So, you’ve probably noticed the word “Queer” being used more and more. Do you find yourself wondering, “why to use the word, Queer?” Maybe you’re LGBTQ and wondering why Queer matters in your community. Well, get your party hats on, because this post is a celebration of all things Queer, and you’re invited!
1. It is empowering
The word Queer in the past has been used as an expression of disdain towards those who didn’t identify as heterosexual. What is more powerful than taking a weapon used for harm, and re-inventing it into the ultimate term for inclusiveness within a marginalized group? In my opinion, “Queer” breaks down boundaries that heterosexism intended for harm and creates an openness, a place for the undefined and the defined, a place for ALL who do not fit into hetero-normative.
2. It makes space for the non-binary
We live in a society that is so fixed on identities having to fit into dualistic categories. Truly, that is not the world we live in. There is so much beauty and imagination that resides outside of binaries, for me the word Queer is the ultimate celebration of ALL non-heterosexual/cisgender persons.
In addition to being an umbrella term for the LGBTQ community, it can be an affirmation of those with multiple and intersecting sexual orientations and gender identities, relationships (i.e. Genderqueer and Pansexual partners), and those who simply can’t identify within the acronym of LGBT, like those who are GenderQueer, Pansexual, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit, and the list goes on and on! Queertastic!
3. It can be helpful in the coming out process
As many of us seek language to describe ourselves, the word Queer can be a resting place for those still trying to find words for their gender and sexual identity. So often “gay” is used as the umbrella term for the LGBTQ community, when gay is not always the descriptor that fits. The word Queer can be sympathetic for allies as they reach out, and it can be a gracious expression of self-care during one’s own coming out process. It allows for your own possibilities to remain wide-open while acknowledging that you are not heterosexual and/or cisgender.
4. It turns heads
The word Queer is totally a head-turner. It captures attention and has a way of pushing the envelope that society needs. Think of all the ways that using the word Queer in your social media circles or regular conversations could be enlightening to those around you. You could be a Quophet (queer-prophet)!
5. We are more
Queer can be a powerful tool in uniting us in more-than-sexual ways – my understanding of the Queer movement is emotional, political, spiritual, and so much more. Society’s oppressors have a way of de-humanizing the Queer community by reducing the wholeness of our orientations to body parts. As a Queer person, I am proud of my sexual and gender expression. I am also proud of my emotional and spiritual expressions, which are rooted in my Queer identity and relationships. For me, the word Queer is an expression of the totality and wholeness of our selves, as members of a unified community, without leaving a single person out. If we let it, Queer can be a boundary-less, inclusive, and celebratory expression that is willfully determined to ALL of us communally prevailing.
6. It’s great fun!
It’s important to have fun as we celebrate all things Queer! Bringing humor to a place that has been used for harm after reclaiming it can render oppressors powerless. I personally love creating my own Queer words as seen in this blog, and here are a few more that my friends and I made-up for your enjoyment:
- “Qife”: Queer-wife (ex. I now pronounce you Qife and Qife)
- “Qusband”: Queer-husband (ex. Your Qusband is quite fetching)
- “Qate”: Queer date (So, how was your Qate last night, do you think you’ll see Xem again?)
- “Queerly”: Clearly, dearly, etc. (You Queerly need Jesus <or> Queerly Beloved, we have gathered here today…)
7. It’s redemptive
In my opinion, the word Queer isn’t meant to detract away from specific identities, but there is something redemptive about a community identifying under a unifying term, arm and arm. It breaks down barriers within the LGBTQ community created by social hierarchies, and evens the playing field. It presents a face for society, a human face, an expressive face, a face of diversity, a face of creative beauty and divine expression.
For me, the word Queer has a way of healing the brokenness created by oppressive power systems and social divides. I invite you to take your Queerdom (queer-freedom) and remove, brick-by-brick, the walls that divide us by making 2015 the Queerest year yet. Happy Queer Year!
Originally published by Reconciling Ministries Network; Photo via flickr user onnola