Written by on October 30, 2017

FetLife BDSM Glossary Term: Queer

Pertains to LGBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex or any non-heterosexual) person.  Historically (and currently) used as as offensive slang for a homosexual person. In modern times some in the LGBT Community have started using the term a a positive umbrella term.

Kinkly Glossary Term: Queer

Kinkly Entry

Queer is a sexual identity used to refer to people, or that people use to refer to themselves, when they are not heterosexual and do not fit into the gender binary. It classifies genders as being strictly male and female. Queer is considered an umbrella term that may be adopted by those who feel they fall outside the societal norms with regard to gender and sexuality. It is considered more inclusive than more specific labels like lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Therefore, some people prefer this term as a way of building a movement and community based on acceptance, rather than labeling differences.

Planned Parenthood Term: Queer

Planned Parenthood Glossary

A word that can refer to a variety of sexual identities and gender identities that are anything other than straight and cisgender. In the past queer was used as a slur, and may still be offensive to some. However, many people use the word with pride to identify themselves.

Sex Lexis Dictionary Term: Queer

Sex Lexis Entry

  1. A term of contempt and derision for homosexual and homosexuality based on the notion of it being unusual or strange. This is one of many put-downs that have become a badge of gay pride; gay people are recuperating the word, turning it back on itself with slogans such as: Here, were queer / Were here (and) were queer / Were here! Were queer! Get used to it! A gay activist group calling itself: Queer Nation .   ETYMOLOGY: In the Cant vernacular of the 17th century, queer meant bad, the opposite of rum, meaning good: a queer bird was a habitual criminal, a queer cole was fake money, a queer doxy was a slattern. The derogatory use of queer for male homosexuals originated, in the US, in the 1920s, moving to the UK in the 1930s. An article in Variety in 1925 associated the term with male homosexuality. To turn queer in England means to be or to become unwell. 
  2. In Britain, queer bird / queer card / queer cove / queer fellow / queer fish, refer to an odd person.

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UC Davis Glossary

One definition of queer is abnormal or strange. Historically, queer has been used as an epithet/slur against people whose gender, gender expression and/or sexuality do not conform to dominant expectations. Some people have reclaimed the word queer and self identity as such. For some, this reclamation is a celebration of not fitting into norms/being “abnormal.” Manifestations of oppression within gay and lesbian movements such as racism, sizeism, ableism, cissexism/transphobia as well as assimilation politics, resulted in many people being marginalized, thus, for some, queer is a radical and anti-assimilationist stance that captures multiple aspects of identities

We Are Family Charleston Term: Queer


Traditionally a pejorative term, queer has been appropriated by some LGBT people to describe themselves. However, it is not universally accepted even within the LGBT community and should be avoided unless someone self-identifies that way.

Wikipedia Term: Queer

Wikipedia Entry

Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender. Originally meaning “strange” or “peculiar”, queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer scholars and activists began to reclaim the word to establish community and assert an identity distinct from the gay identity. People who reject traditional gender identities and seek a broader and deliberately ambiguous alternative to the label LGBT may describe themselves as queer.

Queer is also increasingly used to describe non-normative (i.e. anti-heteronormative and anti-homonormative) identities and politics. Academic disciplines such as queer theory and queer studies share a general opposition to binarism, normativity, and a perceived lack of intersectionality within the mainstream LGBT movement. Queer arts, queer cultural groups, and queer political groups are examples of expressions of queer identities.

Critics of the use of the term include members of the LGBT community and others who associate the term more with its colloquial usage as a derogatory insult or who wish to dissociate themselves from queer radicalism.

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