Fashioning the Queer Self

I am not kidding when I tell you I had to look up the word “queer”.  From my understanding it was used to described someone as strange right?  Well, yes and no.  I looked at two different sources to get a correct definiton.  First, it was Wikipedia who’s definition didn’t really answer my question…

“Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary. In the context of Western identify politics the term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestyles that typify mainstream LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) communities as being oppressive or assimilationist.”

My thoughts exactly…

Umm, what?  I then looked to Urban Dictionary because they are great at defining slang, inside words, and words you’re not suppose to say…

“Originally meant to describe something as unusual or strange.  Became a derogatory word to describe homosexuals.  More recently, it has been reclaimed by non-heterosexuals as a word used to describe themselves.  Queer can now be used to describe homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgendered people.  In scholarly studies the word queer is also use to describe those who practice unconventional sex (e.g. bondage, etc.), therefore even heterosexuals can sometimes be defined as queer.

Examples:

1.  Your brother is a really queer guy.

2.  I am a homosexual, part of the queer community.”

Finally, a light bulb went off.  The last time I heard this word was when one of my professors wished the class a Happy National Coming Out Day.  She then mentioned that the announcement was brought to us by a queer person.  Up until now I had no clue what she meant by that but I do now.

A light bulb just went off…

I couldn’t help but think of all the queer subcultures that use fashion to signify their queer identities.  Lady boys, drag queens, and butch to name a few…  But their sexuality can also be mapped out on their body instead of through clothing.

Identity through fashion…

Jefree Star: Drag queen, entertainer, and musician.

Identity through the body…

Jenny Shimizu: Model, actress and mechanic.

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