As I’ve notice in the last couple of years more and more African-American bloggers have latched onto and adopted the term ‘queer’. Personally I cannot overstate enough the disdain and disgust I have for this word.
I understand the not-so-distant history behind the usage of the term throughout the 80’s Gay Rights and HIV/AIDs advocate movements. I’m old enough to remember news casts showing empowered predominately white protesters lead by Queer Nation chanting “We’re here, we’re Queer get used to it!” I also remember when some of its members infiltrated the original Arsenio Hall Show decades ago. The resulting exchange showed how many in LGBT society exist in a bubble.
The term ‘queer’ for the most part, was not popularly or widely used in black non-heterosexual communities in the last 20 years. We were too caught up on using other derogatory terms like “trade” and “DL”.
The solidifying changing of the guard came in early 2016, when the uber popular Huffington Post decided to change the name of the section dedicated to LGBT issues from Gay Voices to Queer Voices. While I agree that the term Gay is not inclusive to lesbians, bisexuals and not all transgender individuals; neither is Queer.
HuffPost said of their new liberating decision:
“We, like many others before us, have chosen to reclaim “queer” and to rename the section HuffPost Queer Voices because we believe that word is the most inclusive and empowering one available to us to speak to and about the community — and because we are inspired by all of the profound possibilities it holds for self-discovery, self-realization and self-affirmation.”
Shockingly the overwhelming majority of comments (spanning two articles) strongly rebuffed the change. All viewed the term queer as offensive, divisive or negative and I completely agreed.
There are numerous websites and educational materials that also provide similar reasons why Queer is the current PC word to use for all things non-heterosexual related.
The website PRIDE has an article, 6 Reasons You Need to Use the Word “Queer”. Among the reason were:
*The word queer is inclusive for all members of the LGBT community.
*There is great power in taking a word that once was hurtful and making it our own.
*The word queer unites us.
The Queer Fact Sheet from the Gender Equity Resource Center from UC Berkley states in regards to queer being and insult:
For many years, the term queer has been used as an insult to refer to anyone who is seen outside of society’s heterosexual and/or gender “norms” as strange. In response, many LGBT people of earlier generations do not feel comfortable identifying with queer. In recent years, queer has been reclaimed, most commonly, by younger members of the LGBT community.
Really…only LGBT individuals from “earlier generations” find the term queer offensive? This is a form of propaganda and indoctrination. This is saying only “crotchety” old people find this word offensive but not the newer, “in the know” younger generation of gays.
This issue isn’t how one chooses to self-identify; it’s the selfish disregard from editors, authors and bloggers who do self-identify as queer and the enforcement of the term (in addition to queerness) upon their audiences. What is being said is, “I’m queer, and therefore this is how you need to self-identify too.”
For example when a self-identifying queer author or blogger says, “Queers need to come together to vote against state sponsored bill F5D7.” Or if they say, “As a queer man, I’m having a hard time dating.” They’re speaking to other self-identifying queers, while alienating those who do not recognize nor accept this term as an empowering self-descriptor….and guess what? They don’t care.
What I’ve also noticed is that this movement to use and force ‘queer’ as a descriptor for all things LGBT related, seems to have been imposed by more effeminate leaning gay men, feminist lesbians and transgenders.
Many non-heterosexuals (young and old) have experienced hatred, abuse and discrimination that were accompanied by bigots using terms like faggot and queer.
When it comes to African-American or Black queers, here is what I find interesting and peculiar.
Since starting this website, over the last five years, I started seeing the term queer used more and more in the White LGBT mainstream. Gradually, I noticed the term being used more and more by Black authors and bloggers. The term I didn’t see in wide use by these Black authors and bloggers was “same gender loving”.
I was exposed to this term when I learned about activist Cleo Manago. He is the CEO of the Black Men’s Exchange and current commentator and guest co-host on Roland Martin‘s nationally syndicated show on TV one. He coined the term “same gender loving” back in the 90’s as a description for homosexuals and bisexuals, particularly in the African American community; as a culturally affirming African American homosexual identity.
What you also should know about Cleo is that he’s an unapologetic SGL activist who unabashedly speaks out against white supremacy and white lead LGBT power structures.
