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Old September 5th, 2012, 05:50 PM   #1
Dec8rSk8r
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Smile OK to use the word "Queer" ?

**I didn't ask the question in the title of this thread, it got split off from another thread**

I think a lot of it has to do with how a particular person perceives a word. Just as an example, I know several gay people who would be very offended if they were referred to as “queer”. In fact, I don't think I have heard the word queer used in that context the public media for quite, but perhaps it's a new thing.

If you tell someone that you don’t like a certain word, or that you are offended by it and why (even if they don’t agree that a word is especially offensive); usually they will be nice enough to stop using it. I've been on both ends of that stick here.

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Old September 5th, 2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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I think a lot of it has to do with how a particular person perceives a word. Just as an example, I know several gay people who would be very offended if they were referred to as “queer”
This reminds me of a forum conversation we had in the past with someone who said he should be able to use the "N" word in our forum to describe himself or other black people because he was black, but he would be offended if a non-black person used that word in the same way.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with someone taking that position (and we don't need to get into that here), I'm sure everyone must realize allowing some people to use a word often perceived as derogatory, and disallowing others to use that same word is completely unworkable in an online forum. How could we ever be sure who was really black or queer, and who was just taking advantage of a loophole to openly use their favorite derogatory term?

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Old September 5th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #3
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I have to say, I've never known anyone to take offense at the use of the term "queer", and some of my best mates are gay. They have always spoken openly with me, and I'm pretty sure they would have told me if that was something that they were not comfortable with, even if it was just so I could explain it to someone else.

Swolltitan, I understand what you mean, but without a lot of those conversations nothing would have changed.
Plus there is a lot to that story.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 12:04 AM   #4
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I have to say, I've never known anyone to take offense at the use of the term "queer", and some of my best mates are gay. They have always spoken openly with me, and I'm pretty sure they would have told me if that was something that they were not comfortable with, even if it was just so I could explain it to someone else.
Maybe it is an Australian term, or a college crowd thing? It must one of the two, because I know Hot Lips wouldn't use a term she considered derogatory to refer to herself as, but that word in the states has been traditionally defined as a derogatory term. - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/queer

I just know, that, of the gay people I know in their forties, they prefer the term "gay". Not that it amounts to a hill of beans in this case, but it is interesting that what is considered a derogatory term to one person, isn't to another.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 02:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dec8rSk8r View Post
Maybe it is an Australian term, or a college crowd thing? It must one of the two, because I know Hot Lips wouldn't use a term she considered derogatory to refer to herself as, but that word in the states has been traditionally defined as a derogatory term. - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/queer

I just know, that, of the gay people I know in their forties, they prefer the term "gay". Not that it amounts to a hill of beans in this case, but it is interesting that what is considered a derogatory term to one person, isn't to another.
This is, like, gender studies 301 coming at you -- one of my academic specialties is queer studies, so there's a bit of history here.

I've certainly run into people who prefer to use very specific terms -- gay, lesbian, homosexual, etc -- for personal or political reasons (the one I'm most familiar with is the various lesbian feminisms, especially the left-wing ones, in the 70s -- they were adamant about using lesbian rather than any other term). Some people find it politically problematic to be lumped under a single banner -- they feel that it's a way of minimising and eliminating difference, which can be very dangerous for minority groups. But, I can't recall running into anyone who found the use of the word queer in and of itself actually offensive. I also haven't met everyone in the whole world so I'm not calling your account into question, Dec8r.

The term queer is, as you say, historically offensive -- this was true in Australia too! But it's largely been reclaimed and within 'the community', it generally serves as a kind of umbrella term -- a non-judgemental, non-exclusive way to encompass the huge variety of gender and sexual identities that don't fit into heteronormative boxes. The other option is to use an acronym, which started as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans); I see it most often as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer), but also LGBTQIAA (... queer, intersex, asexual and allies). Sometimes just one A. It gets unwieldy, so I just say queer.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 02:19 AM   #6
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Oi vey. I would never use the word queer. I lean toward gay or lesbian, though I sometimes use gay generically. Queer is OK now? I'll take that with a grain of salt until I hear others use it.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 02:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hot Lips View Post
This is, like, gender studies 301 coming at you -- one of my academic specialties is queer studies, so there's a bit of history here.

