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What do you think about the words ‘gay’ and ‘queer,’ guys? Do you think they are homophobic slurs? Do you feel offended when someone calls you queer? Or gay, for that matter? Why or why not?

Apparently, the Twitterverse erupted into a debate when one Twitter user named @CoolRiderr tweeted earlier this month: “Quit calling gay people queer, we don’t like it.”

The tweet evoked all sorts of responses; there were explanations, agreements, and disagreements, though others were indifferent about the topic at hand. For instance, one person who responded explained:

Queer is literally the most inclusive term, every year we just tack another letter onto the already long and ridiculous acronym, whereas queer is just that, queer, we’re all queirdos, we all belong under that word because that’s what we all are, one way or another, be cool my guy

Further, one guy—who seem to agree with the original poster—responded:

I’m a(n) American, I’m a HOMOSEXUAL, I’m a brother, a son. I’m dyslexic, I’m a male, I’m white, (and) I’m GAY. I’m a cynic, I’m a friend, I’m (a) Irish. I’m many things. But the one thing I’m not is QUEER.

Moreover, a particular netizen said, “Thank you, Johnny.  I really, really hate that word. It was a derogatory word in the 80s when I was a teenager and it made me cringe then.”


However, the debate didn’t stop there. It continued on when The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, published an article reporting the latest census revealing that 15,000 people identified as queer in England and Wales. You can read the study in full here.

A reader named Karl Lockwood of Brighton then wrote a letter to the editor saying that the term “queer” is “insulting and derogatory, and certainly not ‘reclaimed.’”

“I am a gay man of 66 years with many friends and acquaintances, and know no one who would refer to themselves as queer.” Lockwood added, “It would seem a small minority of activists has encouraged the media to use the word without considering its offensiveness to many people. You wouldn’t use the N-word, so don’t use the Q-word.”

You can read Lockwood’s opinion piece in full here.

But what does the term queer mean?

According to Stonewall:

Queer is a term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can also be a way of rejecting the perceived norms of the LGBT community (racism, sizeism, ableism etc). Although some LGBT people view the word as a slur, it was reclaimed in the late 80s by the queer community who have embraced it.

Meanwhile, Stonewall defines the term gay as:

Refers to a man who has a romantic and/or sexual orientation towards men. Also a generic term for lesbian and gay sexuality – some women define themselves as gay rather than lesbian. Some non-binary people may also identify with this term.

Having said all that, what about you, guys? Do you find the word “queer” insulting and derogatory? Share with us your thoughts and stories in the comments section below!

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