ADDED ON: 09/10/2020

The conversation surrounding the word ‘queer’ is evolving

09/09/2020 | State Press

Reclamation is an immensely powerful tool as communities and individuals have been reclaiming hate speech to take the power of these words back. Recently, a large part of the LGBTQ+ community has reclaimed the word “queer,” freeing it from centuries of negative association. “Queer” is still defined as strange or odd, even perverse. It is believed to have been derived from the German word “quer,” which means crosswise or slanting, literally not straight. In the 1800s, it was used to describe men who were effeminate, or not straight, even though heterosexuality was not yet clearly defined as a sexual identity — because it was considered the norm. The first account of the word “queer” being used as a slur is by Lord Douglas, Ninth Marquess of Queensbury, where he denounced his son’s supposed lover, Lord Rosebery, with the phrase “snob queers like Rosebery” in the late 1800s. By the 1950s, the word had lost its primary meaning of strange and was chiefly used as a homophobic slur. It was only in the late eighties that a movement was started to re-appropriate the word.


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