Gay or Queer and Why it Matters

Some use it to encompass all non-heterosexual, non-cisgender identities. That’s an understandable use of the term – like I mentioned, I interpret it to be partially about giving space for exploring gender and sexuality, and including so many different groups of people demands that space, demands a challenge to stability. Certainly a wide variety of non-heterosexual, non-cisgender folks are queer.

But though queer might cover some part of that spectrum, it is not limited to it. I am not gay nor lesbian nor bisexual nor transgender. I am not anything other than just queer.

There are people who some of you might call straight, if you looked at them and their partners and impose genders onto them, but who are actually queer. And many gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals do not identify as queer.

Like plenty of the names marginalized people call themselves, queer has a fraught history of reclamation, many controversial political implications, and a universalizing aspect that is too contradictory for some.

Source: 3 Differences Between the Terms ‘Gay’ and ‘Queer’ — and Why It Matters – Everyday Feminism

Adrian Ballou is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. A genderqueer writer, artist, activist, and educator who does youth development work both inside and outside the classroom, they particularly enjoy writing and facilitating social justice education and youth organizing curriculum.

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4 thoughts on “Gay or Queer and Why it Matters

  1. I understand the direction from which you are coming from in making this post… but… maybe cause this has been a stress day for me.. I suppose I was “inspired” to this reply. It seems more and more “poor” old elitist, white privileged, the-Constitution-is-a-white-man’s-document target, kinda white guy, like myself, are being constantly the subject of all the minorities’ maladies in this country… be they racial or sexual identity. Native Americans want respect their way, Hispanics want respect their way, African-Americans want respect, real and moral reparations for being enslaved, and everything their way. Then there’s the LGBT community who all want respect… in four sets of ways… just for sexual identity. Then add to that all the damn labels they prefer to have, the labels they find offensive (this week), and the labels only they can use with each other (like it’s some secret handshake not-for-whites).
    Hell, I can’t even have an opinion one way or another because I am a hetero white man and all I have known is privilege, for fear of pissing off some minority.
    I dislike Trump.. and I dislike the far right conservative bigotry… but there are times I can certainly understand their frustration.

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    1. History is littered with stories of people seeking equality. The French revolution removed the monarchy in favor of an elected parliament. Women were not allowed to vote until the 1920-30s in most countries. More groups of individuals who are want equality have appeared during the last 50 years. Their struggle goes back much further. I hope you read the entire article because it has little or nothing to do with Trump. Think of it more on a global scale where in some countries women cannot drive or go to school and being gay could be a death sentence.

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  2. I am a transgender individual, living in a male body but mostly identifying as female without resorting to artifices to prove myself to myself. I do not like the terms “queer” or “gay” either. My transgender is a sacred reality which led me to eschew sexual activities many decades ago, using my gift to detach from any sexual conformity to seek a more spiritual (compassionate) existence. It is a wonderful place to be in, one that can coexist naturally and simply with humility and what I call “servanthood” towards others. Without sexual needs and no expectations from others I can live a totally non-threatening and non-defensive life. Sometimes I think that this is the way people should be looking into, hence why such an approach is diligently ignored in favour of the endless sex-based, gender-based conflicts. People love conflict, it seems.

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