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It’s hard to define the word ‘queer.’ For different people, it means different things.

QUEER /kwir/

adjective

• strange; odd.

• an alternative that some people use to blur the idea of the labels and categories such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc.

• an in-group term or a word that can be considered offensive to some people, depending on their generation, geographic location

• a reclaimed umbrella term used to describe the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and generally non-heterosexual or non-binary communities. Queer is the opposite of Straight.        

There isn’t a clear definition of the word. There isn’t a clear consensus on how the LGBTQ community feels about the word. Some have reclaimed it and use it as an easy umbrella term. Others hear or read the word and are immediately turned off. It’s still a word covered in filth and hurt. Some use it as a way to express exclusivity into a radical faerie’s way of life and thinking.

OUT FRONT’s staff spent many meetings and arguments on whether to use the word in our magazine. We discussed when it should be used. We talked about the backlash we might receive. We talked about what the word meant to us. Ultimately, we settled on using queer when both the writer and the subject of the story agree with it. In all other instances we’ll use LGBTQ to represent our community.

For us, queer is used as an umbrella term for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ or something other than the heteronormative worldview that promotes heterosexuality.

Sexuality and gender are fluid. Nothing is black and white, and all of us live somewhere in the grey area that falls between the opposing sides. Someone may not identify as gay, lesbian, or transgender, but they still live within our community. We must make an effort to include these people.

Being queer is first and foremost a state of mind. It is a worldview characterized by acceptance, through which one embraces and validates all the unique, unconventional ways in which individuals express themselves, particularly with respect to gender and sexual orientation. It is about acknowledging the infinite number of complex, fluid identities that exist outside the few limited, dualistic categories considered legitimate by society.

Being queer means that people are accepted for being themselves. They are celebrated for living authentically how they want to live and not letting social norms dictate how they navigate our world.

Being queer means challenging everything that’s considered normal.

Being queer means recognizing that people don’t have to live with specific labels that potentially ignore their intersectionality.

Being queer means spreading love and happiness and standing up for what is right.