Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or 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[note 1] (i.e. anti-heteronormative and anti-homonormative) identities and politics.[1] 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.

Notes Edit

  1. "Non-normative" does not mean "not normal", but rather refers to the privileging of "normal" genders and sexualities over the "non-normative". The term "normative" implies that "normal" does not exist in and of itself, but is created. See also heteronormativity for more context.


  1. Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specified. Oxford University Press (2014).

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