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On Queerness

More and more I like queer instead of non-binary, because it describes what I am instead of what I’m not

I’d rather cishet people use queer than try to get the acronym right.

But I also get that some people take comfort in the acronym, while “queer” carries baggage for them.

At the same time, I think there’s a lot of baggage in the acronym too.

More than anything, I want allies to stop trying to use the right terminology and put that energy into fighting for better rights and protections.

And for that reason, “the queer community” is better for me because once you start using it, you don’t have to halt your activism to signal how dialed in you are on who to include in your acronym that day.

queer also means that for folks who are wondering if they’re included, we don’t have to look at the acronym to try and figure out whether or not we’re being excluded from it that day.

Not for nothing, but I’ve never seen N (non-binary) included in it. Not once.

For allies thinking “oh no have I been Doing Harm by using the acronym all this time”

No, I don’t think so. There’s plenty of people who prefer the acronym over the word “queer”.

My point is that the activism needs to go deeper than terminology.

For example:

If you say LGBTQIA, how much of your activism specifically advocates for Intersex people?

Do you actually know what Ace and Aro people need?

How far into that acronym do you go before you deplete your awareness reserves and you go do something else?

If you say LGBTQ2S+, how much of your activism specifically centers the needs of Indigenous people?

Who’s included in that plus symbol? Who’s not?

Do you spend any time thinking about disability in the queer community? What about homelessness?

If this stuff is missing from your awareness posts, from your calls to senators, the acronym isn’t carrying much water.

And it’s…not supposed to. You shouldn’t expect an acronym or a slogan or a t-shirt or a hat to do your activism for you.

That’s why I like queer. It doesn’t try to magically solve any of the myriad problems facing marginalized people.

It gets out of your way so you can do the work.

For the kids in the new generation who have real trauma around the word “queer”, the challenge I’d offer you is this: find a new word that lets you celebrate who you are and doesn’t let other people decide your worth as a person, and we’ll 100% join you.

That’s it.

oh actually one more thing: if you’re a teacher in charge of an environment with Gifted Youngsters in it, your words actually do carry water, and sometimes you’ve got to listen to the needs of your students. Signaling to those kids that you’re safe to talk to is important.

Definitely don’t further traumatize the next generation of X-Men by telling them ways they’re not allowed to define themselves. Unless you’re queer yourself, you don’t need to enforce that conversation with them.