Queer people who are attracted to multiple genders often face erasure of their sexuality when they begin a monogamous relationship or a marriage. But your sexuality is about your identity—not your partner's gender.—Erika W. Smith
As a great deal of queer history has by now demonstrated, the strictly defined categories of "homosexual" and "heterosexual" are relatively new: bright lines drawn across the late-20th-century sexual landscape that made "coming out" a dichotomous choice.—Deborah Cohen
: of, relating to, or being a person whose sexual orientation is not heterosexual and/or whose gender identity is not cisgender
the queer movement
For many queer folks, the clothing we wear can be a vital part of our identity expression. And thankfully, there are tons of businesses popping up, many of them internet-based, that offer queer folks clothes made by us, for us, whether that's lingerie fitted for transgender bodies or clothes cut to fit butch cisgender women.—James Loke Hale
: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity cannot be categorized as solely male or female : genderqueer, nonbinary
For Watson, playing Susie was always about representing an honest queer experience that could help others better understand what it's like to be gender non-binary, whether they're queer or not.—Shannon Carlin
: of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity differs from the sex the person was identified as having at birth : transgender
high-heeled shoes in sizes large enough to meet queer fashion demands
I did get a job once, but I was off for a week because I was queer …—Somerset Maugham
None of the characters … come out during the movies' events, and no one's queerness is revealed as shocking … —Jill Gutowitz
Usage of Queer
The adjective queer is now most frequently applied with its meanings relating to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, as outlined at sense 2 above. When these meanings were developing in the early 20th century, they were strongly pejorative, echoing the negative connotations of the word's older meanings, which included "weird," "suspicious," and "unwell." But the adjective today is commonly used as a positive or neutral self-descriptor, and also has wide use as a neutral broad descriptor for a large and varied group of people.
Contemporary Black activism has also largely been informed by the concurrent agitation surrounding trans and queer rights … —Nelson George
Through interviews, mapping, and an examination of local history and present developments, this paper concludes that gays, lesbians and other members of the queer community often create the liberating social spaces that attract further settlement by "non-conformists." —Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
The term is also prominent as a neutral term in academic contexts that deal with gender and sexuality. Current neutral and positive uses notwithstanding, the word's long history of pejorative use continued into the current century, and some people still find the word offensive in any context.
While the noun queer is used as a neutral or positive self-descriptor, it has a long history of pejorative use and is likely to be considered offensive when used by someone who does not identify as queer.
: to consider or interpret (something) from a perspective that rejects traditional categories of gender and sexuality : to apply ideas from queer theory to (something)
And knowledge of [his identity as a gay man] opens a path to consider how and to what degree his art queered—to use a term from academic theory—received versions of American culture: questioned their validity, revealed their contradictions, turned them inside out.—Holland Cotter
The term genderqueer was originally coined in the 1990s to describe those who "queered" gender by defying oppressive gender norms in the course of their binary-defying activism.—Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart
What struck me about this book when I read it nearly two decades ago was how she queered the lives of black women who depend on one another to survive, who love each other intimately, and who exist at the intersections of race, gender, class and sexuality. It is a raw and complex narrative about coming into one's self, becoming more familiar and at ease with all of the parts of one's self, and it is a powerful accounting of a black lesbian facing head-on her own adversities.—Alicia Garza
: to make or modify (something) in a way that reflects one's rejection of gender and sexuality norms
As for the actual tea, [professor E. Patrick] Johnson notes, black gay men riff on family recipes, often making them boozy, queering the more sober versions from their youths.—Kyle Fitzpatrick
: to spoil the effect or success of (something)
Nothing queers an investigation like moving too rapidly.—Tom Clancy
: to put or get (someone or something) into an embarrassing or disadvantageous situation
Do you think she'll believe you after that? … You can't queer me with her.—P. G. Wodehouse
The sky was a queer shade of red.
I had a queer feeling that something bad was about to happen. Verb
The sudden storm queered our plans.
Recent Examples on the Web
Almodóvar’s gaze is more like a series of fun house mirrors here, passing through classic dime-store-novel narrative, the macho-man canon of midcentury Technicolor westerns and the winky camp of queering it all in circa-2023 couture.—Leah Greenblatt, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2023
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'queer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.