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.”

Comments

  1. TampaZeke says

    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”.

  2. Kyle says

    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.

  3. Mike in nyc says

    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? :)

  4. says

    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”?!

  5. says

    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.

  6. Canadian Observer says

    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.

  7. GregV says

    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.

  8. says

    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.

  9. ratbastard says

    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.

  10. Terry says

    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.

  11. Gigi says

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

  12. ratbastard says

    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.

  13. will says

    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.

  14. Dastius Krazitauc says

    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?

  15. says

    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….

  16. NullNaught says

    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.

  17. says

    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.

  18. will says

    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! :)

  19. Jesse says

    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.

  20. Rick says

    “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.”

    Yeah, that’s the ticket

    Let’s call ourselves “The Rainbow People!” LOL.

    Really and truly, if anyone wants to observe the total idiocy of the Far Left and how completely out-of-touch it is with the social mainstream, all anyone has to do is read this story and the thread of comments that comes after.

    Hardly any wonder that the overwhelming majority of men who are sexually attracted to other men have absolutely no interest in associating with or being associated with such kooks.

  21. says

    Exactly, LK…and, also, rat? The word “normal” might not be the most proper one, in this case: I’m thinking “normative” might be one that’s closer to the concept of “average.”

    Besides, like it was mentioned earlier, if there’s an entire *discipline* in many progressive unis regarding “Queer Studies,” are we supposed to just chuck the concept out wholesale simply because it might be offensive to some people? (If that’s the case, I may as well give up my minor course of study ^_^)

    The whole QS discipline was centered around the celebration of difference and the idea that there are as many sexualities and personal definitions as there are people, when one stops to think on it. Nobody’s ever going to be 100% placated on what is “proper” and what isn’t, and probably trying to appease all of us is just going to end up leading to chasing our own tails…

  22. says

    will – think of it this way, there are gay people whose approach to their being gay is “just because i’m gay doesn’t mean i’m different from you” and there are gay folks whose approach is “i’m different from you and that’s not only ok, it’s a good thing”

    for a while now we’ve, as a community, addressed the use of the word “gay” as a pejorative: “that’s so gay” – GAY as a derogatory and/or negative descriptor.

    does that mean we stop using GAY? i don’t see anyone really arguing for that.

    a person need not use the N-word to verbalize their anti-black hatred: they could very well simply use the word “black” or “blacks” with a hateful tone, in a hateful context, and the power of the hurled-as-invective word-bomb still hits.

  23. says

    Jesse – so far, it seems that those who object to the word “Queer” are in their bubbles – I’m not seeing any anti-Queer comments coming from commenters who can put a face to their concerns. yet. feel free to change the trend, however.

  24. says

    I hate agreeing with Rick here (but I keep seeing it so often on the news and in DC that I’m starting to think that there’s a morsel of truth to the idea), but one thing I’m noticing that differs between left- and right-wing ideology and dogma is that, for those of us on the left side of the spectrum, we tend to be the type who want to work together and make everyone else’s opinions known and respected.

    The problem is that this has gotten us into a ton of trouble when the troublemakers step in who are hell-bent on being nothing outside of disruptive. What we don’t have is the sort of “marching army” form of governing, whereby we can actually coalesce around a set of ideals and tell those who might be acting outside those borders to kindly “piss off” >_< (I guess what I’m saying is that we tend to come across as so nice that we end up getting walked over, whereas those one the right tend to play a bit more hardball and will do whatever is necessary to get things done…sad? Very. True? It sure as heck seems like it some days…)

  25. says

    “Queer” means abnormal. It is “reclaimed” by fringe radical types who actually do think of themselves as abnormal and want to wear the Q-word as a badge of pride. But “queer” has never been and never will be synonymous with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Pansexual or Transsexual. It is not acceptable as an “umbrella” term (if one is even necessary). LGBT status is a normal human condition, regardless of what ignorant folk of any gender/sexual orientation may think. There is enough scientific evidence to support that truth, and there’s Scriptural evidence, too, if you know where to find it.