I've certainly run into people who prefer to use very specific terms -- gay, lesbian, homosexual, etc -- for personal or political reasons (the one I'm most familiar with is the various lesbian feminisms, especially the left-wing ones, in the 70s -- they were adamant about using lesbian rather than any other term). Some people find it politically problematic to be lumped under a single banner -- they feel that it's a way of minimising and eliminating difference, which can be very dangerous for minority groups. But, I can't recall running into anyone who found the use of the word queer in and of itself actually offensive. I also haven't met everyone in the whole world so I'm not calling your account into question, Dec8r.

The term queer is, as you say, historically offensive -- this was true in Australia too! But it's largely been reclaimed and within 'the community', it generally serves as a kind of umbrella term -- a non-judgemental, non-exclusive way to encompass the huge variety of gender and sexual identities that don't fit into heteronormative boxes. The other option is to use an acronym, which started as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans); I see it most often as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer), but also LGBTQIAA (... queer, intersex, asexual and allies). Sometimes just one A. It gets unwieldy, so I just say queer.
Hmm, I don't know if mainstream society is aware that the word "queer" has been reclaimed or not. Like I said, you never hear of people being referred to by public media as "queer", it is usually that they are gay.

I think of a charming game we played as kids called "Smear the Queer". The usage of that word, to me, is almost as bad as calling someone a f** or any other homosexual slur.

I don't think it is just me, or how historic the word "queer" is as a slur either, when I google it, the first 3 dictionary definitions that jump up at me all make references to the word being offensive.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/queer
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive
a. homosexual.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/queer
often disparaging : homosexual (2) sometimes offensive : gay 4b

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/queer
Offensive Slang Homosexual.

The word may being reclaimed, and I believe you; but remember, we are just common folks on here for the most part and not scholars of homosexuality, so we aren't invited to the meetings where these things are decided to know what words are ok again. I am not going to test it out by calling my gay friends "queer" for fear of offending them, but I will ask them how they feel about the word. I am sure their road is hard enough without me bing another bump in it.

I don't want to debate it the usage of it anyway. I was just using that as an example since it came up in the thread of how we can have different perceptions of what's offensive.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 06:41 AM   #8
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... Like I said, you never hear of people being referred to by public media as "queer", it is usually that they are gay. ...
You also don't hear the media refer to black people by the n word, either. Same thing here, TBH.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 10:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dec8rSk8r View Post
Hmm, I don't know if mainstream society is aware that the word "queer" has been reclaimed or not.
I know this does not really prove a point, but not that long ago there was an incredibly successful, and very mainstream tv show called Queer eye for the straight guy, remember that?
I certainly don't remember there being any problems with the use of the word queer.
Another one was queer as folk, maybe not as mainstream, but hugely successful.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 12:09 PM   #10
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I know this does not really prove a point, but not that long ago there was an incredibly successful, and very mainstream tv show called Queer eye for the straight guy, remember that?
I certainly don't remember there being any problems with the use of the word queer.
Another one was queer as folk, maybe not as mainstream, but hugely successful.
It's all in the context. A lot of words can be offensive if used in the wrong context. Like referring to someone as gay in reference to their sexuality, or heterosexuals calling someone gay as an inferred insult.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 12:17 PM   #11
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I know this does not really prove a point, but not that long ago there was an incredibly successful, and very mainstream tv show called Queer eye for the straight guy, remember that?
I certainly don't remember there being any problems with the use of the word queer.
Another one was queer as folk, maybe not as mainstream, but hugely successful.
At least for my area of the states, its basically if you are part of that group, its okay to use the terminology. If you arnt, you shouldnt bring it up.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 12:26 PM   #12
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You also don't hear the media refer to black people by the n word, either. Same thing here, TBH.
That is one word that isn't going to be allowed to be reclaimed, not that anyone is lobbying for it's reinstatement anyway. Too much bad history.
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I know this does not really prove a point, but not that long ago there was an incredibly successful, and very mainstream tv show called Queer eye for the straight guy, remember that?
I certainly don't remember there being any problems with the use of the word queer.
Another one was queer as folk, maybe not as mainstream, but hugely successful.
I remember. I am not sure why they would want to reclaim a word to define them that was originally used as an insult, but whatever, I probably wouldn't understand the logic behind that anyway because I haven't walked in their shoes.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #13
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In the U.S., the word "queer", used to be a discreet way of defining someone as homosexual. Over time it became used in a more vulger sense. Since the word implies "wrong" to many, the term "gay" was adopted and driven to mainstream acceptance. I thought it was a silly word at the time, because not all homosexuals are happy, but who am I to argue?

