You may have noticed a subtle word change on my blog and social media profiles. As I grow and evolve as a person, I also improve my language. One word, in particular, has been bugging me for a long time now.
The first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘homosexual,’ is sex. It’s in the word itself. You’re not a bad person or a bigot because you think that either. We associate specific things with every word.
Therein lies the problem with the word. You don’t think of that person as a whole, you think about something they do. In this case, carry out physical relations with people of the same sex. No matter your sexual orientation, you as a person are so much more than that. We deserve to have a word that explains who we are, not what we do.
Downsides of using the term 'Homosexual':
- Leaves out swaths of other people who aren’t heteronormative and instead focuses on an even smaller subset of that community.
- Not everyone in the community identifies as attracted to the same sex.
- Does not include gender identities.
- Previously used to diagnose people with perceived mental illness causing them to be attracted to people of the same sex.
I know, it was once used (and sometimes today) as a slur towards people in the LGBT+ community. But, the word Queer has a much more significant impact and reach than the word homosexual, lesbian, gay, etc. This word is also considered offensive by some in the community because of the past uses of the word.
However, it is an umbrella label that doesn’t leave out a single subset of our community. It is all-encompassing and welcoming to every single person who identifies as someone other than cisgender, straight, or otherwise heteronormative.
Benefits of using the term 'Queer':
- All encompassing.
- By itself non-binary.
- Doesn’t put anyone in a box and further marginalize them.
- Describes someone as a person and not just their physical attraction to another.
So, overall it is a much more positive term. For these reasons I have opted to change the terminology in my life, and all my sites and social media accounts, to reflect the current and best way to describe everyone who identifies as someone other than heteronormative.
I want to remain genuinely welcoming to everyone out there and encourage you to do the same. I am reclaiming the word, Queer.