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3 Differences Between the Terms ‘Gay’ and ‘Queer’—and Why It Matters
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Try for free Already registered? Log in. Flag comment Cancel. Delete Comment Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Cancel Delete comment. Deleting comment This comment has been deleted. Try for free. It is specifically supposed to embrace the vastness of difference, which would ostensibly include more than white, cisgender men. But white supremacist cisheterosexism is invasive, and is nearly impossible to escape in the world we live in today.
Those who became the prominent leaders in the movement to reclaim queerness were still predominantly white as well. They are, however—or should be—exploring what it means to be more than just white if truly operating with a queer framework. Many people of color, gender non-conforming people, or non-binary folks reject labels altogether. The label fight is just not for them. Based on my understanding of queerness, I interpret even that rejection a queer action, regardless of how one is identified, and it too has great importance.
That is queerness, after all. I am unashamed of sex. I have it frequently, and I love it. But my queerness is not limited to the question of sexuality. Gayness, homosexuality, is inherently a question of sexuality. When I thought myself gay — it was an identity that had everything to do with the gender of whom I was sexually attracted to. How could I know how the gender of people I like relates to mine?
My relationship with gayness was defined by what I thought I knew myself to like. But I no longer know how I know what I like. What is sex without intimacy? Intimacy without sex? If intimacy means more to me than sex, does having intimacy with someone without having sex with them define my sexuality? Does having sex without intimacy?
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None of those things are defined enough for me to identify in any way other than in a way that allows them to be undefined. Exploring my queerness, those are questions I ask myself every day. And maybe there is no one answer to any of them. Maybe they change from year to year or day to day and person to person.
And for some people, they are defined enough to be both gay and queer in a given moment. Maybe that will change for those same people like it did for me. Ultimately, this language is limited, and so it follows that there are limitations to how we describe ourselves. Skip to content.