Queer Terms That Annoy - Mo's Journal
Queer Terms That Annoy|
I was motivated by a post on niennah
's journal, where she expressed distaste for the term "homosex" to try a poll.
Which of the following words or usages of words rub you the wrong way?
Gay, when used as a noun
Which of the following terms bother you when used to identify a member of a committed same-sex couple?
Girlfriend or Boyfriend
Of the ones above that rub you the wrong way, do they
Bother you when used by straight people
Bother you when used in mixed (i.e. queer and non-queer) company
Bother you when used non-ironically by anybody
Bother you when used by anyone for any purpose
Please feel free to expand on your views in comments. I'll give mine after I see some results.
ETA: I'm a doofus when it comes to polls. I realized, in trying to fill it out myself, that some terms could bother one in certain contexts and others in different contexts and still others in all contexts. So feel free to complain about that in comments and also to explain which terms bother you in which.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC)|| |
Don't ask me why fag bothers me and queer doesn't, but it's most definitely true. Maybe it's because I've seen queer "reclaimed" so to speak by the community but I haven't seen fag go through the same process.
It may go without saying, but I dislike almost any word spoken in a nasty tone that shows it's intended to be derogatory.
I'm bugged by roommate and friend because they tend to be used when people are afraid of coming out as queer. So it's mostly that their use makes me sad. You shouldn't have to call your lover/spouse/wife your friend to avoid being run out of town.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC)|| |
Fag is one for me that only works in an in-group way. I took a long time to accept the reclamation of queer, but I've been won over. It's such a useful word, just because it covers so much, yk?
I hate "roommate" and "friend" as well. I can't think of a good context to use those when referring to a committed partner. As you said, people use it about their own partners when afraid to come out and people use it about others' partners when not wanting to acknowledge the true nature of the relationship.
I seem to be the only one bugged by girlfriend/boyfriend but I feel it trivializes committed relationships (making them seem less than straight marriages and more like the precursors to straight marriages) and also that for those of us well past girlhood it's infantilizing. I was at my lover's union's annual picnic a couple of weeks ago and she said "Come on - I want to introduce you to the president of our local." I said, "Fine, but *don't* call me your girlfriend."
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 12:57 pm (UTC)|| |
This isn't necessarily a true picture for me. I don't like "dyke" or "fag" unless it's used by someone in the community (an even then I don't really like but respect their right to self-identify in any way they like). Both of those terms carry a lot of connotative baggage for me and most of it is bad. As a political term, "Swarm of Dykes" for example is a radical feminist and lesbian group at OU, used by the LGBT community, I can understand it.
I don't like roommate or friend used to describe someone to describe a committed couple when it's done in order to obfuscate the real situation or relationship. I would never use "lover" to describe my relationship with anyone for me it's too intimate a term to use as a public identifier--but that's me.
I hate "homosex" and "gay" as a noun always.
Sexual preference is a loaded term--another one with connotative baggage. It implies that one's sexual orientation is a choice, something one can control. I don't personally believe that and I think that politically it undermines the fight for equality. After all, if one really wanted to have those equal rights, then presumably, they could just "choose" to be with the appropriately gendered/sexed partner. (grrrr) I have the same issue with lifestyle.
Sorry Mo, didn't mean to take over your journal for a mini-rant.
I'll stop there.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)|| |
Don't apologize for the rant - it was interesting. And it's my fault that the poll results don't adequately represent your views. The poll was flawed.
Completely misread #2
, so answers are skewed. Please forgive me, I'm on my way to the dr with the 4 year old.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)|| |
I hope the four-year-old is okay!
I think the first category has the most terms that are open to interpretation depending on how they're used and by whom. I probably would have included "gay as a noun" except I recently heard it used in a comedy routine (the character was a dim witted teenage boy) and it was hilarious.
I notice that some people clicked lifestyle, which to me calls to mind a generic term, not one solely used for describing a same-sex situation. I talk about my 'lifestyle' all the time, then again if that term were being flung at me in a derogatory tone I'd probably find it offensive.
