Queer: the true meaning behind the term

by Tea Polgar

When the majority of people hear the word ‘queer’ the first thing they think about is being gay, but there is so much more behind this umbrella term. It’s the pride to be albe to be who you want to be without being judged, the chance to express yourself fully.

The original meaning of the term ‘queer’ was used to indicate something unusual, odd, not completely right. So, it comes up as no surprise that this term has been long used as a negative appellative to label people who had same sex desires. This is the product of a society that has been banning and discriminating ‘the different’ since it was born. Still nowadays people who identifies themselves with the LGBT community are persecuted, judged and victimised. 


Queer it’s about freedom: to express yourself, to be who you are before what you like


Reclaimed by the branches of the movement ‘Queer Nation’ at the end of the 1980s, the term is now used to indicate a large spectrum of non-normative sexual and gender identities. 

But what does it really means being queer in 2019? 

Right now, most people think we live in a mainly peaceful and respecting society, where the rights of the most are respected and honoured. But there are still parts of the world where gays, transsexuals and members of the LGBT community are persecuted, imprisoned and even killed over their sexual orientation.  

The emblem of the anti-gay fight has lately become the Brunei’s nation, country which last March 2019 put into effect a law that makes possible for the state to punish both adultery and homosexual sex with death. People all over the world are showing their indignation towards this law, defined unconstitutional by many, but the Brunei’s government doesn’t seem prone to listen: The Sultan “does not expect other people to accept and agree with it, but that it would suffice if they just respect the nation in the same way that it also respects them”. 

«For me being queer means being proud of who I am, being able to show how I really am», says Agatino, a young gay man from Italy. «I feel like right now the queer community is much more represented than in the past: we have the possibility to see other LGBT’s movement personalities on TV or on social networks. It looks stupid, but I feel like people, by seeing us more, have become more accepting towards our community. »

Agatino was born in Italy, class 1997, and it’s one of the innumerable faces that make up the LGBT community.  Italy has legalized same sex marriages in June 2016, but still the possibility to adopt a child has not come through and it’s highly regulated:  «I don’t think that series A or series B couple exist; the queer community fight for the same rights that everyone else has and I think it should be a main concern to fight over this in order to fulfil our rights. Same thing must be applied to the right of changing sex: a long legal process that leaves the Tribunal with the choice to consent or not to the sex change». 

‘Queer’ represents both an identity and a community: a way to express yourself and how you identify as an individual, but it also brings with itself a sense of association, of being part of something. The term and the community were both born to give to the people of the LBGT movement a way to be part of something, not to be the different, the emarginated and isolated: to feel like there is a place you can be yourself without being judged for it. It gave the LGBT community a feeling of cohesion they couldn’t find anywhere else since a few decades ago, when the whole world still felt like it was against them. 

It’s not only a word, a term to use to categorize someone only because of sexual orientation: it represent unity and self-acceptance.

Illustration Gay GIF by Martina Scott

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