In early 2022, around 7.1% of people in the US stated that they were queer. This is a huge leap from the 5.6% reported at the same time the previous year.
As being queer becomes more accepted by the rest of society, more people will feel safe to be open about their identity. And the more inclusive the queer community becomes, the more people will feel like it includes them.
But what exactly does it mean to be queer or LBGTQ+? This guide will answer all your queer questions so you have a better understanding of the term. It will help you be a better ally to all your queer loved ones!
The History of the Term “Queer”
The original definition of the word “queer” is strange or peculiar. But around the late 19th century, people started to use it as a pejorative term to refer to homosexuals.
This lasted until the 1980s when queer activists started to reclaim the term. Now, in the 21st century, it is a positive umbrella term for people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Some use it as an alternative to “LGBTQ+” because it’s not only easier to say but more inclusive.
Because “queers” was a slur for so long, there are some LGBTQ+ people who feel uncomfortable describing themselves with this term. This is why it is vital to never call someone queer who has not specified that this is how they identify.
Which Orientations Are Queer?
Some sexual orientations, preferences, and genders all fall under the queer umbrella. Here are some examples:
- Lesbian and gay – same-sex attraction
- Bisexual – attraction to more than one gender
- Pansexual – attraction to all genders
- Transgender – gender identity that differs from assigned gender
- Intersex – a biological combination of both male and female sexes
- Asexual – lack of sexual attraction
- Non-binary – gender identity outside of binary male and female genders
There are many more orientations that are classed as being queer. That’s why there is a “+” in “LGBTQ+.” It represents all the other letters that don’t appear in initialism.
Which Orientations Aren’t Queer?
Heterosexuality, cisgender, and heteroromantic are all orientations that aren’t queer. But it’s important to note that someone could be cisgender, for example, and have queer sexuality. So they could still identify as being queer.
Polyamory and monogamy are gray areas. If someone is polyamorous, then their sexual preferences are not heteroromantic. But some would say they are not exactly queer either.
What it means to be queer is a moving target and is never set in stone.
Is Queer a Community or an Identity?
It’s both, and it’s so much more! Queer Study is a legitimate academic field. There are queer political movements and even queer art that you can have a look at here.
Being Queer Is Quite a Wonderful Thing
Being queer isn’t fashionable or a phase. It’s an identity, community, and inclusive term for LGBTQ+ people. Being queer and knowing out and proud queer people is something to celebrate and continue to fight for.
Still curious about the queer community, pride, or have some more LGBTQ questions? Browse our lifestyle articles for more first-hand insights!