Queer

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Queer is an umbrella term for minority sexual orientations and gender identities[1] that are not heterosexual, heteronormative or gender-binary. In the context of Western identity politics the term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestyles that typify mainstream LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) communities as being oppressive or assimilationist.

This term is controversial because it was reappropriated only two decades ago from its use as an anti-gay epithet. Furthermore, some LGBT people disapprove of using queer as a catch-all because they consider it offensive, derisive or self-deprecating given its continuous use as a form of hate speech.

Contents


Background

Origin

Since its emergence in the English language in the 16th century (related to the German quer, meaning "across, at right angle, diagonally or transverse"), queer has generally meant "strange", "unusual", or "out of alignment". It might refer to something suspicious or "not quite right", or to a person with mild derangement or who exhibits socially inappropriate behaviour. The expression "in Queer Street" was used in the UK as of the 1811 edition of Francis Grose's A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue for someone in financial trouble.[2]

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