What Does Queer Mean to Me?

Queer is such a reclaimed word it seems untrue. It’s absolutely the epitome of a reclaimed slur and it’s so godsdamned inclusive. The whole bloody Quiltbag can use it even the Aces and they tend to get left out of a lot of things (or so it seems to me, I could be wrong)

Queer is what I describe myself as when I can’t be arsed to be more detailed, it’s a shorthand, it’s an ‘I’m Family’ tag when I use it to others inside the Bag. I use Gay in a similar way to Queer but obviously that sometimes feels like I’m invisibling my own self which is, not great.

Having been entirely positive about using the word Queer to describe myself though, I’m not sure I use it very often in regards to others. I’m totally comfortable if those people have self-described as Queer and I can then use it in the manner of “such and such describes themselves as queer”. It’s definitely tonal, “I know so-and-so is Queer but I don’t know what flavour.” is friendly enough that I’d be happy to do it in such speculative terms when with Swiss Family Quiltbag. With straight people? Probably less so, some of them react a little bit more like Dave Chappelle describes White People thinking they’ve been given permission to use the ‘N’ word.

I wrote last year about it being a form of coming out without all the baggage, I think I still agree with it but I’ve had a year of straight people being a bit too happy that companies used Pride Rainbows when they were too cheap to use actual rainbows as supportive to the NHS and others in the pandemic. Like, a bit too happy that it was no longer automatically obvious where our safe spaces were (lets gloss over rainbow-washing for now). Queer and the tone it’s used in is still like shoving a handkerchief in your back pocket, pretending the ring in your necklace is just a decorative item and announcing it’s bona to vada your dolly old eeks without having to bone up on a century of queer history. Do not even start on the fact it’s easier for me to reference gay men’s history right now.

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