Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Queer Bait

In my ongoing attempts to figure out what "queer" means, I found this from the good people at Planned Parenthood, whose voice I respect: 

    Queer is sometimes used to express that sexuality and gender can be complicated ...

I for one think sexuality is only as “complicated” as someone wants it to be. Ditto for the unrelated gender. (God help those who have been so brainwashed by gender stereotypes as to believe you must “feel” a certain stereotypical way in order to be either male or female or else you are neither or both. Don’t worry, they is still loved.) 

But the most salient part of this write-up is this:

    Don't call someone "queer" unless you know they're cool with it. The best thing to do is ask what labels people prefer.

Still, I'm amazed by how many people use the term without batting an eye -- often the same people who themselves ask to be identified in precise ways. 

Some are even going so far as trying to retrofit the past with partisan terms from today, like the curator at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh who kept referring to the Pop legend as a "queer" artist and the British outfit that insists on calling the late proudly gay artist David Robilliard "queer." Do Andy and David have any say in this? And did you get a load of the Buzzfeed reporter in the Brooke Shields documentary referring to the "sex workers" in the film "Pretty Baby"?! I'm not convinced that the woman on whose life it was based -- recounted in "Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District" -- necessarily thinks being called a "sex worker" is preferable to prostitute. Which is to say nothing about posthumous "transgender" icon Marsha P. Johnson, who while living specifically distinguished herself as being a "transvestite" or "drag queen" rather than a "transsexual" -- the precursor to transgender -- and lived as "Malcolm" much of the time. (Do Marsha and Malcolm get a say?) 

Let me go on the record here by saying that if someone in my family writes in my obit that I was a "queer blogger" they'd better hope ghosts aren't real! 

LGBT -- or whichever variation you like -- works just fine, thank you, and doesn’t alienate people (gay or otherwise). We finally achieved the acceptance we have always deserved, there’s no reason to not take yes for an answer. 

UPDATE: Just received this gem in my inbox:

If anyone knows what a queer Mother’s Day concert is please contact me. Thanks. 


Koop L said...

BINGO! The irony is the folk who LOVE to use the "word" are the very ones who go crazy if you do not use their "correct" words. They are the ones who insist we all introduce ourselves with our pronouns but do not hesitate to write articles and other materials which describe historical lgbtqia+other folk as q****. I know I'm old, but I grew up with that term being one of the few words used to humiliate and harm me. Later I heard it used as a political word in chants within the gay community.

It's always heartening to see I'm not the only one. The word will never set easily in my mind.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Koop L: Thanks for this thoughtful comment. Your point of consent is such a good one, so I've updated my post to drive it home more than I had.

James Greenlee said...

There's a lot of truth to the fact, that people who use "queer" (whether you like it or not), bristle and get frothy and spitty if they're addressed by a term they themselves don't like. Remember when "tranny" was a controversy, but RuPaul used it? But "queer," we apparently don't get a say in.

Jaradon said...

I'm with Koop L - I never like the q word to describe myself I see it a the gay N word- I did live through the "we are here we are queer" era but that at least rhymed and made some sense- the New York Time uses in every article concerning gays- I guess they gave up on the stupid "Lantinx". I am Hispanic and no Latino I know has used in a sentence.