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Definition of Queer: What Does the Q in LGBTQ Really Mean?

You may know what LGBTQ means, if you don’t, it stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. But do you know the definition of queer?

Definition of Queer

If you thought there’s only a gay community, you’re wrong. The LGBTQ is a community that not only consists of these groups, but its members also support each other.

If you’re not in the community, you may have a hard time understanding what each abbreviation really means. I mean, you probably know what the terms gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender are. However, let me remind you what they all mean.

Lesbian: Women who partner with other women. You can also use the term gay.

Gay: Men who partner with other men, or women who partner with other women.

Bisexual: Women and men who partner with the same or opposite sex.

Transgender: Women and men whose genders do not fit the one they were given at birth.

Queer: Men and women who don’t identify to mainstream labels.

14 aspects of the definition of queer

Even though I just gave you the definition of queer, you still may be a little confused on what being queer actually is. I don’t blame you… there’s a lot packed into that single word. If you don’t know, then you don’t know. But, it’s about time you learned. So, listen up. It’s not as complicated as you think it is.

#1 What is queer? Okay, this isn’t the easiest task to come up with a definition of queer. Essentially, queer is a term that’s actually more of an umbrella as opposed to something specific.

It’s a term that can be used to identify individuals who identify themselves outside of the mainstream sexual norms. [Read: The perks and unperks of coming out of the closet]

#2 Is it a derogatory term? Well, Google says so. I mean, you can still hear the word “queer” being used in a disrespectful manner. However, those who are queer and the rest of the LGBTQ community are using it in a positive way and trying to change the connotation around the definition of queer.

#3 You can be queer without calling yourself queer. Because it’s still seen as a derogatory term, many people who are actually queer still don’t feel comfortable identifying themselves as such. Which is perfectly fine… you don’t have to label yourself anything if you don’t want to.

#4 What about the pronoun? If you’re genderqueer, it’s more focused on gender fluidness. Meaning, you aren’t given a chosen pronoun, but rather you choose what pronoun suits you. Of course, that pronoun can change over time: he/she/it, whatever you want.

#5 Wait, what’s gender fluidness? Okay, so gender fluidness means you don’t identify with either gender. You may feel that you’re more of a mix between the two genders, thus, you don’t need to label yourself either one because you aren’t either/or. [Read: Sexually fluid – What does this even mean in the dating world?]

#6 This doesn’t change the dating game. Just because you label yourself as queer, it doesn’t mean you are now subjected to dating a specific group of people. Because it’s about gender fluidness, you’re not focused on the gender of your partner.

#7 Queer is more than just sexuality. It’s not just about not wanting to be labeled with a sexual orientation. It goes much deeper than that by challenging definitions and forcing change and discussion.

#8 People associate queerness with sexual deviance. When some people hear the word “queer,” they think about strap-ons, BDSM, and other fetishes. Which I’m not saying doesn’t happen in queer relationships, but they are not based on sexual deviance. These fetishes are happening in a variety of relationships, regardless of sexual orientation. [Read: 15 big lesbian myths you probably still believe]

#9 Is dating difficult? Like anything out of the social norm, it causes difficulty. Now, I’m not saying as a queer person, you’re going to struggle finding a partner.

However, there will be many people who don’t understand what being queer is and may be uncomfortable with it. This is just something you’ll have to plow through and be patient with. You need to teach those who don’t understand.

#10 There’s an app for that. God, I love technology. Many dating sites aren’t queer-friendly because most make you identify with a gender and sexual orientation, which I understand from a logistical perspective.

However, if you don’t identify as either, what are you supposed to do? Apps like OKcupid, Wing Ma’am, and Her didn’t forget those who identify as queer. [Read: Top 7 gay-friendly vacation hot spots on earth]

#11 Being queer removes a stereotype. If you’re homosexual, there seems to be a stereotype that runs strong within the straight community. We all assume that homosexual men are hair stylists and sassy, which isn’t the case. The term queer is great because there is no mainstream stereotype for being queer. At least I don’t know it.  

#12 Queer doesn’t mean you’re sex-obsessed. Just because queer people don’t identify with a gender or sexual preference, many assume that they’re just willing to have sex with anyone or anything. No, being queer doesn’t mean you’re sex-addicted and will grab whoever walks in front of you. Come on, people. [Read: Men and the fear of homosexuality]

#13 The Q can also mean “questioning.” There’s a little more to the Q then you think. The Q can also mean that you’re “questioning.” So, if you’re unsure where you stand in terms of your sexual orientation or sexual preference, you’re questioning. No need to feel pressure when joining the LGBTQ community, it’s all about trying to figure out who you are.

#14 You don’t have to move out of the queer zone. Being queer is not some stepping stone to labelling yourself as homosexual or transgender. You can be queer until the day you die. There’s no pressure to identify who you are because you already did – you’re queer and that’s great.

[Read: How to tell if you’re gay – All the signs you just can’t ignore]

Whether you’re curious about the definition of queer or you’re questioning where you stand sexually, hopefully this gave you more knowledge on the subject. If you want to learn more, it’s best to contact your local LGBTQ community.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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