‘Queer’ Should Be Accepted, Not Feared

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Published: April 18, 2012

“Queer.” It’s short. Crisp. Easy to say. But it lingers in the mind, conjuring up ideas of the unusual or perplexing in its most traditional definition. We’ve all grown up with the term, and for many, the word queer has had a negative connotation, suggesting that the subject it describes is some sort of outcast. But Rainbow Alliance is fighting against that negative connotation, arguing that “queer” can be used as an accurate, even positive way for those in the LGBT community to identify themselves in an academic setting.

Rainbow has turned “queer” from being an expression into a campaign, advocating for the use of the word through tabling and events—one being “Q the Spotlight,” (featuring musical performances by LGBT Lincoln Center students) most recently held on April 3 and an academic panel held on March 28 to discuss the controversy of the word.

Despite Rainbow’s support from students and faculty, as well as the impressive turnout at their events, not all are comfortable with using the word “queer.” Some are hesitant to say it. They believe the term is outright offensive and solely applies to gays in the LGBT community, as opposed to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered. Student Affairs has even prohibited using it in club advertising, according to Brooke Cantwell’s article “Rainbow Alliance Brings “Queer” Awarenewss” on pg. 3, preventing Rainbow from using the word “queer” on fliers around campus.

The fact that Student Affairs won’t allow the word queer to be used in Rainbow Alliance fliers is especially concerning. If members of the LGBT community are in support of the word, why is printing and publicizing the word forbidden for campus clubs?

Fordham encourages openness, diversity and freedom of expression. We’ve seen them reach out to listen to our problems and address concerns, especially in light of the recent bias incidences. Therefore, in keeping with those efforts to embrace the diversity in Fordham’s community, Student Affairs should allow student clubs to use the word “queer” in their advertising. Not doing so is denying students the right to publicly embrace the word as a valid, affirming identity. Those who identify as queer should not be marginalized or made to feel like the sexual groups they represent are ostracized because of the limitations faced by the Rainbow Alliance.

We commend those at Fordham who are openly and objectively addressing what is for some an uncomfortable topic and we believe the negativity that often circles the word “queer” should continue to be addressed openly. We hope that Fordham will embrace the word, allow it to be used in Rainbow Alliance fliers and realize that it is one that should be met with openness and understanding, not fear.