By Jim Koury, Editor, Diversity Rules Magazine
© 2011 Diversity Rules Magazine. All rights reserved
As exhibited by a number of my blog and Facebook posts, I have been on a “queer” kick lately! I have a new found appreciation for the word that I feel best represents the inclusiveness of the rainbow community. I don’t really see it as a “label” for what I am, but more of an adjective that denotes solidarity with others of like persuasion.
Since my decision to take on the “queer” mantle, the voices of those who do not like the word have arisen from the shadows as well as those who support the use of and embrace the descriptive term to describe their inner essence. While I respect the opinion of those who are still grounded in the old derogatory connotation of the word, it is time to look beyond that paradigm and consider the new meaning that has emerged. “Queer” has become more mainstream and its use much more liberally applied.
I really hate being referred to as “gay” or “LGBT.” I am not a “bright and showy” person nor am I an acronym. I am a person, a humanist, and one who knows who he is. I also am an activist who works toward the advancement of equality for all in the queer community. I like the political connotation of the word “queer.” It best reflects who I am and what I represent but I certainly am not so bold as to expect everyone to embrace the word for themselves.
Given the empowerment of the Tea Party delusion and the reactionary conservative movement generally, the queer community has increasingly come under attack by those that would have us return the to the dark closet, not to be seen or heard from. They wish also to take away hard earned rights and deny future rights to the queer community. This is another reason why I embrace the word “Queer” and its political connotation. It denotes a sense of power and the action of standing up to those who wish to impose their will on everyone that is different from them or how they perceive everyone should be.
It saddens me how quickly my queer brethren and those who claim to be allies fall victim to the threats and pressure of those who do not think “queer power” should be openly expressed. “Queers United” is such an example. It was a vision I had that could have been a great unifying social and political force in my community. However, due to pressure by “the church community” and those within the queer community who did not like the name “Queers United” with a logo of a rainbow regaled fist in the air, the name was changed to the more antiseptic and yawn inducing “LGBTQ” and Friends.”
Mind you, I certainly have no animosity toward those who felt the need to change course with the name nor do I have any issue with their commitment to equality and providing a purely social outlet for the queer community but it became something that did not represent my vision for what the community needs.
There are many shades of queer! I have made a conscious decision to embrace a bolder and much more forceful shade. What is your “shade of queer?” Search inside yourself and find the answer then establish guidelines for your “shade” and then work within those parameters to achieve what you wish to achieve. Be true to who you are and what you represent, no matter what “shade of queer” you wish to be!
6 thoughts on “A Different Shade of Queer”
I wrote an article myself called Queering the Meaning Of Queer. While of course myself liberally use the word (along with the word gay) there is one thing I do think is worth noting. Namely that term queer is much less likely to be used by the working class, than by white collar professionals and academics. This is based upon research that was done by my queer partner, Dr. Jeffery Dennis.
Naturally this fact raises the question of whether or not the label queer has truly succeeded in breaking down barriers and showing contempt for classism, which were among the original goals of those who use it.
Otherwise, a great article.
Jim, we find this interesting. We don't label ourselves here though. We do feel as the same. Queers meaning is Differential or Abnormal but we prefer Gay here. Bright and Lively Happy aka Queer.. lol A fist to me symbolizes power. Maybe that is how they interepted it in the Churches I don't know. But we feel we shouldn't let others come between who we are or what a person should be or become. As many church goers goes they shall not judge(well we know some do) They judge the poor, they judge us that love the same sex, they judge us all it doesn't matter what color you are they just do it. We love ya Jim hope to read more thanks!
Oh there will be more, trust me! Thanks for your input. I respect all and love all, but on guard at the same time with some… LOL.
Oh yes, and Jeremy, that is one of my points in the article that we need to see it to believe it. I see it breaking down barriers in my mind, so I believe it will be so.
Read your areticle with interest and respect your stance. However, as I also have disdain for the "LGBT" label as well as "Lesbian" – just doesn't sound right for some reason – I am very comfortable – professionally and privately with being referred to as "Gay". I am not defined by being gay, rather it is part of the makeup of my personna. I am disheartened by the continued "closeting" of friends when they meet you publicly and all but ignore you. Not that I expect them to wave a pride flag but for God's sake, let's stop the bullshit of selective familiarity. Their right of course but it gives the conservative right, the bible thumping bigots, and those still fearing "coming out" the wrong message. We have nothing to be ashamed of by our created nature – not a choice. So let's let go of the comfort blankies and live freely. You may come to know true peace and acceptance – by yourself – and others. Call me "Gay" but please flush the LGBT crap.
Yes David I concur with the closeted thing in terms of how people don't even acknowledge they know you when they see you in public… Sad really when you think about it.