I know it’s controversial and I totally respect people who don’t like the reclaiming of Queer but me? I love it. Queer is my identifier of choice so I wanted to write about why, mostly because Mx Nillin’s awesome One Rainbow Apart linky is full of incredible and inspiring posts.
I’ve had feelings about the acronym (LGBTQIA+) and variations thereof for a while. As someone who wants everyone to feel included and to be able to have a conversation without falling over a string of letters, it doesn’t feel great to me.
QUEER IS EASIER
I say “LGBTQIA+” a lot and I still fall over the letters. It’s a mouthful and, while I don’t think that the “alphabet soup” folks will suddenly be supportive if we had a simple word instead, I do think it would give them one less thing to hide their bigotry behind. I also realise this is an essentially aesthetic (or the sound equivalent) issue so let’s get to the main reason I love Queer.
QUEER IS INCLUSIVE
For me, Queer is the most inclusive option (aside from GRSM, gender romantic and sexual minorities, but that’s not widely used); it essentially doesn’t mean anything but “not cishet.” It defines us by what we are not which is, in my opinion, all we have in common. We are united in being different and facing discrimination in varying forms and amounts because of that. We are not a monolith, we all have different experiences, ideas and needs both depending on our specific label and on just who we are as people.
A LITTLE RANT ABOUT ‘CANNIBALISM’ IN THE COMMUNITY
As has become increasingly apparent as more and more groups appear who purposely exclude letters from the acronym, being not cishet doesn’t even mean you support everyone in your own community. In my opinion, the acronym itself is a part of that issue; it divides the group into specific labels which only feeds into the “divide and conquer” plan that the right is very successfully running.
There is no equality for lesbians without equality for trans women. The idea that the “good Queers” will get rights and the rest are holding us back would be laughable if it wasn’t causing so much damage to both the cause as a whole and individuals. Every anti-trans and anti-nonbinary argument is a regurgitation of anti-gay rhetoric. Everything that is being said now about the most marginalised within our community was being said about the “good Queers” not 20 years ago. In plenty of places it’s still being said now.
We don’t gain rights by withholding them from other people and, even if we did, that is a shitty, shitty thing to do and fuck that. In my opinion, our rights are dependent on us working together.
CAN WE ALL BE QUEER?
Personally I would love for Queer to become the term used to describe the community, though I don’t think now is the right time for that transition while there are still a lot of people who have violent and awful memories of that word.
I know it’s a word that brings up a lot of feelings for people though so I’d be really interested to know how you feel about the word “Queer” and whether it’s suitable for the community as a whole.