A lot of this was going to be a reply to a post that was deleted but I think it is still worth saying.
There’s a “twitter rant” photoset that gets passed around every so often that equates “q*eer” and the general terms “gay” and “lesbian”
as “reclaimed slurs”- this is historical revisionism.
of the word “gay” (as literally everyone knows at this point) is a slang
term that meant “happy”. Probably less known is the path it took to
being applied to people who experience same-sex attraction. The
definition began to mean individuals who were, beyond merely happy,
“happy-go-lucky and carefree”, “straight” also appeared around this time
as its opposite for someone more serious (i.e. The “straight man” in
comedy routines), eventually the definition drifted towards hedonism and
it was around this point that it began to be used a euphamism for gay
people (lesbian wasn’t a distinct term yet) and gay people began to use it as well.
Now, at the same time,
“q*eer” was drifting from its original meaning of “strange” towards its
modern meaning but one of the earliest uses on record was by the
Marquess of Queensberry- the same man responsible for Oscar Wilde’s
conviction of “gross indecency” and sentence of two years hard labor
which eventually killed him. That is the kind of circle that used words like “q*eer”.
Early activists groups specifically promoted the use of “gay” over “q*eer” since the latter was felt to be pejorative. Gay might not have been a good thing to be if you asked a straight person’s opinion on it but it was never a slur (and those straight people were more likely to call you a q*eer anyhow).
to be reclaimed in 80s (and earlier tbh) in the way slurs often are reclaimed- by refusal
to be ashamed and using the word to push back (”not gay as in happy, but
q*eer as in fuck you!”). And I understand some people now having an
affection for it since it carried them through an incredibly difficult
era in LGBT history.
But the broadening of the term removes that same power from those who may still need it, after all, saying “I’m here, I’m q*eer, get used to it!” doesn’t have quite the same bite in a world where Hipster Joe is also “q*eer” because he likes girls with short hair and getting kinky in the bedroom…. but only one of you might get murdered or have your legal rights stripped for your “q*eerness”.
Personally I feel that if you are not targeted by a
slur you shouldn’t use it. But as folks are quite happy to point out: it doesn’t
matter how I feel about seeing slurs everywhere- I can’t stop it. That has always been true no matter who was using the word or why.
also don’t have to like it. And I will point out exactly what
you all are doing when you try to re-write history to suite your
purpose of telling me “to get over it” because you want to apply slurs
to any random social class or behavior.
Gay is not and never was a “slur”.
Q*eer was- and still is- but the power of reclaimation is lost by applying to it random things like friendship. However, as is so “kindly” pointed out each time this comes up- there’s nothing I can do about it.