Here Is Why I Use the Word 'Queer'

I'm a lesbian because, baby, I was born this way. (Sorry, it's stuck in my head now too.)

But I'm queer by choice. I'm queer because I believe that lesbian, gay, bi, trans, poly, and asexual people and everyone else has the right to identify in a way that feels authentic to them, and that no one should have to suffer a lack of inclusion because of that identity.

I know there are people who take issue with the word "queer." I've heard it all:

  • "It seems negative." It's only negative if we let the bad guys keep control of it.

  • "It seems old-school." It's only old-school if we don't take this chance to breathe new life into it.
  • "What does it really mean?" It means we're not straight and/or cisgender.
  • "It makes me sound weird." A word can't make you sound weird.
  • "My mom doesn't understand it." Explain it to her.
  • "I don't want to be associated with those people." You are those people. We are those people. We are all people.
  • That word has been used against us in the past. But you can't use a word against someone who already calls that word their own. So I claim it. I own. I use it, and I wear it. I am queer.

    "Queer" is the most inclusive word that we have; "LGBT" leaves out some of our family. Sure, we could add more letters, but it's cumbersome as it is. Why not utilize a word that already exists and is used in pop culture, even in the most mainstream television programming, like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

    We are becoming more and more integrated into the mainstream, and that's great, but we're still different -- not bad-different, not better-different, just good-different -- and we should acknowledge and celebrate those differences, those very things that make us, well, queer.

    Words are the most powerful weapon we have. Guns and knives and bombs may be able to kill people, but only words can change people, and that's what I want. That's want I really want. I want to see change. I want to live in a world where everyone is queer.

    Now, don't get all bent out of shape. I'm not talking about sexual orientation. I'm talking about the true meaning of the word, the things that really do make me queer and proud of it.

    "Queer" means "out of the ordinary." It means "curious." It means "unexpected." It also means "weird." And I'm that too.

    I'm weird because I follow my heart in a world that tells everyone to follow the band.

    I'm weird because I speak the truth in a world that has a very bad habit of killing the messenger.

    I'm weird because I let my brain decide in a world where too many people listen to some man who says, "Hallelujah, Amen, pass the plate, and pay up."

    I'm weird because I choose to live authentically in a world that hates people for choosing happy.

    I'm weird because I dictate how I live and love in a world where mass media has replaced the voice of intellect and reason.

    Whom I love, whom I fuck, whom I call my family define who I am. And whom I love, whom I fuck, and whom I call my family are all too often reviled because of ignorance.

    If ignorance is the new normal, I choose weird any day.

    I choose queer every day.