Queer, offensive word?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Knockernail, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Knockernail

    Knockernail Member

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    As i said for many times, i´m not an english-speaker. So i´m not sure of the sense of many words. One of those is queer.

    I knew this word on tv, with "Queer as folk", and thought it wasn´t offensive. But now i´m not sure of it. I´ve searched for its meaning and i think it could be offensive, but at the same time i have seen it in this site several times, as an usual expression. I don´t know when or how it can be put in a way so as not to offend. Of course, i haven´t the need to use it.

    What do you think about it?

    By the way, i don´t like to use the term straight, supposes that gays are outta the right way. I do find it offensive. Do prefer hetero, more exact.
     
  2. SteveHd

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    It isn't offensive to me. In some ways I like it better than "gay". There was a time "queer" was considered pejorative but it's becoming neutral. TV shows like "Queer as Folk" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" have helped to turn it toward the positive.
     
  3. Matthew

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    I think it really depends on who's saying it and how they're saying it. It really doesn't bother me and I use it with friends all the time. If straight folks use it, it doesn't bother me if they're cool. If somebody is using it as an insult or to be an asshole, I think they just probably need their face punched in.
     
  4. Lex

    Lex
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    What he said.
     
  5. DC_DEEP

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    "Queer" does not bother me. Literally, it simply means "differing in some odd way from what is normal or conventional; eccentric."
     
  6. jeff black

    jeff black <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I'll agree with Matthew as well. I think we had a thread recently and someone said that homosexuals had taken the word "queer" back and claimed it as their own. I still don't quite understand why someone needs to refer to another by their sexual orientation.
     
  7. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    I totally agree too and with Jeff as well. Why the need for a label.
     
  8. kalipygian

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    Queer origonaly meant just odd, without a sexual sense, came to be applied to gay people, not sure just how long ago, many decades though. It was the usual term before gay was promoted as what we chose to call ourselves after stonewall. (early 70's) Gay is actually a very old word, believed to go back to medieval provencal/catalan. I actually preferred using queer then, but was about alone.

    In the 90's some of the upcoming young people decided they preferred to use queer to describe themself, it was probably more generational then, to distinginguish themselves from us tired oldies. (each generation gets to decide what to call itself) It maybe had a slightly more radical and tribal sense to some, there was (don't know if it still is around) an organization called 'Queer Nation'. Someone might not have liked being called queer in the 60's, but not now.

    Gay is a shorthand for sexual minorities, The fullest list is: gay, lesbian, bi, queer, questioning, transexual, transvestite, polyamorous, and straight allies.

    The word homosexual is not old, it was made up in the 1860's by a Hungarian in Bavaria. It consists of a latin root with a greek modifier. Because of it's subsequent use as describing psychopathology, I prefer not to use it. (the 'scientific' equivalent of the christian sodomite)The word 'heterosexual' was made up around 1930.(also a greek/latin bastardisation. (the brits say: hoomoo-sets-yoo-el)

    The real classical greek equivalent is paiderastos, (modern pederasty) it isn't used because it is now taken to mean having sex with a child. It literaly translates as boy love, but in classical greece it had a more general male - male love sense. Plato used 'philogynaikes', (loversers of women) for heterosexual men, 'philandroi' (lovers of men) for heterosexual women, 'etairistriai' (companions) for lesbian in the Symposium and Dialogues. (lesbian meant a literary woman)

    'Homophile' would be a better all greek word, also a neologism. It doesn't imply that we are just about sex. There is also a classical greek word, 'isophile'.

    People in the US are more inclined to take offense at being called by a descriptive nickname that in latin america would be commonly used and not be rude. (Like gringo, or gordo.)

    Might be better on this forum to use the Kinsey scale.

    I wish I didn't speak spanish half as well as you 'don't speak english'.
     
  9. Industrialsize

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    call me whatever you want...just call me!
     
  10. trufitjock

    trufitjock Member

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    queer is not offensive especially to another faggot...
     
