For gay men, “queer” has been an ugly slur
By Clayton Braxton
In recent days, we’ve seen a number of people, both gay and straight, use various terms as demonstrate their support of the LGBTQ community. It’s heartwarming – truly – given how much we’ve all been through.
However, there’s something that needs to be addressed.
I’ll preface what follows by saying I am the first to admit that our ever growing soup of acronyms used to describe the collective rainbow community can be difficult to keep up with. With each new year, it seems we add yet another letter to LGBTQA.
But as a gay man, there is one term that pisses me off because it just hits me the wrong way.
I can only speak for myself and I recognize others may not agree but here it goes. The term queer has always been a nasty, vile slur that ranks right up there with another word that starts with F and rhymes with maggot.
Yet, I continue to see many straight people on Facebook and other social media outlets use “queer” as a way of talking about gays and lesbians in a way that makes it seem like it’s OK to use a “naughty phrase” because it’s become more PC.
Again, I may be going against the tide here but I personally do not find the word “queer” to be empowering. Not even remotely.
Stop for a moment and ask yourself how many gay, lesbian and transgender people heard the slur “queer” as they got kicked, stabbed, shot, maimed or beaten to death?
I can remember when I was in high school people saying things like, “Oh that guy is a queer – stay away.” And what about family members who hurled that term around like it was nothing, unknowing at the time that the slur was being said in front of someone like me who was gay?
There’s long been a debate about the word queer and rather or not it is truly offensive. I’ve heard everything from: “It depends upon how you use it” to “Until we come up with an all-encompassing term, why change it?”
My response is this – bullshit.
We don’t hear supporters of blacks and Latinos using slurs to demonstrate support. We don’t see college classes adopting historically offensive names to promote an area of study.
Yet as time marches on, more and more people are using this word in the media, on the web and in personal story sharing.
So why on earth has it become OK to do this with gay people?
How many gay, lesbian and transgender people heard the slur “queer” as they got kicked, stabbed, shot, maimed or beaten to death?
The social justice warriors have actively tried to grab on to “queer” by saying that as a community, we can reclaim this slur and fashion it into something positive.
Some people in the world of academia justify its use suggesting it’s a great way of referring to a minority community for research purposes.
Sorry but no, I disagree.
Look, I know that there are going to be many people who do not agree with what I am sharing here. I get it. And I recognize that it can be helpful to have a word or phrase that is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transexual, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, and pansexual.
But “queer” – at least to me as a gay man – isn’t it.
Maybe you are wondering if you should use the word queer when talking about the LGBTQ community? Perhaps you question if it is OK to use this term when referring to yourself?
Well, if you listen to the social justice warriors, they’ll tell you it is a personal choice. But isn’t that just slimy way of justifying their own use of the slur without really having to take a stand?
Here’s my final thought. If you have to worry about using the word queer, maybe you shouldn’t use it at all.