What does queer mean?

The term “Queer” is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “weird” or “strange.” It was first used as an insult to gay men. In the late 1980s, people in LGBTQ+ communities reclaimed it as a symbol of protest and self-determination in the face of social norms of gender and sexuality. Today, the term can be used to refer to “any idea, practice, person or identity that goes against the norms structuring the heteronormative and cisnormative social model” (CCGQ, 2014, p.21). For example, a queer person may:

– not adhere to the duality of genders and sexualities (feminine vs. masculine; heterosexuality vs. homosexuality) and defining themselves outside the traditional categories of gender and sexual orientation, or;

– refuse to be labelled based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is an umbrella term in the fluid sense that encompasses all sexual orientations, gender identities and practices. It states a difference without having to define it rigidly. Many LGBTQ people, even if they refuse labels and do not adhere to gender and sexual binarities, don’t identify with the term queer. It is important to recognize the identification chosen by the person.


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