How do I tell other gay people that they sound stupid calling themselves "queer"?

I think this is another example of the chiming in, that I mentioned here: Could we be a little better about not chiming in?

The question asker seemed to have a legitimate issue with a word being applied to him and/or people like him. I say that because I saw a comment on a previous answer before I saw the question:

Why do you use the word "queer"? – rbsdca 4 hours ago

A gay person not appreciating a queer person using the word "queer" is a somewhat different question than a straight person asking the same question.

The question is, at it's core, about someone being uncomfortable with a reclaimed term and I think it's a good question that deserves a good answer. Although toning down a little of the anger in the question may help.

What do you all think?

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    I may have jumped the gun here, but a revised version of the question can be seen here: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/8281/… If anyone wishes that I delete it or edit it in any way please let me know. – Groggo Dec 19 '17 at 15:26
  • @Groggo is this a practical problem that you actually face? – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 15:30
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    this is a situation that I find myself in quite a bit, as one of the aforementioned individuals who feels uncomfortable with the word's use as well as an individual who is autistic. So I would genuinely like to know the answer as I often struggle with social sensitivity, particularly around situations like the one described. – Groggo Dec 19 '17 at 15:32

Two things:

First, I too think there could be a lot of value to this post if the question were to be rephrased to something more along the lines of

"I don't like the word queer, I don't have the same connotations with it that everyone else does. How can I explain to the people using it that I don't want to be grouped into that label with them?"

I'd vote to reopen after an edit like such, but not any sooner. Currently it's just a rant without enough info for us to edit ourselves (IMO, primarily if these people are close friends, acquaintances, or strangers, because this would change answers drastically).

Second, you redirected me here after I made a comment on the post stating that his feelings on the word "queer" aren't reflective of its true definition, and making a comparison to his views and how some individuals choose to use "gay" as a derogatory insult. Just in case it came off as hostile, I didn't mean this as "chiming in" with my distaste on his views, but simply stating a fact, as the comments are used for on any other post. OP has the right to have whatever feelings he wants towards the word, I only made that comment to iterate that his feelings aren't reflective of the word's true definition.

There might be some reflection that can be done to be more understanding of other people's feelings and word choices if the OP is given the proper knowledge/viewpoint. Maybe he has never had a discussion about queer's true definition. However, my comment is not an answer to any rephrasing of the question, thus comments.

For what it's worth I'm gay and don't really prefer the word queer either. But I don't speak up against others because it seems distasteful to tell others not to use a word just because I am stuck on, what I know to be, an improper definition of it.

  • But, for the editing... do you want to wait on input from the OP, or just go ahead and barge in? – Tinkeringbell Dec 19 '17 at 14:39
  • This partially captures my observation. The OP liked the word 'gay,' which was reclaimed in my lifetime, and now the word 'queer,' which is currently in late-stage reclaiming, offends them? I'd love to see a post talking about why that might be okay. But I do wonder if we could avoid making an answer explaining the difference opinion-based? – PolyPixiePaladin Dec 19 '17 at 14:39
  • I commented because you seemed to have some perspective there, and may be able to edit if the OP chooses to abandon it. – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 14:40
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    Ahh, I see! That's a good question on editing. I think we need to wait for OP input though, similar to what Tinkerbell states below. I updated my post to include a sentence on this, but I don't think there's enough detail for us to completely salvage. Primarily his target audience needs to be addressed. – Jess K. Dec 19 '17 at 14:46
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    Then again if worse comes to worse I may just go ahead and ask a new question that covers the topic. I'd hate to see them stuck with working back from such a strong negative reaction. -9 will take a while to recover from. – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 15:00
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    I was thinking that too. If OP abandons the post but you think it could be a valuable discussion, I think it's worth making a question for it. – Jess K. Dec 19 '17 at 15:02
  • @apaul, I appreciate the meta conversation. I guess I should have posted this question when I had more time to address it. I posted the question for two reasons. One, I really want to know how to respond to the use of this word. Second, I was interested to see if I would get bullied into closing the question, which is pretty much what happened. – rbsdca Dec 19 '17 at 15:21
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    @rbsdca It doesn't seem like bullying imo. Everyone here is agreeing this could be a great question. However, you posted it in a tone that just implies everyone who uses it is "wrong" and "stupid", and that's not what IPS is for. – Jess K. Dec 19 '17 at 15:23
  • @rbsdca Would you prefer to edit, or would you be happier with a new question posted by yourself, or someone else? – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 15:24
  • @apaul, this is my last post this site. Seriously, no one here is interested in actually answering the question. They are only interested in picking apart the question for more points. – rbsdca Dec 19 '17 at 15:26
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    @rbsdca you're certainly free to hold that opinion, but I'd like to encourage you to give us a chance. Take a longer look, there's some good stuff here. – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 15:27
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    @apual I posted two questions on this site and spent hours rewriting those questions. I understand that there are rules here, but my "reputation" on this site is in the top 11% and it's only 334. That means no one sticks around to ask a second question. Think about it. – rbsdca Dec 19 '17 at 15:32
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    @rbsdca actually that means, that like most new sites, most of our "users" are people who created accounts to vote on content using the association bonus. Most of our "users" haven't posted anything. There's a big difference between the community here and the list of technically registered users. – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 20:17
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    @rbsdca First of all, you're in the top 11% of users this month, which I'm not sure you realize by your statements... Second, I don't really want to start an argument over this. Someone else stated the same question in a non-aggressive way and with more detail and received a positive score. The content of your question wasn't the issue it was how you asked it, and we (at least apaul and myself) wanted to help you. – Jess K. Dec 21 '17 at 0:54

