umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or cisgender

The term queer is a word that describes any person who does not fit into what is considered normal by society when talking about their gender and/or sexuality.[1]

2012 Jerusalem Pride Month LGBT Parade participant shirt, stamped with a sentence: "we're here, we're queer, we riot!"

It is a word that has been reappropriated by social and political LGBT rights activists and is the word that a lot of academic studies use to describe non-heterosexual identities.[2] It is also used as a word which talks about someone's sexuality or gender in a deliberately non-specific way.

Queer is mostly used by younger LGBT people to describe themselves and is usually described as a "fluid" label. Many people like the term in the LGBT community as it focuses on what that community has in common and not its differences. But many older LGBT people may find the term "queer" to be offensive due to its use as a homophobic insult.[1] Some queer folks may or may not be genderqueer (of non-binary gender).

Other meanings


The term "queer" entered English in the 16th century, meaning strange or a word describing someone who is sick.[3] The word was used a lot in the 20th century to refer to gay men, as it still does a lot today.[2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 PFLAG. "A Definition of "Queer"". PFLAG National. Archived from the original on 12 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "queer". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2014.
  3. "queer". Merriam-Webster. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2014.