Photography by Emily Kennedy
Something is missing within the acronym that has stood for so long as the all-encompassing way to describe a vibrant community. So before I begin to babble, I will ask a simple question: where has our beloved ‘Q’ for queer gone?
It seems the community is no longer referred to as queer or LGBTQ for reasons that escape me. Queer has stood for so many years as the word that leaves no individual behind and never fails to give comfort to someone who does not necessary apply a specific social label to themselves. The word conjures two distinct notions, which are sadly at opposite ends of the spectrum: first, we have the notion of the queer community and the vibrancy that it stands for and encompasses. Second, we have the derogatory use against a member of the community.
This is where my confusion lies, as I had understood queer as a word that had been stripped of its hateful meaning and reworked to be a word in and of its own. Does queer need to be taken back and reclaimed, as words like ‘dyke’ have? In light of the LGBTQ-centric bullying that has been making headlines for far too long, I have come to realize that queer may have been taken back by those who wish to defame the community and restart (or continue) hatred. Conversely, it may be that members of the community feel that queer no longer requires usage as we have such a diverse list of social labels that look to leave no one left behind.
This endeavor negates all the good that ‘queer’ has brought. For those who don’t feel comfortable identifying, aren’t sure, or are a little bit of column A and column B, I urge you to never forget that although it may reside within the lexicon of hate for some, there stands every reason in the world to keep our beloved Q in the acronym. We’re here and most definitely queer.