    If I attended a school where the only campus organization for LGBT folk and their allies insisted on calling itself “queer”, I would refuse to join. Stuffed Animal don’t feature that Pied Piper/radical fascist/queer clique bullsh*t that so many Gay people are settling for nowadays. I’d turn to the nearby community for LGBT fellowship and resources and be better off.

  26. MateoM says

    We’ve had a Queer Student Union campus here at UC Santa Cruz for a couple of years now. It used to have another name, but that was abandoned for a more inclusive name. And nobody was offended. The name change didn’t offend anyone on campus and better reflected the fact that the school has a sizable lgbtq community. Queer is an umbrella term and it reinforces that all lgbtq people are fighting the same fight and should be interested in making a better and more supportive system for all queer individuals.

  27. Kyle says

    MateoM, but you make think of yourself as a “queer” individual, but most bisexual, gay, and pansexual people do not.

  28. Kyle says

    “think of it this way, there are gay people whose approach to their being gay is “just because i’m gay doesn’t mean i’m different from you” and there are gay folks whose approach is “i’m different from you and that’s not only ok, it’s a good thing”

    I think that is the essence of the divide. And, I think that most same-sex oriented people in this country prefer to “fit in” and be mainstream, while respecting those who do not.

  29. says

    take a quick leap over to Stuffed Animal’s blog and you’ll see that not only does he utterly refuse to show himself on it, but it’s wall to wall with utterly crazy “Praise Jeebus!”-isms.

    notice he already used “Scriptural Evidence” hilaaaarity.

    it’s clear – folks not only don’t know what “queer” means, they also don’t know what “normal” means.

  30. TampaZeke says

    I think a lot of this is generational. I completely understand how younger gay people find the word “queer” appealing but they didn’t grow up in a world where “queer” was the “faggot” of the day. When I was younger I don’t remember ANYONE using the word “faggot”. It was always “queer”. I ask younger people to try to better understand why older gay people have such an aversion to this word. Think about how you would feel if the next generation came along and decided that “queer” was so old fashioned and they wanted to rename our community the “faggot community”. See how problematic that would be. It’s exactly the same thing for those of us who are over 40.

    I fully support any individual who wants to identify as “queer” but I completely disagree with identifying our entire community or organizations as “queer”.

    And I know that there’s an exception to every rule. There are also older people who love the word “queer” but, in my experience, to a person, they were people who were counter revolutionary and enjoyed the “outsider” and “otherness” of being gay. Again, I FULLY support their personal identity and way of thinking and how ever they want to refer to themselves but I don’t think most gay people want to be outsiders and other.

    I hope this helps people better understand the issue that many of us have with the word.

    Again, I really like the idea of the Rainbow Community, the Rainbow Constituency and the Rainbow Student Union.

  31. MateoM says

    Actually, Kyle, I think of myself as a gay individual, but also recognize as such that I am part of a greater queer community. Like I said, people on campus see the term as an umbrella.

  32. says

    the thing is, TampaZeke, “rainbow” won’t work for many gay men, either. why? because we still get those insecure gay men who instantly assumed that rainbows are “inherently stereotypically effeminate and girly and make us look like women”. why? because like with those who listen to the bigots, they’re still associating a word (or a natural phenomenon, in the case of rainbows) with what ignorant straight people assume them to be, or mean.

    we have gay men with an irrational fear of rainbows, because they still live in fear of what ignorant straight men think about rainbows.

    same. goes. for. the. use. of. the. word. QUEER.

  33. says

    if nothing else, what we should all be taking from even discussions like this is that as progress happens, the societal shackles of one generation will be loosened and then cast off by the next.

    so, my elder brothers and sisters, thank you for opening the door.

    while it may be hard to swallow, you should actually be happy; it’s the work you folks did that has led these younger-generations to embrace a Queer identity. think on it.

  34. Rick says

    “but I don’t think most gay people want to be outsiders and other”

    They don’t. They want to be part of mainstream society. And that is what our movement was originally about.

    Unfortunately, many gay organizations have been taken over by freaks and extremists–people who are not part of the social mainstream and have no place in it and never will have–which have made them irrelevant and an embarrassment to the overwhelming majority of gay people, who want nothing to do with such people.

