What is Queer and is it the Right Fit for my Identity?

The term “queer” serves as an umbrella to classify an individual as not part of the straight or cisgendered community, which are often coined the “norm” by society. However, being queer does not box an individual into the confines of the term “gay”. Queer can serve as a broader form of identity for people who feel they exist within gender and sexual minorities, or perhaps grey areas between defined sexual orientations. Queer as an adopted concept in society challenges the preexisting social and gender hierarchies, which attempt to enclose individuals within identity cages. The label “queer” has, in reality, allowed communities to acknowledge how their sexual orientations or preferences may differ from the standards of society. It is important to consider the notion that because gender identity is usually taught to an individual through social norms, conflicts, and parental ideas, it can potentially leave an individual feeling confused about their own preferences, as well as possibly misunderstood when labels come into play. 

 

As these unyielding attitudes towards sexual identity continue to perpetuate across generations, they threaten to encroach upon one’s ability to choose and come into their identity. People may feel afraid to declare themselves “gay” or “homosexual,” terms that have historically bared negative connotations which are further spread when individuals try to frame sexuality as existing within inflexible confines like heterosexuality. Queer, then, offers a broader description under which a person can identify; for individuals who have recognized that their identity, most often in sexual preference, diverges from the typical lanes of orientations in society––cisgender” or heterosexuality––can find a safe haven under the more widely-embracing queer community and not feel restrained by rigid sexual identity constructs fashioned by society.

 

From my own experience, at times when I was coming to terms with my sexuality and didn’t feel fully comfortable identifying myself as a lesbian women, I found a safe community within the queer community where I was able to be surrounded by like minded people without the pressures of labeling myself and having preferences. Since then I have come to terms with my sexuality and can proudly say my queerness is something I’m proud of and encourage those who are struggling with their identity to try to find communities near you of queer individuals since it can really help one to come into themselves.