Once upon a (more narrow-minded) time, there weren’t nearly as many sex and you may sexual direction words to help folx define themselves and find their communities as there are today. Now, as language and understanding continue to evolve, more identity-related words are being added to all of our dictionary from terms and conditions (yay!), but that doesn’t mean that many of the original terms aren’t still used widely. In fact, many people still gravitate toward the word “queer” to best describe themselves and their community.
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If you’re wondering what the actual definition of “queer” is, Elise Schuster, Miles per hour, co-founder and executive director of OkaySo, says the simplest way to describe it is “not straight.” For them, it’s an identity and/or orientation that doesn’t align with the heteronormative presumption that everyone’s automatically heterosexual and heteroromantic. While you might’ve heard the word used as an insult, the term has actually been reclaimed by the community as an act of empowerment, says certified sex therapist, Amanda Pasciucco, AASECT.
“For many people who use the term ‘queer,’ it is specifically about embracing this idea of being out of mainstream ideas and embracing one’s own authentic self,” Schuster explains. In general, “queerness” is an umbrella term that is both an orientation and a community for those on the LGBTQIA+ range.
Considering how many people the term can describe-both as individuals and as a community-it’s definitely an important word to understand and celebrate. Whether you consider yourself queer, you’re trying to getting a better friend, or you simply want to learn more, here’s everything you need to know about the definition of and history behind the term.
And this orientations get into new queer umbrella?
As the “queer” is such a standard title, it’s a small perplexing to decide whom, exactly, it applies to. Centered on Schuster, “any [orientation or identity] that’s not straight” is queer. “Past that, it’s really regarding in case your people with that identity desires to find on their own to be section of a bigger queer umbrella,” they explain.
To many, queerness encompasses an intersection of identities. Pasciucco adds that the term indicates an “individual who self-identifies as either lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer (also sometimes called ‘questioning’), intersex and/otherwise asexual, aka the LGBTQIA+ community.”
To keep it supes simple, if someone describes themselves as queer, it’s quite often because their sexual direction and you may/or intercourse falls under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella rather than the heterosexual norm. That said, there are so many ways to identify as queer, so if you feel like you’re queer and want to own it, go forth with pride.
Very…which orientations are not queer?
The definition of queer varies depending on who you ask, so it’s a little tricky to determine who isn’t queer. Since sexuality is a spectrum, it sometimes makes using the term polarizing for bisexual and heteroflexible individuals (even though they totally count). Generally, someone who is heterosexual, heteroromantic, cisgender, and monogamous wouldn’t be considered queer-but there’s an exception.
Pasciucco, for example, utilizes the “+” sign when referring the league search to the queer community in order to indicate pangender otherwise pansexual individuals and those in alternative relationship communities, such as polyamory, kink, or low-monogamy. “As a person who is mostly in other-sex relationships, not all individuals who identify as queer believe that people like me, or people in the plus [of LGBTQIA+], ought to be included in the community,” Pasciucco explains.
Critics say that for a straight, poly person to describe themselves as queer is piggybacking on ental rights and celebrate their identities. The word queer, however, is intentionally vague, and with such vagueness also comes different interpretations. And the truth is, some people within polyamorous otherwise kink communities do identify as queer even if they enjoy solely heterosexual relationships. “Just because it’s one penis and one vagina, that doesn’t mean there’s not some queer aspect of you,” queer sex therapist Kelly Wise, PhD explains.
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