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It was asked on a discussion list that I belong to what the word "queer" means to the younger generations- and "Why would someone use such a spiteful, negative word to describe themselves?" This was my response to that question. I've been asked to repost it a few times, and thought it would be good to have it on the site!

I am meeting more and more younger people who are using the word "queer" to identify themselves- either as their sexual orientation, or as their gender (ie. gender queer). This allows for fluidity, and points out that there are many different ways of being or loving. For many, 'queer' denotes "other than straight" or "other than male or female."

My wife and I both use the term 'queer' when referring to our sexual orientations. This is for a number of reasons:

1. We were a lesbian couple before I transitioned, and my wife considered herself a lesbian. Can she still consider herself a lesbian if she is with a man? Of course she can- everyone has the right to define themselves the way they see fit. But it has become easier to use 'queer' to signify fluidity. Using this term also allows "coming out" opportunites. ("Yes, I'm married to a man, but I am queer. Want to know why?" lol)

2. I have slowly developed an aversion to the term "bisexual." To me, this term implies that there are only 2 types of people you can be attracted to- male and female. In recognizing the beautiful spectrum of gender and gender presentations, is it really possible to be bisexual? I'm not saying that it is impossible (i'm sure there are people who are only attracted to non-trans women and non-trans men), but it feels limiting to me when describing my own sexual orientation.

As a last note, I'd like to say that 'queer" is an easy term to use when searching for an all-encompassing term. I run a drop-in center for youth in my local town. The official acronym we use is that we are a GLBBPTTIQQAAA youth center (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Bigender, Pansexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Androgynous, Asexual, and Allied).

This acronym seems to get longer as time progresses- which is a VERY good thing! It's wonderful to acknowledge the diversity in our community. But using or explaining an acronym that long can be tedious at times :)

So I, for one, am a big fan of 'queer' (and queerS!)...

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