    They are basically social anarchists who alienate the mainstream population and make it more difficult for gay people to gain full acceptance in society….but who don’t care about the negative effect they are having because they have resigned themselves to leading lives at the social margins and are therefore not negatively effected themselves by their pathetic behavior.

  35. Zlick says

    I agree it’s generally generational. Since this is a college club, let’s just assume these young people are cool with Queer, just as some of us older folk are a little less so.

    I tend to have viewed the word “queer,” quite aside from its relation to homosexual folk, as meaning more “abnormal” than “not quite normal.” So that’s my only issue with it. But as applied to PEOPLE, it seems a lot of young queers really dig it. So let ’em use it and enjoy. No Big Deal, really.

    I’d personally call it the Homo Club, but I guess that might send the wrong signal.

  36. says

    then put a face to your Gay self, RICK. you can’t anonymously, and “Closeted-ly”, complain that those who do stand up to be counted aren’t doing it “your preferred way.”

  37. Ryan says

    Queer is a word that has been in many ways reclaimed, but to me has a different meaning than LGBT.

    Queer, to me, is a) the refusal to label, b) the label that signals you’re still trying to discover yourself, or c) the suggestion that you’re something that doesn’t even fit a label to begin with.

    All of those are well and good and I fully embrace people using the word in those ways, but it is essentially and even existentially different than Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay or Transgender — all defined words, that mean something specific and have a specific meaning in the LGBT community and society at large.

    I like LGBTQ a lot. It is a fully inclusive term within the greater LGBT community, giving everyone who’s searching for it a label, even if that label is “I don’t know.” That’s what makes the Q so great.

    But I don’t think we should lose LGBT, either, because there are a lot of people like me who don’t really feel we fit in with “Q.” I am not queer in the way in which I described that word, and wouldn’t join a student union which forced me to describe myself in that term, simply because it’s not who I am.

    But I’d join an LGBTQ Student Union in a heart beat.

  38. says

    This is pointless the q word is nothing put an insult one which I heard a lot more than gay or even the f word, any one who willingly uses it to describe themselves is as self destructive as those blacks who use the n word.

  39. JONES says

    SDSU’s alphabet community should be able to call themselves anything they want to.
    They’re not asking for it to be a national or universal acclimation.
    If they want to identify as ‘Queer’ to embrace a feeling of uniqueness or to turn a slur into empowerment, whatever, so be it. I think any name chosen would have some form of detraction.

    Voices of dissent are fine, too. Let them know if it hurts you to hear it. That’s part of the way we share info on our history and recognize a new generations adaption and attitude.

  40. says

    Little Kiwi is quite the little liar. Not only is my photo visible on my blog, my Christian (and proud of it) blog is definitely not of the “praise Jeebus” variety. I hate mindless religiosity, just like I hate mindless adherence to radical Leftist ideology and smug clique mentality. Radiqueer ideologues and smug clique-sters please take note!

  41. Randy says

    It’s an excellent choice. Good luck to them against those who still harbor internalized homophobia.

  42. parkrunner says

    I’ve never liked the terms, “Gay, Rainbow, LGBT or Husband” and I don’t understand Gay Pride parades or Gay Dollars; but I’ve always identified as Queer. I prefer queer because it’s less passive and more, “in your face” or “up your ass”. I’m also “HJLBOF”, or Hispanic, Jewish, Legally Blind and an Old Fart. I’m just not going to wear a sash with all my special medals.
    I don’t think everyone should agree with me and certainly don’t believe anyone can tell me how I should think. I will fight for the right to wear a rainbow afro to a pride parade, display a rainbow flag and marry the person you love in a rainbow tuxedo.
    But if you want uniformity, don’t proclaim diversity. Uniformity sounds kinda straight to me.

  43. GregV says

    @Dastius:
    I have no idea how the San Diego group decided on its name change, but I can tell you that in my own similar club, the problem was that we did not have a pre-determined way of making such a major change.
    When any issue like this ever came up, there was vote-splitting among a half-dozen similar ideas and then an idea that most of the group hated ended up “winning.”

