. Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Nevertheless, a sizable percentage of people to whom this term might apply still hold Queer to be a hateful insult, and its use by heterosexuals is often considered offensive. Similarly, other reclaimed words are usually offensive to the in-group when used by outsiders, so extreme caution must be taken concerning their use when one is not a member of the group.
Now, if each of us Queers were really all that different and odd (two alternative definitions of “Queer”) then the closet wouldn’t work so very well for so many years for so many of us worldwide, would it?
We use the word “Queer” at UsQueers.com as a way to steal the word away from those who use or have used it as a slur, and to bring some different, stronger energy back to the word. “Queer” is also a survivor’s proud and defiant word — a warrior’s word — against those who see being Queer as an automatic negative to be overcome.
It’s more eye-catching in print.
If you are very offended by the word “Queer” or by Queers in general, you may have a difficult time enjoying this web site.
Here, as in real life, though, you’re likely to find something from us Queers is useful to you.
“You Can’t Kill All Of Us”
from sign after 3 were murdered in a gay bar nail bombing
by racist religious supremacists in London