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San Diego State University's LGBT Group Causes Controversy by Changing Name to 'Queer Student Union'

San Diego State University's LGBT student group, formerly called the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Union at San Diego State University, has changed its name to "Queer Student Union" and the change is not being received well by everyone, FOX5 San Diego reports:

Lgbtsu“We’re here and next year, we’re queer,” junior and president-elect Thomas Negron said

A move to be more inclusive, President Michael Manacop and Negron said “queer” is the easiest way to encompass all of the gender and sexual identities on campus without getting too wordy...

...Some older faculty members expressed concerns over the name change when the story was first reported in the Daily Aztec.

“It doesn’t seem like something you’d want to be called,” sophomore Jake Neely said. “I was always taught not to use (certain) words and… that was definitely one of them that shouldn’t really be said in my house.”

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  1. Ever since hearing reports from New Zealand and Australia using the term "Rainbow Constituency" to refer to GLBTQI2SWXYZ... voters I've encouraged people to adopt the simple term here.

    I think "Rainbow Student Union" would address the concerns of the Student Union as well as the concerns of people, like myself, who still recoil at the term "queer".

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 16, 2013 11:45:26 AM

  2. Thank you TampaZeke. :)

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 16, 2013 11:50:59 AM

  3. I never warmed up to the term queer.

    Posted by: RHR IN TN | May 16, 2013 11:51:36 AM

  4. Stupid idea. So many/most same-sex oriented people do not want to be called or identify with "queer." Yes, the more radical or activists types are comfortable with the term, but most of the community blends in with mainstream society. This will only keep people from identifying with community.

    Posted by: Kyle | May 16, 2013 11:53:14 AM

  5. Not certain that's a step in the right direction. I am tired of the whole Alphabet soup name, but the Q word seems both radioactive and tired at the same time. Maybe the Unicorn Nation? :)

    Posted by: Mike in nyc | May 16, 2013 11:55:53 AM

  6. I've never liked the word Queer. I don't care if they are trying to reclaim it or something. Queer by definition is something strange or not normal. If we want to be treated like everyone else, why use a term that means " set apart from normal"?!

    Posted by: Derrick | May 16, 2013 11:59:49 AM

  7. Rainbow Student Union sounds great but the use of 'queer' as a self identifier has been around for a long time. It is not that big of a deal. My college campus had four GLBTQI2SWXYZ organizations and we all called ourselves queer. The only people who had issues were closeted freshmen.

    Posted by: Charles | May 16, 2013 12:02:13 PM

  8. All I know is Queer makes me cringe. Fag or Faggot doesn't even have that kind of affect on me.

    Posted by: Derrick | May 16, 2013 12:04:17 PM

  9. Sounds like hammering square pegs into round holes to me. While, to use the terminology in the article, the term queer may have credence within "political" and "academic" circles, it is till most widely used as a pejorative. As I think of university LGBT organization as still having a large role to play with youth who are in the process of coming out, I would question the judgement of those making the decision to change the name.

    I wonder where those who do not accept the "academic" and "political" baggage that goes along with the queer label are expected to turn.

    Posted by: Canadian Observer | May 16, 2013 12:07:53 PM

  10. It isn't more. "Inclusive" to use a word to describe s group that msny or most people in that group don't use and don't like.

    My university gay group, like many others, has changed its name many times every time some individual in the group complained about supposedly not being inclusive.

    It started by changing "gay" in the name to "gay and lesbian," even though AFTER that change, I asked the women for a show of hands and 100% of them were either equally content or preferred being called "gay women" or gay "people," "students, etc.

    After, that, the group name changed again and again every time pretty much ANY individual objected, until eventually the name, description, letterhead, etc., became so generic that likely few on campus knew what we were about.

    Our newspaper editor, meanwhile, was the biggest fan of the q-word. He thought it was an "inclusive umbrella," and he would push to alter everyone's articles to use only that word, which resulted in letters from the unaffiliated students asking why we were all so bent on using an offensive word.

    It was a false impression, because when I asked for a show of hands, the majority in the group the newsletter represented did not appreciate being labelled as "queer."

    The name change in San Diego alone would signal to a lot of students that this group isn't for them.

    Posted by: GregV | May 16, 2013 12:10:50 PM

  11. I hate this word as much as the "n" word. It's vulgar and malicious.

    Posted by: Marc C | May 16, 2013 12:11:17 PM

  12. I dunno - I self-identify as Queer. I like it. And yes, there are a great many lgbt people, and indeed some non-lgbt straights, who not only don't "blend in", but have zero interest in "blending in."

    Queer - from a different perspective and point of view. Unique. A deviation from the norm.

    I like that. I hear how some of you dislike it because it's a word that's been used against you as a slur.
    Ok. Would you like to know what word was used against me when i was bullied and harassed as a young kid? GAY. That's right, Gay. Gay was the insult. Gay was the word that was used when I got slammed into lockers and had rocks and ice (hi, Canada!) thrown at my head as i walked home from elementary school. GAY.