I would be inclined to say that the question should be deleted, because salvaging it requires changing it completely. I think we're all on the same page so far, in that if they had perhaps asked the question "How can I deal with people labeling me as 'queer' without my consent?" or something to that effect, that would be something more within the scope of IPS. Perhaps give the OP the opportunity to revise their question first, but my personal opinion is that it's not a coherent enough question to be valuable in its current state.

I think the discussion that this has opened up is a valuable one that is worthy of IPS and think that the question should be preserved somehow, either by editing the original, or re-asking it. This might also remove the potential for debate around the acceptability of the word (whether to describe oneself, another individual, or a group) which isn't really inside the scope of this exchange.

This is a subject that in my experience inspires emotional debate in our community. The issue here is not whether it's okay to use it to describe yourself, or even whether it's okay for the OP to be offended by its use. The issue that (I believe) needs to be discussed is, as an individual who is not okay with it being used to describe you, what is the most socially acceptable and sensitive way to communicate that to individuals who are?

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    After seeing the OP's reaction to feedback and their edit to "fix" the post, it doesn't seem like the post will be successfully salvaged. – Jess K. Dec 19 '17 at 15:20
  • @Groggo, you're suggesting that I change the question because you don't like what I am asking. The question is as clear as it could possibly be. See my only update. – rbsdca Dec 19 '17 at 15:24

I say that because I saw a comment on a previous answer before I saw the question.

Good, I didn't have that info.

The question asker seemed to have a legitimate issue with a word being applied to him and/or people like him.

That's what makes this question unclear: What's the problem? Applying the word to him or people like him? Btw, I can't really see the second one, unless you mean 'people like him calling themselves queer'.

A gay person not appreciating a queer person using the word "queer" is a somewhat different question than a straight person asking the same question. An edit would be helpful to clarify that, it makes a pretty big difference.

Exactly. But what isn't in the question is whether this is about a gay person not appreciating queer people calling themselves queer, or queer people calling the OP queer because he's gay.

Personally, I think we agreed that in such cases, we wait for input from the OP before editing.

As I've said in the comments, I'd like to see:

  • Some hard evidence of the meaning of queer, not just the OP's opinions on the word. As Catija commented, queer and gay are not the same thing, so why worry?
  • Whether this is about other people using the word queer to describe themselves, and calling those people stupid?
  • Whether the real problem is a genuine worry of being labeled queer?
  • If the OP has been called queer before, as a back-up of that worry?
  • Sorry I edited while you were writing this, posted the original before coffee. My bad. – apaul Dec 19 '17 at 14:35

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