    Imagine that a college is choosing a name for Black History Week. Fifteen names like “Black History Week” and “African-American History Week” and “Afro-American History Week” and “Black and African-American History Week” etc., etc. get around 6% of the votes each. And then the in-your-face name “[N-word] with Bad Attitudes on Campus” gets chosen because 8% that make up a loud fringe in the corner of the meeting voted for it.
    And then the other 92% largely regrets that they ever agreed to a re-naming vote.
    That’s basically the equivalent of how such votes went down in the group I attended, except in a gay context. Our by-laws were sloppy at the same time that people were trying to accomodate everybody who suggested anything.
    So major changes were too frequently made with little discussion and the results would often please no one but a very small number the majority were trying to appease.

  44. andrew says

    If a majority of the members of the LGBT Student Union voted to change the name to Queer Student Union, thats what the name should be. If a significant number of students don’t like the new name they can organize their own LGBT Student Union.

  45. Tom says

    Disgusting and warped to call gay people “queer”. The university should withdraw recognition of this group and offer to recognize a new gay/lesbian student group.

    There are 2 groups of people who desperately want to portray gay people as inherently subversive and forever at war with society. One is the Christian Right. The other is the “queer theorists.” These groups are different in many ways but they both have the ideological objective of marginalizing gay people. Both groups are enemies of gay equality.

  46. Canadian Observer says

    I think the problem the proponents of the “queer” designation are ignoring is that many of us are going to reject it as an attempt to force everyone under THEIR chosen umbrella.

    If anyone wants to self-identify as queer they are more than welcome to do so, but by exactly the same token, those of us who strongly identify as gay (or any other ingredient in the alphabet soup) are quite free to reject this moniker du jour.

    If someone is uncomfortable with the more specific labels, don’t use them in reference to yourself. Personally, I am going to object to being referred to by the nebulous “queer” designation, however convenient it might be to someone else – I want specificity. Our communities are not monolithic and if the price of recognizing this is “being wordy” when talking about the communities, so be it. Not everything fits into 140 character tweets. They are supposed to be at a university, one would think they would be learning to deal with complexity rather than indulging in reductionism.

    Had the group in question INCLUDED queer as part of their title, I doubt anyone would have any objections at all – but using it to the EXCLUSION of the other, often hard-won, designations smacks of arrogance.

  47. cdubois says

    “…Anne Frank complaining about attics.” Funny! I genuinely laughed out loud.

  48. Chase says

    TampaZeke:

    No, it isn’t generational, although there was an effort to portray it like that in a recent Times article.

    “Queer” became fashionable 20+ years ago. It isn’t a creation of today’s youth. It is a creation of people who are today in their 50s and 60s.

    I am 22 and I would never call myself queer and I don’t know anyone who would. The only young gay people who do this are people like this clown heads up the student union. He thinks he is being a good activist by adopting the weirdest names and labels that the adults told him to. If he thought he could score points by calling gay people fags, he would. People like this aren’t representative of my generation.

  49. ratbastard says

    Will somebody in Toronto, some honorable gay or bi man or woman, or str8 ally, PLEASE track down this hellacious troll Little Kiwi, and give him a richly deserved b*tch slap?

  50. says

    Chase – a great many people of “your generation” would disagree. You’ll know them by their practice of putting a visible face and name to themselves as self-identifying Queers.

  51. Homo Genius says

    what is all this “inclusive” nonsense. We are GAY. why cant we just freaking say GAY.

    I dont understand why trans are lumped in with us. Its not the same thing and we dont have the same issues.

  52. says

    because we’re both discriminated against by a bigoted and ignorant society and we’re stronger when we stand together.

    btw, if you’re one of those gay men who slanders and denigrates transpeople then you deserve every ounce of anti-gay hatred and prejudice that comes your way in life.

  53. gomez says

    “queer” sucks and alienates. “rainbow constituency” is laughable. i’m even reluctant and kinda cringe inside to use “gay”, it’s a dumb frivolous word. homosexual men got gypped on terminology. i prefer to say “i prefer men” or “my sexual preference is men”. i don’t know why everyone gets hung up on “sexual preference”

    “lesbian” is a cool word. they got their own island and historical connection.

