…so, I started writing this as a tumblr post for a friend who wanted an explanation of what the word, "queer" means. then tumblr decided to be a pain in my ass about posting the thing and started giving me all kinds of, "post cannot be empty" errors because apparently, my post was too long and tumblr objected. Grumps grumps grumps, this makes me feel angry, heavy aggravated sighing, ETC.
@Khai okay, I'm going to try to be brief and to the point about this, but… we'll see how that goes.
so, "queer" has a lot of potential uses, actually. like I'm not even kidding here, there's a thing in academia called queer theory and queer theory really can't decide what the fuck it is because it originated as a way of basically slashing canonical literary texts*, but it's expanded to cover a lot of different topics and discussions, and one of the many discussions going on within queer theory basically just comes down to, "so wait, what the Hell exactly IS queer theory? and what the Hell do we mean when we use the word 'queer'?" and the only unifying, defining trait of this discussion is that no one can agree with anyone about anything.
that being said, there are a few particular uses of the word, "queer" that are the most common ones out there and the ones you should be the most aware of. The biggest, most popular one of these, and the way that "queer" gets used in a lot of fannish discussions (like… talking about queer characters, queer representation, queer headcanons, etc etc.) is just using "queer" as an umbrella term that means, "this person is not cisgender and/or heterosexual."
…which is, in fairness, a debatable definition because there are some people (in particular, straight trans* women
) who get included/forced under the queer umbrella not by their own choice, but by bigots who have decided that these women are queer by default because they're trans*, so… some straight trans* women choose to reclaim the word and that's their right to do so, but others don't and assuming that all straight trans* people are by necessity queer is cissexist, which is why I personally prefer to say, "queer and/or trans*" when talking about these things. there's a slight issue there in that it could come off like I'm saying that trans* people can't consider themselves queer if they want to, but… I haven't really found a more effective way of doing things that also isn't hugely cissexist in that it assumes that straight trans* people are queer by default, so… it's not perfect, but it's what I prefer to do because it's a step up from the accidental cissexism.( I hate my inability to shut up about anything.Collapse )