If it is in common use in Australia, but not in America, I certainly hope that we can adhere to our native colloquialisms and no one be offended. But, anyway, that is my recollection of the history of that term in America. Maybe that helps.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 02:04 PM   #14
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At least for my area of the states, its basically if you are part of that group, its okay to use the terminology. If you arnt, you shouldnt bring it up.
Well I say BS to that theory! Either a word should be acceptable to be used, or not. For example, I am a woman, but that doesn't entitle me to refer to other women in an uncomplementary manner because there is more than my feelings to be considered there.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #15
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That is one word that isn't going to be allowed to be reclaimed, not that anyone is lobbying for it's reinstatement anyway. Too much bad history.
It was reclaimed a long time ago, hence it's prevalence in music of Black origin; the subjugated group uses words that were once used by others to denigrate them, thus gaining ownership of the word and changing it’s meaning to be something desirable (or at least, not negative), which gives them psychological power to resist those who would oppress them (because that term then becomes a badge of honor).

This has happened many times, it does have a positive effect.

Now, can we get back on topic?

For me, context is everything and words that do not have negative connotations can still be used with offensive intent. In some cases a more stringent eye from moderators would be appreciated from me, but choosing what to remove will usually be a judgment call and the tricky part is making sure all moderators are on the same page.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 04:01 PM   #16
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It was reclaimed a long time ago, hence it's prevalence in music of Black origin; the subjugated group uses words that were once used by others to denigrate them, thus gaining ownership of the word and changing it’s meaning to be something desirable (or at least, not negative), which gives them psychological power to resist those who would oppress them (because that term then becomes a badge of honor).

This has happened many times, it does have a positive effect.
I disagree, I see nothing positive about that word. I think it's continued usage just keeps the old prejudices fresh in people's minds.

I realize most of you are considerably younger than me at 48, but if someone's usage of that word ever interrupted your good time and made you have to fight because someone decided to be ignorant, I bet would you have have a different viewpoint on the n word and how exactly how cool it is when people say that.

You are welcome to think what you want, but I take a similar viewpoint as Richard Pryor - http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/op...edjackson.html
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Now, can we get back on topic?
No one is stopping you from talking about the original topic...
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Old September 6th, 2012, 04:03 PM   #17
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i cannot stand the way the world has become so politically correct and has bred people to take offence at any little word, even when no offence was intended, and yes gay is the stupidest way to describe homosexual men i have ever heard
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Old September 6th, 2012, 04:30 PM   #18
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Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just avoid using slang such as that? The term would only be referenced if you were trying to describe someone else, which we shouldn't be picking apart people. We pick apart discussions/opinions a lot but we shouldn't be doing so to the person... and I dont think anyone would say Those skates are queer! Unless your name is Oh i dont Know, ImmaturE?
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Old September 6th, 2012, 05:46 PM   #19
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I don't agree that 'queer' is slang. Seriously, it's in my job description at one of the most elite universities in the world.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 06:48 PM   #20
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer

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Other LGBT people may avoid queer because they associate it with political radicalism, or simply because they perceive it as the faddish slang of a "younger generation.
I'm not intending to insult anyone, but perception is everything. Same as the n word, some people use it instead of saying brother or whatever, and its not slang. To others who dont use it or talk to people as such, it is.
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