  54. MateoM says

    Gomez, queer doesn’t alienate anyone, except those who feel no allegiance to everyone in the LGBT community. We’re all fighting the same damn fight.

    And Chase: I’m 23, and I happen to know a lot of people at my school who have no qualms with the term queer instead of LGBT. Our heads are nowhere near our asses. People like you aren’t representative of my generation. You sound extremely bitter and extremely close-minded. I’m glad I’m here and next to or around you. You must be a real, self-centered drag.

  55. QJ201 says

    Sheesh, we had this debate 20 years ago when I was in college and “queer studies” programs were starting up. We also had the issue of every few years, someone with an axe to grind would force a name change…GLBFA (friends/allies) to LGBTQAA to finally just the Pride Alliance.

    I wax and wane on the word queer. I hate “cool” NYU “hipsters” using the word queer when most are not exactly LGBT literate or friendly. As in would NEVER step foot in gay bar.

    But…historically, if you read the Naked Civil Servant, back in the dark days of the 20s-30s…Queer meant masculine (or straight acting for lack of a better phrase) men while “Fairy” was used for obviously gay men.

    When I was in grammar school, instead of “fag” the taunt was “Queer bait.” It stung and hurt until I realized it meant that gay men would want me…and then my 13 year old self was like, well OKAY!

  56. Chase says

    Matteom:

    Don’t know who you are hanging with but calling urself queer is definitely not a popular thing if you are under 25. Great way to end a date!

    Also, don’t understand why you think that lesbian or bisexuals should be called queer either. None of us is queer and none of us should be called queer.

    Queer means that you are an outsider and it is wrong to tell young gay people that they are outsiders because they are gay. Of course any individual gay can be an outsider or a rebel or whatever, but that is an individual thing, not the result of being gay.

  57. JONES says

    Anyone reading this that is actually connected with SDSU Queer Student Union?

    Would like to know your reasoning/opinion on the name change &/or reaction to the comments.

  58. MateoM says

    Chase, as I already said, Queer is not how I identify. I identify as a gay man. I’m a gay member of the Queer community. At my school we use it an alternative to the LGBTetc acronym. And I haven’t heard a single person complain. So of all the LGBT you that I know personally at this school, the use of Queer as a identifying label is common. Queer can mean outsider if you use it as a negative, but Queer as a positive means “different.” Different isn’t a bad thing. Not all people are the same, nor have the same gender identity or sexual orientation. But we unify ourselves by the “Queer” moniker. That’s just how it is here. Maybe your blanket statements are applicable to your specific community. But not for mine. You don’t have to hate just because you have a different perspective. Grow up.

  59. MateoM says

    My third sentence was super wonky:

    “So amongst all the LGBT that I know personally at my school, the use of Queer as an identifying label is common.”

  60. jlavoy says

    Isn’t the social theory dealing with sexualities called “Queer Theory”? This seems to be a praxis/practical use of that term.

  61. anon says

    Yes. I am a student at SDSU and I attended the meeting where the name change was discussed and voted on.

    Personally, I opposed the name change, even though I completely understand why it was proposed. The rationale, as best as I can summarize, was that we wanted to choose a simple term that was broadly inclusive of all kinds of orientations and identities, rather than having to constantly refer to an alphabet soup.

    However, I felt that the proposal was poorly conceived for the reasons that have been discussed here. I got the impression that students didn’t really think this through–they didn’t solicit enough feedback from GLBT faculty, for example; or at the very least, I was not aware of such advisement. The entire process seemed very casual.

    No, I did not speak out in opposition to the name change, in large part because (1) I had the feeling it was a foregone conclusion, (2) I am not that invested in the organization, and (3) I don’t really felt like it was my place to bring up such concerns, being relatively new to the group. In retrospect, I might have said something.