Conversely, as of right now, I'm the only one who clicked 'queer' because my immediate instinct is to say "that implies that there is something wrong or unusual about being gay or lesbian and that's wrong". So, *shrug* I won't be adding any new terms to my slang vocabulary but if anyone tells me that using a particular word is offensive I'll remove it immediately.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC)|| |
I'm fine with "lifestyle" in some contexts, e.g. "urban lifestyle" "affluent lifestyle" and so on. But when being gay is referred to as a lifestyle, it bugs me. You hear it in a variety of contexts, as you said, but you never hear about "the heterosexual lifestyle." Queer folk have as varied lifestyles as straight people and "the homosexual lifestyle" like "the homosexual agenda" assumes otherwise.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)|| |
I dislike 'gay' used as a noun to refer to a person, but I'm okay with it used ironically to refer to the essence of homosexuality, ie : "There is so much gay in that show, it makes The Sentinel look straight."
Of course I don't like any of them when used derogatorily or used as a general synonym for 'bad'.
'Dyke' and 'queer' I think of as mostly reclaimed - in most contexts - but I'm only comfortable with 'fag' if the person is using it to positively describe *themself*, not other people. I guess I don't think it's quite as reclaimed for me as the others.
I don't like girlfriend and boyfriend for a committed couple regardless of gender. And husband and wife are really strongly tied to heteronormativity in weird ways in my mind, so it bothers me on a kneejerk level when same-sex couples use them unironically, even if they're married, and it bothers me at least a little with het couples who use them constantly, too. But I live with both of those sets of terminology for lack of anything better. Same thing with pretty much everything on that list, actually - I don't much like any of them for het or gay couples (except maybe 'spouse'), but I deal.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)|| |
Oh - also, I don't like 'lifestyle' at all when it's used to refer to just being in a committed relationship with a person of the same sex, but I'm okay with it when it's used to describe people who actually are basing most of their lifestyle choices on their orientation (...which these days would be a lot rarer than in a historical setting, and I don't know why I automatically assumed you'd be meaning it in the second sense. Time to go examine my privilege again yay.)
I'd never heard the word "homosex" - does it mean "sex between homosexual people?" or something else?
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)|| |
I generally see it to mean a general term for all manner of sexual activity between men. The female analog is "lesbisex". And both terms are used with a little irony or humor more often than not, in my experience.
Here's an example of its use from my fiction. Scott, having just told his coming out story ("coming out" in the sense of first same-sex sexual experience) to Logan in an email, says at the end of the description of having sex for the first time at a boy scout camp out:
P. S. So, which do you think that the powers-that-be in the Boy Scouts would be more upset about? The homosex, or the fact that they were harboring a mutant in their midst?
Gay, used as a noun, is my pet peeve. I don't know about other age groups, but in the 20 something crowd (and younger) it's very common to hear people say "That is SO gay." And since it is usually meant in a derogatory way (i.e. bad, girly, unusual), it irritates me to no end. I've almost trained all of my friends out of it, but I still hear it pop up occasionally. When I do, I give them the glare of death, and I rarely hear it from them again. :)
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)|| |
But in "that is so gay" it's being used as an adjective, just a pejorative one!
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)|| |
So a lot of it has to do with context, of course. And the words I don't like are for my own weird reasons.
LOL! That about covers it for all of us, but I do find it interesting to hear which contexts bother whom and for which weird reasons.
When I started working in public health I felt put off by all the references to MSM (men who have sex with men). I've come to feel that it's a very good and useful term!
Yeah, that last needs to be a ticky, too.
Dyke and fag bother me when they're being used by someone as deliberate insults, or by people who haven't earned the "right" to use them if that makes any sense.
"Roommate" of all those terms bothers me because it's just so closeted and condescending. Though I guess "friend" could fall in the same euphemistic category. Everything else in that pollset allows for the emotional and intimate connection.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)|| |
by people who haven't earned the "right" to use them if that makes any sense.
It makes sense to me. I said something similar, when I said that they are fine when used by fags and dykes but suspect when used by straight people. I should have added that the suspicion can be allayed.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC)|| |
None of the terms from the first question bother me, so I left it blank.
I know that the "that's gay" slang annoys a lot of people, but for me it was more of an issue of grammar. I choose to use it correctly (i.e. the Batman and Robin's relationship is so gay) and have had this spread amongst my straight friends.
|Date:||September 20th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)|| |
I have never heard that before. It sounds stupid.