What is Queer?

Queer, despite the negative historical use of this term, has been embraced in the last few decades, particularly by younger members of the larger and ever-growing LGBTQIA+ community. It is an umbrella term that many prefer, both because of convenience (easier than gay, lesbian, etc.) and because it does not force the person who uses it to choose a more specific label for drawing on historical definitions of gender identity or sexual orientation. Queer also refers to a suspension of rigid gendered and sexual orientation categories and is underscored by attempts to interrogate and interrupt heteronormativity, reinforced by acknowledging diverse people across gender, sex, emotions and desires. It embraces the freedom to move beyond, between, or even away from, yet even to later return to, myriad identity categories. Queer is not relegated to LGBTQIA+ people, but is inclusive of any variety of experience that transcends what has been socially and politically accepted as normative categories for gender and sexual orientation.(sM)