Monday, November 25, 2013

My Big, Gay Blog Post

My Relationship with the Word Queer

I identify as queer. That being said, it’s a word that I have a love/hate relationship with- just like I do with chocolate, my cat Burnie, and expensive makeup. I use the word queer mainly because I don’t feel comfortable yet telling people that in my heart of hearts I identify as a unicorn kitty. Being queer is very much a part of me now, but I usually get mixed reactions when I describe myself in that way. Most people say something like:

But isn’t Queer an insult?

Well, not necessarily. It has been used as a pejorative word to describe LGBTQ people. However, this word is slowly being taken back by those who identify as Queer. Any word can be negative or positive, depending on the intent of the person who is saying it and the context of which it is said. That’s part of what makes language so fun.

Let me explain.

Via RainbowUnicornKitty

Growing up, I had a pretty normal childhood. I never questioned who I was as a person, what I was growing up to be, or how I felt about things. I didn’t need to. There was Texas country around me. I sang Sunday morning specials and scraped my knees on everything in sight. I was a normal kid.

But I wasn’t straight.

At some point the world starts pressing down on you. When you start to get an idea of the culture surrounding you, you are met by many expectations. I heard the word queer a lot, growing up, and it was never a good word. I knew at a young age that being queer was wrong. Everywhere I went, this message was reinforced- during services on Sunday morning, at school during the week, and on weekends when I went to friends’ houses. So when I realized I was queer, I hated that word. That word hurt me. And it wasn’t until I started looking into queer theory that I realized: queer ISN’T a bad word.

Queer, or Questioning?

Queer is an informative word! It means something! Queer is the word that wraps up the LGBTQIA alphabet soup. The Q is Like an umbrella term that anyone who isn’t straight can stand under to keep the straight off of them, apparently.  Queer is the antithesis of heteronormative. That’s typically what most others agree on, too.
Then you have queer theory. Try not to default this as Women’s Studies and Gay/Lesbian studies because Queertheory is TOTALLY DIFFERENT! It asserts that queer is a compilation of mismatches between sex, gender and desire.

Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about any group, as identities consist of so many elements that to assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic is wrong. Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity.”

Via YellowHallStudio

I know. Mind blown.

Queer etymology has been messy throughout the years, however. Read the last link to find out the correlation between the word "twerk" and "queer". It's kinda awesome. But despite all of the amazing things the word queer means, the  non-LGBTQ definition we know today is much more telling about why I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I heard the word. The dictionary defines queer in two ways. In the first, it is defined as “odd, peculiar, weird, freakish” or “unnatural”. The second definition is quite simple. “To spoil or ruin”. So when you are called a queer in this derogatory fashion, really happy thoughts of puppies and butterflies meander about in your head, right? Wrong. 

Queer has been an insult in our culture. A word used to debilitate those who are different, a word used to cut down someone, or make them feel less than. We do this with a lot of LGBTQ terminology. Sometimes I wonder why people use the word “gay” to emphasize that something, anything, really (homework, popsicles that melt too quickly, hangnail…) is stupid.  Have you like, heard someone say “LIKE OHMAGOSH THAT IS SOOOOO GAY.” Like, find a more appropriate word, like, please.

I am gay.  AND?

Via BuzzFeed

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m a normal personBeing a quote-on-quote normal person is solely defined by me.  For the group of people who define me as abnormal for their own personal sense of normality, I would advise them to get a hobby. I hear exercise, crochet and pottery are nice! I have all the feels, people. Imagine you have a little spotted puppy. You wouldn’t scold a little puppy for being spotted, would you? You might scold a puppy for pooping right next to your bed, or barking really loudly every time you turned your television on, or digging into the trashcan and eating all of the trash. BUT NOT FOR BEING GAY- I mean, um, spotted.  Let’s practice that with people, too!

No homo, get outta here.

What are the real consequences to word usage, though? People are so hyper focused on the fact that gay people cannot get married in certain states. The fact that legally, we aren’t entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples is completely dwarfed, in my opinion, to the negative stigma attached to being  “gay,” “queer,” “homo,” or “faggot,”. I’m more concerned about kids being harassed at schools for being queer, being subject to higher rates of illegal substance abuse, or being disowned and alienated by their own families for being dykes.
It’s kind of a downer to think about, but as the word queer progresses, so do people’s mindsets! And that, my friends, is really awesome. I want everyone to be seen as the cool snowflake they are. That means self-defining, not being afraid to change your views or your self-identification, and being cool with other people and their way of defining themselves. 

Queer on, y’all. Queer on. 

Via SnowCrystals

1 comment:

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