The word ‘queer’ was and still is used as a slur. I had never considered using it as a positive until recently; when my school offered us a revolutionary course called queer history. It was the first high school course of its kind. And it received copious amounts of hate for using the word ‘queer’ in it’s name. To me, and many others, I had only heard this word used to put down people in the LGBT+ community. But, unbeknownst to me, the teacher of the class had a great reason for using the word ‘queer’.
He considered naming the class LGBT+ history or something similar to that. However, when he was planning the material, he repeatedly came across outdated terms, like crossdresser, that were the politically correct terms at the time. He didn’t feel that the letters ‘LGBT’ accurately represented the ‘history’ aspect of queer history.
One could argue that the ‘+’ in LGBT+ covers the outdated and unmentioned letters in the acronym, but that’s exactly what he disliked about it. My teacher felt that the queer community shouldn’t have to be fit under an umbrella ‘+’. He felt that in a queer history class, all queer people should fit in the title, not just lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. So, he decided the word queer (although also an umbrella term) would be more inclusive of those who identify with other sexualities and genders, then the ‘+’ would ever be.
I think reclaiming this word has endless benefits. It is a way for people to identify themselves to the public without putting themselves on the linear spectrum. Instead of trying to explain gender fluidity or being forced to classify gender and sexuality on an outdated spectrum, people can simply claim the word queer. I don’t think labels of sexuality and gender are necessary at all, I think people should love who they love and be who they truly are, but our society often requires a label and queer is a valid choice to add and reclaim.