Question of the Week: August 16th, 2016.

Do you identify as queer? If you see that word, do you include yourself in the community being indicated? 

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is
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8 Responses to Question of the Week: August 16th, 2016.

  1. luvtheheaven says:

    I consider asexuality to be queer, and aromanticism is queer too: as in the word “queer” is a good description, because these orientations are “not straight”… but I don’t exactly identify as queer. I like queer as an umbrella term, and I feel somewhat queer in a broad sense. But I, personally, don’t want to identify with the less specific word when something more specific fits me, I suppose.

    I kind of feel similar about “queer” as I do about “celibate”. Yes I am both. No I won’t go around using that word when I talk about myself and my identity because I worry about connotations and miscommunications and stuff. XD Maybe that’s all it is.

  2. Sarah M says:

    Yes, I identify as queer. I identify as queer because I’m decidedly not straight. I’m attracted to people of any gender (not just the same gender as myself, not just people that fit into the gender binary). I identify as queer because I’m not really interested in “traditional” relationship dynamics — whatever that means. I am both queer and asexual, but not separately. Being asexual is part of my queerness, and being queer is part of my asexuality. Identifying as queer feels a little bit subversive, and I like that.

  3. Writer Ace says:

    I’ve increasingly started identifying as queer. I think some of that is reflexive; people saying asexuality isn’t queer makes me push back to say no, I am queer. My mind still wants to default to straight because I thought of myself as straight for so long, si sometimes i need to remind myself that being bi and ace I am in no way straight. I tend to think of myself as queer most in terms of academic stuff like queer theory.

  4. Sennkestra says:

    I do identify with queer, but for me it’s sort of like… a tertiary identity rather than a primary one or even a secondary one? Like, it’s a term that resonates with me and if someone said “clap if you ID as queer”, I would join in, but it’s also not something I see myself leading with in conversation or an introduction.

    As for whether I include myself in the community being indicated…well. Theoretically, yes, but in practice….it depends. While I certainly consider myself part of the “queer community” as I define it, the linguist in me knows that the definition I prefer is definitely not always the way other people are using it. So when I see things like “event for queer people only” or “queer people can…”, I sort of have to make a gut judgment based on my familiarity with the context – in some cases, yes, I definitely feel included! In other cases…I can tell that they don’t really mean people like me.

    I imagine it’s a bit like some trans people (especially nb folk) might feel about “LGBT” – like, technically it includes trans, which can (should?) be interpreted to include all NB folks, but in practice, when people say “for LGBT people” or “LGBT people are…” they don’t necessarily actually mean trans people too….(see: LGBT/queer community is for same sex attracted people only! Because apparently the T just stands for “transphobes” or something.)

  5. Siggy says:

    Yes, and there are contexts where I identify as queer first. Mainly when I don’t want or need to be specific.

    “Queer” is simply the term of choice for most groups I’ve ever been part of. In undergrad I was a member of the Queer Student Alliance, the Pan-Asian Queers, and more recently, Queer Grads. All of these groups have been intentionally very inclusive, and in fact the names are a part of the inclusivity strategy. In undergrad these groups were incredibly important to me.

    I am aware that on Tumblr these days, many people argue against the word “queer”, instead preferring “LGBT”. The argument is that “queer” is a reclaimed word and therefore its usage should be limited. The argument is motivated by a desire for more exclusivity. This goes against everything I have ever experienced in LGBTQ groups. I strongly suspect that they are trying to “protect” spaces that they themselves have never participated in.

    • Writer Ace says:

      I actually saw the “queer is a reclaimed slur and so usage should be limited” argument fairly recently, though not on Tumblr. Kind of bizarrely, it was being used by a lesbian ace person in an email group I’m part of to exclude me from talking about my experience/view on how queerness should be represented in media because I only said I was ace and so they assumed I was straight (which was part of a whole host of other issues, but whatever).

      Basically, the main argument that they gave there was that people who had experienced same-sex attraction/had been in same-sex relationships had suffered more, so theirs were the voices that mattered when talking about queerness/queer representation, and so I, a “straight” (I’m bi) ace was talking over them when I shouldn’t be because aces weren’t queer unless they were also gay/bi/etc.. This is also a highly biphobic concept because it assumes that to qualify, bi people must have been in a same-sex relationship. Essentially, though, I have seen that same argument, though with different reasoning behind it.

    • Sciatrix says:

      Yep. All this. Except I haven’t personally been part of many organizations that explicitly use queer, because mine have been more likely to be named things like the Lambda Alliance rather than use either the terms LGBT or queer. I did run into an older gay man at a recent conference lunch (from OutGroup, which is possibly the best name for an org of queer evolutionary biologists ever) who complained that he disliked queer because to him, it invoked memories of it being thrown as a slur at him.

      Which I hear, and I get. But speaking for me personally, the words thrown as slurs I grew up hearing were never queer–they were “gay” or “lesbian”! There’s a big generational gap there about which words are actually used as slurs around us, and in my experience queer has always been a word used by and for self-identified people, whereas gay or lesbian is more likely to be thrown by straight people who may or may not mean polite things by it.

  6. Cracticus says:

    I find I consider aces queer but find it difficult to consider myself queer, especially since I’m heteroromantic. I guess I like to consider myself quiant. I haven’t gotten involved with any queer groups, though a lot of my queer friends do treat me as though I’m queer.

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