In 2015 when the documentary “Check It” was released, online mainstream media labeled it a film about ‘Queer Gangs’ in DC; Manago took to social media to insightfully vent his frustration of the usage of “queer” and foreshadowed what was to come.
The Decaying Impact of Black Neglect and White “Gay/Queer” Brain-Washing
The young Black people in this documentary do not call themselves “queers.” That is White homosexual political branding. Filmmakers are referring to these young people as being both “queer” and a “gang.” What they really are is neglected, displaced, pain entrenched, homosexual and some trans Black youth – surviving in despair, social decay, abandonment, confusion, defiance, misguidance (or no guidance) and internalized White programming.
A “queer gang.” So many will not even realize that this is a racist description. Ultimately, they may even take it on as “their own.” (As many Blacks have taken “Nigga” on as their own!). It came from White people, who, ironically, are seen as a benevolent, privileged, happier and superior source. Conditioned to see each other as just misfit faggots and Niggas, like so many young [Black] people, they have a deep need for relevance and relief. Any kind will do. Only White people can provide inferior “Niggas” relevance and relief from being just “Black.” As a result, ultimately, some will describe themselves in whatever ways that may bring them closer to Whiteness or “happiness”, be it “queer”, “gay”, “lesbian”, or a “gang-member.”
This White-led indoctrination, despite their racism, is historically rampant. To date, most same-gender-loving (SGL) Black people do not refer to themselves as “queers.” But, unfortunately, without intervention, it is coming. Most SGL Black folks did not call themselves “gays or lesbians” until the 1980s. Black empowerment and self-determination – which are roots to Black self-conceptual and behavioral health – are frequently derailed by anti-Black thinking among Black people, and unrealized White influences. These influences are successfully transmitted to SGL Blacks folks through Blacks in predominantly White college-culture, where they hear about “Queer Theory.” And, encouragement by homosexual Blacks with White partner preferences.
Unresolved anti-Blackness, Black conflict, and the infiltration of Whiteness have proved divisive among Black people. This still sustains a legacy of inter-generational, SGL dis-empowerment, instability, “HIV” and conflict. The decay is already in process. If we do not wake up and make intra-group reparations, this could help finally lead to complete Black destruction in North America.
I REITERATE! You won’t be able to say “But, I didn’t know” too much longer!
The reason I mention this is because it feels and seems like the non-white non-heterosexual community continues to struggle for self-identity, while not only attempting to provide digestible labels for consumption to an outside audience but also as a way to fit in and garner a seat at the table. In the process we continue to adopt language models from the larger white LGBT-Queer community instead of finding our own way.
As a co-founder and an author of hundreds of postings on this website, I want to reach and speak to the largest audience possible. I don’t want to alienate; even though I know due to sensibilities some subject matter will automatically do so and also put readers on the fence.
In my continued growth, I’m not comfortable with gay, same gender loving, bisexual or transgender men who come to this website and may be offended or feel excluded by a one-size-fit all alienating descriptor.
Not only am I potentially alienating them, I’m not taking into account how they personally may self-identify. By not acknowledging this, I feel like I’m taking their power and voice by saying, “You can’t identify how you want and I need you to identify with how the majority or mainstream gatekeepers say you should.” I find this elitist and egregious.
When doing research for this essay, I came across an organization that gets the complexities concerning the usage of this term. PFLAG states:
Traditionally a negative or pejorative term for people who are gay, “queer” is still sometimes disliked within the LGBTQ community. Due to its varying meanings, this word should only be used when self-identifying or quoting someone who self-identifies as queer (i.e. “My cousin identifies as genderqueer.”)
You may have already noticed in this essay, I simply say “non-heterosexual”. This covers the whole spectrum of people who don’t identify as heterosexual.
Labels and self-identifiers are important. Just as it’s not okay for heterosexuals to label and type cast non-heterosexuals for their comfortabilities (i.e. masculine gay = DL), it’s also not okay and actually worse when non-heterosexuals do it do each other.
Let me ask a blunt question; because in the 80’s a group of white gay activists got together and decided ‘queer’ needed to be reclaimed for empowerment reasons, therefor it was. What if they had decided “faggot” was a better option that needed to be reclaimed instead? Think about that.
Like the title states, “I’m Not a Fucking Queer”.