Findings for ‘queer’ in my General Corpus

The term ‘queer’ is used in a variety of ways, and only in a minority of cases can be linked to the topic of homosexuality. Often, the word is simply used as an alternative or synonym for ‘weird’, strange, or similar words denoting non-normality. See for example:

  • Now, as we packed up the house and rolled up the carpets, I felt as if we were sweeping up our personal history. The tables and chairs would never quite be the same, the angles all wrong, the sounds queer and unfamiliar.[1]
  • “If the tax law is changed,” Guttman said, “real estate is going to be traded again on an economic basis, not on a tax-shelter basis, and you won’t see as many weird and queer financing deals that distort the price of real estate.[2]

In the instances where ‘queer’ can be linked to homosexuality, it is almost exclusively meant as slur. See for example:

  • Persons fearful of their own sexual identity react with great negativity because of their own discomfort. Remarks and jokes about “fags,” “queers” and “dykes” abound in offices and locker rooms.[3]
  • According to one listener, D. described the gay community as “faggots and queers,” and linked them to the bombing of the Capitol on Monday night.[4]

Most striking is probably the case of Louie Welch, the Republican candidate for the mayor’s office of Houston, TX. He said that one possible way of dealing with the spreading HIV/ AIDS epidemic was to ‘shoot the queers’, explaining the high rate of co-occurrences of these two terms.[5]

There is, like with faggot, only one example which might hint at a reclaiming strategy of the word ‘queer’, as seen in this quote:

  • While some expressed their gay pride with buttons and T-shirts that ranged from “Faggot” and “Queer” to the more low-key, “I’m One Too,” Ed Murphy, 58, of New York City wore a sash that declared him to be “An Original Stonewaller.”[6]

In all, ‘queer’ has to be counted as a slur, similar to ‘fag’ or ‘faggot’. The reclaiming, which would eventually be successful (as seen in the contemporary abbreviations such as LGBTQI[7]), has at this point apparently not permeated into the discourse sphere discussed here.

[1] Wallace, Barry. New York Times 10 Mar. 1985: 11CN/26. Print.

[2] Hinden, Stan. “The Time is REIT for Federal Realty Investment Trust.” Washington Post 21 Jan. 1985: Washington Business/Washington Investing/33. Print.

[3] Bauman, Robert E. “AIDS: The Fear is of Homosexuals.” Washington Post 14 Sep. 1985: 1/Free For All/A17. Print.

[4] Trescott, Jacqueline. Washington Post 10 Nov. 1983: Style C1. Print.

[5] See for example: Shipp, E. R. “Concern over Spread of AIDS Generates a Spate of New Laws Nationwide.” Washington Post 26 Oct. 1985: 1/30. Print, or: Reinhold, Robert. “AIDS Remark is at Issue in Houston Vote Today.” New York Times 5 Nov. 1985: B/6. Print.

[6] Perl, Peter. “15,000 Parade, Picnic and Politick on Gay Pride Day.” Washington Post 21 June 1982: Metro B1. Print.

[7] Green, Eli R., and Eric N. Peterson. LGBTQI Terminology. LGBT Resource Center UC Riverside, 2004. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://​www.lgbt.ucla.edu​/​documents/​LGBTTerminology.pdf>.


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