Queers: The ‘Q’ In LGBTQ+ Means …

Image: Ted Eytan, CC BY-SA 2.0

“To be queer takes strength in character … where your Trump-loving family ‘loves you but not your lifestyle.’”

Gabrielle Kassel on June 11, 2019

| Greatist – “Queer” has a unique and loaded history

In the last few years, you’ve probably been hearing the word more — thanks, in part, to the Netflix show “Queer Eye.”

But what you might not know is that queer isn’t just a tidy version of LGBTQ+. For decades, it was used as a slur intended to alienate and assign otherness to folks, explains LGBTQ+ expert Kryss Shane.

While some members of the LGBTQ+ community have been working to reclaim it since the ’80s, in some spheres and communities, it’s still considered (and used as) a slur.

AJ Holly Huth, youth services manager at The Center in Las Vegas, says, “As the youth services manager at The [LGBTQ+] Center, I have witnessed both the pain and frustration from our senior community when ‘queer’ is used, and also the desire to continue reclaiming the word from the younger generations.”

Indeed, the “Q” is trickier and more delicate than other identifiers like gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

What the ‘Q’ means in LGBTQ 

So what does queer mean now? It depends on who you ask …

With that in mind, Greatist asked people who identify with the word “queer” to share their thoughts about what it means, signifies, and stands for more broadly.

  • “I define queer as being free to be myself. Love who I want and f— whoever thinks otherwise.” — Shana, San Francisco
  •  “To be queer takes strength in character through fear of the unknown. Strength in character to nod and smile during the holidays, where your Trump-loving family ‘loves you but not your lifestyle.’” – Will
  • Queer means “you could be asexual, lesbian, gay, transgender, agender, etc. I like that it indicates that there is more to know.” — Liz
  • “Being queer is about sharing love and understanding through societal adversity.” — James, ballet dancer, New York City
  • “The most foundational way I can describe queer, from my perspective as a black trans woman, is that queer is unapologetically authentic, resistant, and a revolutionary act of reclaiming one’s narrative.” — Anne, Kansas … Read more. 

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