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Queer is an umbrella term used by some people to describe their gender and/or sexual identity. Much like LGBTQ+, it’s a word that communicates to others that: a) the person could identify as any sexuality aside from heterosexual, b) the person’s gender identity lies outside of the male-female gender binary, or c) an intersection of multiple identities. Some people might like to use the word ‘queer’ to describe themselves because it rejects the reliance on specific labels that define what exactly their sexual or gender identity is. For example, a non-binary lesbian might tell someone that they are ‘queer’ because they are not comfortable sharing specifics about their identity. 

It’s very important to note that the word queer is a reclaimed term, and it was once used exclusively as a slur. The word historically means “odd or strange”. Just because it has been reclaimed does not mean that it is no longer used as a slur to harm and control people who identify as LGBTQ+. Because of this, some people prefer not to use it while others embrace it.

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