Thursday, February 1, 2007

Queerness, gender, grammar

Grammatical structures really influence how language is perceived as derogatory, offensive, etc. For example, calling me “queer” as an adjective doesn’t bug me, but yet “a queer” seems offensive – it is as though it is using “queer” as a noun, turning me into a different species, or an “other.”
Using it as a noun makes it seem like this is the only thing about m – that this specific characteristic is the sole defining factor in my identity. Using it as an adjective makes it more open to inserting other identities, and recognizes that I am more than just queer.

I guess this is why I don’t like the word “lesbian.” Interesting, though, that nouns like “man” and “woman” don’t hold the same power, to me.