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The Problem With the Word Queer

If you’ve been following the LGBTQ movement in the last couple of years, you might have noticed a shift in terminology. New gender identities and sexuality have been added to under the LGBTQ umbrella, other words have been declared outdated and offensive. It’s been a pretty consistent progression, but there is one word that is still a toss up for many people in the community: q*eer.

For those who are unfamiliar with the history behind this word, long story short: it’s a slur that cishet people used against members of the LGBTQ community. As stated in the first paragraph, there are words that have been declared outdated (such as transsexual, and even homosexual for some people considering its offensive medical background). But for some reason, q*eer has stuck around despite the fact that it’s a slur.

If there is one reason that this word has stuck around, it’s because of the media’s use of it. Magazines, websites, and news outlets continue to use the word even after members of the LGBTQ community have spoken up about it and stated the hurtful history behind the word. By these outlets continuing to use this word, regardless if they are run by people in the community or not, it creates a horribly casual air around a poisonous word.

While there are those within the LGBTQ community who have reclaimed the slur and proudly use it as an identifier for aspects of their gender and sexuality, there are still those who have no desire to use the word at all. It is important to recognize that q*eer is still widely used as a slur against LGBTQ people, and while it may be easy to dismiss it just because you or someone that you know hasn’t had it used against them, doesn’t mean that it’s any less triggering or uncomfortable for someone else.

There’s a reason that the acronym, LGBTQ exists and an even more important reason why some people choose to drop the Q at the end given the history behind this slur. There are also terms that exist to identify individual identities within the community, so to refer to someone as q*eer when they’ve clearly stated their identity is hurtful and erases said identity.

It’s important to recognize and remember that this is in no way a blanket term for our community, and it should have never become one. Just like any other slur, it has a long hurtful history and not everyone within the community that it is used against will be comfortable using it.

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