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Understand a Common Term: Queer!

Jan. 24, 2024, 4:46 PM Release

What is queer

"Queer" is an identity, political and academic term used by all sexual minorities who do not conform to prevailing sexual and gender norms. It is both an identity label (genderqueer), a political strategy (genderqueer/queer identity), and a concept of cultural analysis (queer theory). The word comes from the English "Queer", the original meaning is "grotesque, strange, (sexual) abnormal", in the past English context is often used to insult gay people, transgender people and other people who do not meet the mainstream gender norms, with strong discrimination.


The origins and early use of queerness

The word "Queer" originates from the English word "queer", meaning "grotesque, strange, (sexual) perverted", which is used in English to attack and shame homosexuals, transgender people and other people who do not conform to mainstream gender norms. In the past, this word was often used to insult and attack gay people, transgender people and other groups in the English context, which is strongly discriminatory.

In the 1990s, under the call of the American academic community, the term queer was given a new political significance, and was immediately used by sexual minorities and academics to express their resistance and dissatisfaction with the mainstream gender system. Being queer is not only an identity label (genderqueer), it is also a political strategy (genderqueer/queer identity), and it is also a concept of cultural analysis (queer theory).

The birth of queer theory can be traced back to the gay liberation movement in the United States, which inspired people to pay attention to and pursue the rights of sexual minorities. With the passage of time, not only gay and lesbian, but also transgender and bisexual groups have become more and more socially visible, and the word queer has gradually become a common term for these groups.

Queer theory

Queer theory is a theory about gender and sexuality that originated in the United States in the 1990s. It is based on feminism and is different from the binary gender theory in the patriarchal theory. Queer theory holds that gender identity and sexual orientation are not "natural" but are formed through social and cultural processes. This theory redefines sex and gender, questions and subverts the binary model of sex and gender. It is a typical manifestation of postmodernism in the study of sexuality, which goes beyond merely focusing on homosexuality, "justicing" all sexual minorities, and becoming a theory that questions and subverts gender norms. Queer theory uses deconstructionism, post-structuralism, discourse analysis, and gender studies to analyze and deconstruct gender identity, power forms, and norms. Diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity is seen as both natural and accidental, and not an inevitable result of any particular socio-cultural structure. Queer theory encourages people to understand and experience sexuality in as many ways as possible, and holds that no one sexual orientation or gender identity is superior or inferior to others.

Every theory has its scope of application, and queer theory also has some extreme phenomena in the development process, such as it erases differences. This is intended to unite the various organizations for a joint campaign, but in practice it is not feasible at this stage.

Because queer theory essentially reflects the process of "decentralization" of post-modern identity, too much pursuit of such decentralization and mobility may lead to society paying too much attention to individual needs, resulting in a series of new problems.

Therefore, while learning queer theory, we also need to combine various new theories, take the essence and discard the dross, and perhaps find new ideas for the development of our society today.

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