Am I gay or am I queer? Of course, one could argue it is a semantic question. Or it is possible to argue that gay refers to homosexual males, lesbians to homosexual females, trans* to… etc – and queer to… everyone else? Or all combined. The main issue I have with all of these terms is that they are creating categories (or “boxes” if you so like) which are unnecessarily restrictive, nor do they recognise or embrace a potential for fluidity. Not only that, they are creating an artificial “us” vs. “them”, rather than a collective “we”.
Why is this “we” important? The key to the importance is “normativity”. If you think of the wide field of sexualities (genders, etc…) as a big space, then traditionally there is a “normative” sexuality, e.g. the heterosexual “norm” and another one – or others, as the LGBT+ terminology suggests. Each of the LGBT+ “sexualities” themselves, subdivide themselves into normativities and deviances. That is to say, into even more “us” vs. “them”. You can probably see how this potentially creates many subcategories of subcategories of subcategories – and more “us” vs. “them”. This means building walls instead of cooperations, shutting out allies instead of approaching them, and boxing ourselves in, where we could be free to go where we (and our partners) want to go.
What is the alternative then? And why is the word “queer” such a great term? Well, consider that probably nearly everyone is, at least a little bit, deviant from the norm. In other words, they are a little “queer”. This realisation in itself is really empowering for “queer” folk: It disempowers “normative sexuality”. It creates allies and open spaces to explore with other folk who are “we” – and it does away with static boxes that describe us. In that sense, we become free to explore other humans as humans,.