Reblogged from thebiblemachine
I think I’ve been courteous, relatively speaking, regarding the recent push on Tumblr to appropriate the word “queer” and render it meaningless via relentless whining from “heteromantics” and pukeworthy sunshine-sphinctered essays about how anybody can be queer! anybody! Straight white boys, your dog, you, even if you recoil inwardly at the thought of same-sex physical relations, because really it’s all about acceptance! There are kids with their heads up their damn ass telling us about how “queer” isn’t a slur anymore, because a bunch of academics have decreed it otherwise, and God knows there’s no group of people more trustworthy and in touch with the plight of the common people than tenured academics. I read shit like this:
“My hope in providing a definition of queer is that people gain awareness of the reclaiming movement for ‘queer’ and recognize that the word ‘queer’ is not always intended as a slur by those who say it. Once people understand that intention, then we can discuss whether or not ‘queer’ should be used as a reclaimed word or if it will always be a hateful slur.”
…and lose all hope that people understand what the problem actually is, what reclamation actually means, and that intent means damn little when we are talking about oppressive language.
So here’s an example:
A young man was recently beaten to death by people shouting gay slurs. Just days ago! We don’t know for sure what was going through the minds of his assailants, but one can bet it didn’t have a goddamned thing to do with heteromantic demisexuals. Here’s another point: how many of these self-assigned heterosexual/asexual “queers” would want to be called a faggot? or a bulldyke, or a cocksucker, a carpetmuncher, a he-she, an it? They seem to get damned upset about someone mistaking them for gay, and are pretty grossed out about gay sex* , so I’m guessing not very many. Why is queer different? Why is queer, out of all the possible words of violence that could have been chose, being forcibly torn from the communities who are actually targeted by it, washed and repainted and made to stand in for any ambiguous concept its captors desire?
It’s a damn long answer, going back decades. I’m not going to go through all of it when there are dozens of books out there that lay it out in great detail. But it does bring me to the second point; these would-be queers have no concept of history. All those riots, those forcible stripdowns, those police raids, those police beatings, gay cancer, murder acquittals, the fear and the need which led to the development of close-knit and intensely secretive queer communities - all of these things I have never seen one of the wannabes mention, or even try to articulate how the hell they think their experiences relate. Because they can’t. Because they don’t know. Because they don’t care.
People die everyday because of homophobia and transphobia. People go homeless everyday because of them, they are raped every day because of them, they are denied basic human kindness because of them. They are diseases of the present. When people say “queer is a slur”, it is not because they don’t understand what reclamation means, it’s because they understand that reclamation means confronting the words that oppress you personally and threaten you personally. It is walking in the lion’s den and spitting in the eye of the lion. Attempting to “reclaim” a word that was never directed at you and the demographics you belong to demonstrates only that you understand even less than the bigots who use those words pejoratively. You were never in danger; you have no right to to pretend you ever were. Attempting to sever a slur from its past and its present is an act of violence. It is an act of erasure. It tells the targets of the slur that you intend to interfere in their attempts to confront their oppression and render their work meaningless. The slur becomes a bland, tame plaything for those it never was meant to harm. It still kills out in the real world, but we queers are not permitted to recenter the focus there. We are called cunts and bigots for trying to do so. We are accused of using power we do not possess. Meanwhile, actual queers, the “queer” people mean when they rape a lesbian or murder a trans woman or beat a young man to death, they go on suffering.
I do not give a shit about academic blathering about the evolution of words when what I see is appropriation. Words cannot be divorced from their contexts, especially when the context is ongoing suffering. Trying to unfaggotdykequeen “queer” is homophobia; those who attempt it, homophobes who prop up a system or marginalization and erasure for their own self-gratification, to “win” a fight they were never on the losing end of. This is becoming more and more apparent every day this ludicrous argument goes on. Who benefits from an environment where screaming about how awful the world is for not validating every aspect of your mundane life is more important than respect for victims of oppression?
(*If you’re thinking “but I get grossed out by straight sex too!”, here’s my answer: you live in a homophobic society. That sea of homophobia you swim in is coloring the way you feel about gay sex, whether you think you’re beyond it or not. No declaration of disgust about gay intimacy can be disentangled from it. I am not interested in your personal touches.)
a) It’s a perfectly fine word if you’re using it in its traditional form.
b) THIS IS NOT A NEW THING. NOT AT ALL. IT IS NOT A PRODUCT OF TUMBLR. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE AT LEAST THE 60’S.
c) You mention God at one point, in passing I’m sure, but I just need to remind everyone that there isn’t one.
d) You’re angry at the wrong people entirely.
Uh… I’m still in the old-fashioned boat that uses the version of “queer” that means “odd” rather than the sexuality slang version, so… Yeah. I don’t even know how to react to the OP.