Queer. I love that word for so many reasons.

It’s useful. We’re at our best when we’re inclusive. Presently we’re the LGBTQAI community. That’s quite a mouthful and pretty unwieldy as a word. There’s always a fuss about the order of the letters (as there should be) and there may be even more additions I missed. I remember as each letter, each identity, was added and how enlightened and progressive we felt, but our journey toward inclusion is not over.

No matter how many letters we add, identities are constantly shifting and evolving. Instead of trying to add infinite letters, I feel queer is a single, monosyllabic word that quite nicely covers all we are and all we can be.

It’s political. Queer is a loud, defiant, inyour-face kind of word at a time when we need to be louder, more defiant, and in faces. It takes no prisoners and refuses to back down from what it believes in.

It’s empowering. It’s been used against us, and it’s time we reclaimed it for our own. There is something exhilarating about taking back a word that has been used to demoralize and threaten us. I love the confused looks of haters after they’ve shouted some stinging attack and we just look at them, shrug, and say “Yeah, what was your first clue? The words on my button/t-shirt/tattoo? Nice effort but you need to try harder.”

It’s transgressive. Queer stands against the normal, the typical, the average, and the common. I’d be willing to be normal if “normal” meant embracing an educated, empathetic understanding of one another. Right now, “normal” feels racist, sexist, hegemonically imperialistic, and greedy. Queerness, therefore, is something I aspire to.

And finally, it’s more about love and identity than sex. So many of our labels — homosexual, bisexual, even asexual — include the word sex. But even though many of our identities have been sexualized, we can and do keep our sexual relationships behind closed doors. This allows us to feign normalcy and carry on as typical members of our communities — however uptight they may be. Love’s another story. It’s harder to keep hidden and demands acknowledgment. It reveals itself in the way we look at our partners, how hands linger, and how we speak of those we care about. And that’s what I love about the word queer: It shows that our community isn’t about who we sleep with, but who we love and who we are, and it wants everyone to know about it.

Queer love? Hell yeah.

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