Identifying as queer means different things to different people. Below are some members of Warwick Pride explaining what it means to them.
Please note that for some ‘queer’ is still a derogatory term. Please make sure that you only use it if someone personally identifies as queer.
I identify as a lesbian woman and as a queer woman. Whilst some LGBTUA+ people use the term queer because they are attracted to more than one gender, I identify as queer for other reasons. I like how ‘queer’ can be used by anyone in the LGBT+ community regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The term allows for a fluidity of sexual orientation and gender identity/presentation. I like the sense of community and connection it provides as an umbrella term. I also feel that ‘queer’ is a more political term because it is a reclaimed slur that reminds us of why LGBTUA+ spaces need to exist. From my own experience ‘queer culture’ rejects elements of racism, sexism and heteronormativity found in mainstream gay and lesbian culture.
For me, identifying as queer offers a lot more flexibility than other labels. I don’t have to specify to people how I’m “not straight”, because frankly most of the time that’s no one’s business but mine. It also has a social and political context which is important to me. Depending on the context I might also use other labels to define my orientation, and identifying as queer is great because it’s still compatible with those labels.
I personally ID as queer. I prefer it over other labels. Personally I’d define it broadly as feeling attraction to individuals, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. I use it because I feel my own sexuality is very complex and has many contributing factors. I feel it also for many people has a political context; that they are aware and active campaigners for lgbt+ rights. I guess ‘queer culture’ also differs a bit from traditional ‘gay culture’ and ‘lesbian culture’ but that’s just in my experience.
I personally like the non-specific nature of ‘queer’ and that it means different things to different people. As someone who prefers not to label orientation and gender, I find ‘queer’ is a good way to ID as LGBTUA+ without really boxing in what I am. To me, it’s very fluid, which I dig. Where I come from, ‘queer’ is very much still used in a hostile way, mostly against gay men but also to refer to anyone who isn’t a cookie-cutter cishet. I completely respect anyone’s right to not identify or use the word queer, and its annoying that I sometimes still use the word as a sort of synonym for ‘LGBTUA+’ ’cause I see how that would be annoying if you didn’t like the word. ‘Queer’ has a lotta history behind it, but I don’t really tend to identify with it in the political sense. ‘Queer culture’ for me, is just a comfortable place to hide from LGBTUA+-phobia.