    I got over my negative associations with the word gay, and now proudly embrace it and identify as gay. and i also identify as Queer.

    Gay people are not "the norm" and we never will be,for no other reason than the law of numbers. It's also not The Norm to be left-handed. I think some of you don't understand what the word "normal" means, just as much as you don't unerstand what the word Queer actually means.

    do you mean "normal" or do you mean "natural"? normal - common, expected, unoriginal, non-unique.

    normal does not mean "good", folks.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 16, 2013 12:12:33 PM

  13. The Daily Aztec? A lot of Mexican and Central American Hispanics think they're descended from Aztecs, when it's just as likely they're descended from one of the many other native tribes that were constantly at war with the Aztecs, enslaved by the Aztecs [the Aztecs operated an Empire by brute force, similar to European and Asian colonial empires], and each other.

    Just saying.

    And I don't like the change, but don't like LGBT[Q?] either, but it's better than 'queer'. Rainbow sounds too euphemistic. And I've never quite understood why lesbians and male homosexuals are differentiated in at least English language societies. English unlike Latin languages is gender neutral. The simple term 'homosexual' suffices for both genders.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 16, 2013 12:16:52 PM

  14. why is this a controversy? one of our state universities up here in Wisconsin calls itself a Queer Student Union (QSU for short). I don't think its such a big deal. But I guess there may be sensitive people out there that still see the term as being offensive. Having studied gender and human sexuality myself I've come to embrace it as an umbrella term for people who don't want or choose to identify as L, G, B and/or T.

    Posted by: Terry | May 16, 2013 12:18:04 PM

  15. I don't have a problem with the word queer.
    Fudge-packer on the other hand...I dislike.

    Posted by: Gigi | May 16, 2013 12:24:16 PM

  16. Strictly speaking, 'normal' doesn't mean better, it simply means the norm, or average. Likewise, abnormal doesn't necessarily mean something bad, it just means something different from the average, the norm. 'Queer' means strange or very different from the norm. So I'd suggest 'queer' is in fact a demeaning word, and meant to be in it's proper context. It also is universally known in popular culture as having negative connotations.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 16, 2013 12:24:45 PM

  17. I'm with some of you who think it's not worth rehabilitating the word queer. "N*gger" is also a word not worth rehabilitating or "reclaiming" because of past associations. Also: "Queer Student Union" sounds deliberately in-your-face, like the group is fishing for attention. Queer and f*g used to be synonymous, yet nobody is trying to reclaim f*g from its previous abuse. Queer is really a term of oppression. Let it go.

    Posted by: will | May 16, 2013 12:26:55 PM

  18. I'm queer and left handed!

    Posted by: greenfuzz | May 16, 2013 12:33:34 PM

  19. if Queer is a term of oppression then why are so many self-identifying Queer people usually the ones who stand up to be counted?

    I reject the notion that it's on par with the N-word.

    thoughts on it.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 16, 2013 12:36:21 PM

  20. I'm not clear on this article. If the members of the student union voted to change the name to "queer", then what's the problem? The detractors don't seem to be part of the group, hence they should have no say in it. Or are some group members unhappy with the change too?

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | May 16, 2013 12:40:08 PM

  21. Dast - that's what I've been pondering, too. A bunch of people who are already not a part of it object to it and don't want to be a part of it, before AND after the name change....

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 16, 2013 12:42:51 PM

  22. Dastius Krazituac; the problem is that by inviting straight people to use that word, they are inviting them to call all of us "q***r" and some of us hate that. It is unfair for small groups like this to label the entire community with such an ugly slur.

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 16, 2013 12:46:32 PM

  23. Null, you're ignoring that it's not actually an ugly slur. That's why so many of us choose to self-identify as Queer. Because it means "from a different point of view or perspective, original, unique, a deviation from the expected norm."

    And the reason so many younger people are self-identifying as Queer is because the doors have been opened for them to a greater degree than previous generations: being LGBT for many of them doesn't mean "and also hoping to Blend In" - there's a sense of pride and empowerment in embracing what it is about ourselves that is different from the expected societal norm.

    any word can be hurled negatively - we still see GAY used as a pejorative. "that's so GAY", etc.

    does that mean we all stop using gay, because GAY has been used as an insult? no, i don't think so.

    i know this may be a shock for some circles, but there's a groundswell of young self-identifying Queer folks who find strength in embracing an aspect that a great many other folks choose to keep hidden, to varying degrees.

    some LGBT people want to blend in to the crowd. others would rather eat glass than be perceived as Ordinary.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 16, 2013 1:00:22 PM

  24. If some of you queer-word-loving people start to say those of us who dislike the word are "self-loathing" or self-hating, I'm gonna slug you! :)

    Posted by: will | May 16, 2013 1:02:15 PM

  25. Dastius. Not the "members" or those that use the center. The current leaders. Many of whom will likely move to San Francisco and spend their future interjecting their fringe political beliefs totally unrelated to LGBT issues into Pride. "Queer" is used as an insult and only those in their little bubble don't get that.

    Posted by: Jesse | May 16, 2013 1:06:14 PM

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