  11. smtwtgh

    smtwtgh New Member

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    Thank you Kalipygian, for your backgound info. I have always been rather curious. As a young reader, although not knowing that I was either, queer and later gay, it was offensive. Dickens would have said that "queer" meant different or different in a comical light. Gay meant happy?
    At the time I considered both to be offensive. I certainly didn't feel like Fred Astaire, nor did I want to be considered different from the rest of the highschool jocks. Now as a middle aged man, I find that being a little queer is not such a bad thing and life is to short not to be gay. When you live in Utah, this is like discovering Einsteins's theory of relativity.
     
  12. B_becominghorse

    B_becominghorse New Member

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    Queer is still used by rednecks to be an insult, but it's true, as mentioned above, that the term replaced 'gay' in the 90s and academics writing about homosexuality use 'Queer Theory' as their official studies domain. However, I think informally, even in cosmopolitan social groups, gay is used a lot more than queer. This could change, but it definitely has not done so: until Gay Pride Day has changed to Queer Pride Day, it will still be a marginal term for practitioners of the persuasion.
     
  13. lvsxy808

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    I see it as a similar example to the N word amongst black people. For some reason, it's acceptable as long as people within that "minority" are using it amongst each other or to describe themselves. But if anyone from outside that minority uses it, it's not so good.

    (Although, what someone said at the James Brown funeral struck me: "What happened in the last 30 years? It used to be 'Say it loud, i'm black and i'm proud,' and now we're shooting each other and calling each other n***as and bitches and ho's." Which is very true. Perhaps the same should be applied to words like "queer" and "faggot"? How do they fit with our fight for equality?)

    I also think there's some difference in terms of connotations. While "homosexual,' "gay' and "queer" are interchangeable in some circumstances, they each have slightly different uses.

    "Homosexual" seems to just be describing the hard-wired orientation, a matter of empirical sexual preference and activity, and nothing else.

    "Gay" seems to describe one who lives what some refer to as "the gay lifestyle" without covering up their same-sex attraction.

    "Queer" seems more about mannerisms, the more flamboyant, outrageous, Radical Faerie type. Or alternatively, it is used to describe the whole spectrum of non-hetero orientations (bi, poly, asexual, etc), whereas "gay" often just refers to exclusively homo men.

    Of course, these are just my observations and in no way solid incontrovertible definitions. There's enormous overlap between them, but this does seem to be the way it lays out to my mind.
     
  14. DC_DEEP

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    "Faggot" is exceptionally offensive.
     
  15. G4z

    G4z New Member

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    I dont think its offensive, or not to me. but i guess it can be if its used the wrong way.
    My mates call me a Fag all the time, but they dont know i like men. And that doesnt bother me its just teenage slang i guess! i call them it too. :p
     
  16. DC_DEEP

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    You realize, don't you, that "faggot" was first used to refer to the "fact" that homosexuals should be burned (like the fine folks in Salem used to do with witches)?
     
  17. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    Sounds a bit immature - how old are you and your teenage mates?
     
  18. kalipygian

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    That 'fag' or 'fagot' as a derisive term for gay people derives from us being burned at the stake is just conjecture, and not as likely as some other possible derivations, I think.

    The death penalty was on the books and was carried out in britain and america, but not ever by burning, as far as I am aware. It was on the continent.

    In Britian, in a residential private boys school, (a "public school') a younger boy who is assigned to an older boy for whom he is required to perform menial service is called a fag, being subjected to abuse, including sexual, was common. This is centuries old. (it may be history now, not up on current use) The custom is called 'fagging'. To be 'fagged' out is tired, worn out, frayed.

    The Brits also use it to refer to cigarette butts and sausages.
     
  19. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    Well, I've been called worse. Now if marshmallow man whispered in my ear, "come do something queer to me" I sure wouldn't be offended. I might faint but not be offended. :wink:
     
  20. dags

    dags New Member

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    I agree with what Matthew said. Other waiters and bartenders I used to work with at a gay club would call each other horrible names! BUT it was all in fun and had me laughing and giving even more disgusting come backs.
    So it depends on who is saying it and if it is meant to insult and put down.
     
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