The “Q Word”


The word “queer” has been a topic of much debate throughout the years. Some say that it should be used, others say not to use it at all, and some even only say that the only people who should be using it are queer people themselves. There are even some that use the term queer as an umbrella term for LGBT people and people who do not fit neatly into lesbian, gay, bi, or trans categories. Although the word has been used in the past to demean and insult people of the LGBT community, there has been a push against this slur. It has been since reclaimed by many LGBT people. However, in many places of the world and even in America, the word queer is still used as a negative rather than a positive.

The relationship that LGBT people have with the word queer is rather broad and there is no collective agreement on who should use it or if you should use it. Although we hear the word queer thrown around on UIS, with queer studies and the umbrella term tossed around (the less used archaic term, meaning strange, sometimes spoken). It’s a term that holds a lot of meaning to many people. Some more positive, others more negative.

Overall, most of the people on campus agree that it is a pretty okay thing to say, so long as you’re referencing LGBT people in a neutral or positive light. But it is also important to understand that some LGBT people that might be on campus might still view the term queer negatively. Although UIS is rather welcoming to those in the LGBT community, communities surrounding UIS might not be and therefore the term queer has probably been said in a more negative light.

It’s important to touch base with people in the LGBT community and ask them if they are comfortable being associated with the word queer before slapping that term on them. It is also especially important for non- LGBT members to be mindful of using the term queer when calling LGBT people that word.

Although I personally am uncomfortable with non- LGBT people calling other people queer, some might not be, and others might not even care. Because queer is such a newly reclaimed word, it is important to be mindful of the other people around you when using it. Regardless of the positive atmosphere that we live in, we should always be aware that other people might be sensitive to it and to avoid using the term around those we don’t know are okay with it.