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Thursday, October 3, 2013

What does "queer" mean to you?

1.     strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different.

This is the definition I received when I searched the word “queer” on  Awesome.  To be queer is to be different, separated from the identities of patriarchal, heteronormative and misogynistic norms. What I find most interesting about this definition is that to be queer is strange and odd from the conventional viewpoint that is hetero male based, and I can’t help but wonder: Why aren’t people questioning the conventional viewpoint as strange and odd?  Does it seem right or okay that women are significantly underrepresented in this so-called “normal” society? Is it sitting well with everyone that women and men that sexually identify as anything other than straight are victims of oppression and hate?  Personally, the term queer is a word that emancipates me from the dominant culture whose tiny labeled boxes are just too exclusive for the “conventional” she or he.  
Queer to me means that I am stirring the pot that is the system.  Yes, rattling the cage of the beast whose bars are set too high and much too firm.  “Why would you refer to yourself as queer? Aren’t you offended by that word?” Not at all.  One huge reason why I love to use the word queer is because it makes other people feel uncomfortable; it makes them squirm and wrestle with the term in their heads, trying to figure out what box to put me in with what correct label.  I was on the phone with my sister the other day telling her about the GSEC’s up and coming Queer Week that we put on every year, telling her how stoked we all are and what we’ve got planned and she interrupts me-

“It’s called “Queer Week”? Is that okay to say?”
I said,
            “Yes? Do you not think so?”

“I just always thought “queer” was a derogatory word used for someone who’s gay.”

In her defense, queer has long been a word that was used in a discriminatory way and in some places, still is.  However, it was then that I realized how useful the word queer could become in educating people about the limitless number of sexual identities existing; that the LGBTQ acronym isn’t the only way to identify.  In using queer, we are utilizing a large umbrella term that encompasses all ranges of sexual identities from gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, cisgender, two spirit, and the list goes on and on. I highly recommend doing some research on just how many different sexual and gender identities there are; it will make you really consider just how strange and odd it seems that the majority only classifies people as straight or gay.

In all seriousness, I think many people have been living under rocks for their entire lives.  Or they are just blind to the fact that there are thousands of people who do not fit inside of the categories and boxes that the conventional viewpoint has constructed.  We have got to start breaking apart these boxes we have ingrained in our minds of what is right and what is wrong with people.  I won’t even suggest that we create new boxes that would be more inclusive to minorities because there will always be a new identity to emerge.  There is a whole level of consciousness that the system is completely oblivious to.  In the meantime, I will accept these labels of being strange for not conforming to intimidating ideologies about my sexuality, and being odd for loving openly and truthfully.

Maddison LeRoy

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