Semi-Rehabilitation of “Queer”

As noted in my last post on Paula Deen, the use of the N-word has been debated recently, particularly because some members of the African-American community are trying to “reclaim” the term or at least make public use possible. So far, I would say this has had limited success although Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson sure used it a lot in Django Unchained.

On the other hand, the term queer when used to refer to someone in the LGBT community HAS become semi-respectable. This was always a negative, but then groups like Queer Nation began to appropriate the term for their own usage chanting “We’re here. We’re Here….Get Used to it”.

Next came shows like Bravo’s Queer Eye (for the Straight Guy) . In this case, being a flamboyantly fashionable gay male was considered a positive because they were able to give fashion and cooking advice (for the record, not all straight men are unfashionable and not all gay men can dress).

But lately I’ve noticed that the term queer and Queer Studies (or LGBT Studies) is a serious academic term used by such notably enlightened indivduals as danah boyd . It’s even a major in places such as the University of Oregon.

This is truly an amazing turnaround, but maybe not fully complete. I notice that Yale and University of Maryland are more conservative in preferring the term “LGBT Studies” in their programs. So I don’t think I will be commenting that “Bill is part of the queer community” anytime soon.

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