    Anyway, I think that the real controversy (if there is any to be had in the first place) is not the usage of “queer” and the connotations it carries, but rather, the sort of haphazardness with which organizational matters are conducted. But it must be remembered that these are STUDENTS we are talking about–these are youths around 18-24 years old, who have classes to worry about. I am certain no one in the group even imagined there would be such backlash, let alone make news on Towleroad.

    Also, today is the last day of finals, so the Spring semester is over and the campus is virtually dead. Everyone’s going on vacation. I would not be surprised to find that no one really cares so much about this naming controversy that we’d rehash it at this point.

  62. Carson says

    Proud of SDSU. I’m from the east coast, and this term has been used by campus groups and community groups for well over a decade. I’m 45 and this word has more positive meaning for me than LGBTQQIA or anything else. In my humble opinion, it is a more inclusive word…..because ANYONE can be “queer”. I’ve worked with so many young people in the community who say that nothing fits with their multiple identities like “queer”. I grew up in the midwest and learned the same thing…that “queer” was a bad word. Then I started working with students who identified with the word, and it grew on me….so much so that it’s what is a more comfortable label. I’m here, and I’m “QUEER”….get used to it! If you don’t like using the word, don’t use it…..but don’t impose your beliefs on this group of students, who obviously have a democratic process to decide these things, and voted to change their name.

  63. says

    Carson is right. Most kids now use the term queer in its umbrella meaning or to mean a challenge to the whole system of binary identifications.

    And remember: they are the audience for the organization, not us, so it really doesn’t matter what 50-70 year olds think. We’re not joining.

    The group I advise at Middlebury has been the “Middlebury Open Queer Alliance” since 1998 and is now considering a new name (it would be the 5th). So we appear to be 15 years ahead of SDSU, which is not in the most progressive part of the country, after all.

  64. says

    I was president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, as it was known then, at the University of Connecticut. My partner was vice president. But, I can assure you that if anyone called it the “Queer Alliance,” then or now, I would have nothing to do with it.

  65. says

    “i prefer men” = “i’m still terrified of what straight people will think if i say gay”

    thanks for showing what being non-empowered looks like.

  66. says

    I’m 23, it’s definitely not a younger person thing. I will never like the word Queer. I’m not self-loathing or afraid to put my face to my words. Click my name and it links directly to my personal facebook. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your view of things doesn’t mean they are some self-loathing homosexual with identity issues. I know who I am and it’s because of that that I don’t like or ever will like being referred to as queer.

  67. says

    @Derrick, I self-identify as black and queer and I think I know who the hell I am as well. Ultimately, no one cares. I am black…or African-American…or mixed (if you believe my genetic test)…I am gay…genderqueer…queer…etc. Why do people argue over something that will always yield to individual expression? Our lives are experiments in experience and here we are debating what names will be used to describe it when each and every one of them fails to fully describe even one human being completely.

    This is exceedingly silly and small.

  68. Tom Cardellino says

    As my being frequently gay-bashed in my youth, I think that I speak with empirical authority that the proper term should be “fu#king queer” because those are the two inextricably joined epithets that rang in my assaulted ears while I fought off Neanderthal “queer” bashers. Just as unerringly jarring as it has been to hear young African-Americans toss about the “N” word as if it had no deadly history, or considering that I’ve never heard even one of my Jewish friends “casually” toss around the pejoratives that Nazis use as a second language, why are we still subjected to the utter unproven fictional fantasy theory that we gay folks can “reclaim” and thereby “neutralize” the deadly history of the use of the word queer? If you, as an individual LGBT person think you have so little in common with the majority of your fellow citizens, then go at it; call yourself queer to preserve your sense of being marginal. Just don’t demand that all LGBT folks think themselves as marginal as you and demand that they must conform to your “outlier” self-imposed pigeonholed status.

  69. David Hearne says

    “Manacop and Negron said “queer” is the easiest way to encompass all of the gender and sexual identities on campus without getting too wordy…”

    This is what happens when you don’t have multigenerational input. These guys are kidding themselves.

    When I was in college, “gay” was all inclusive. We used it to mean gay men and gay women, gay drag queens, transexuals. Then the “wimin” decided they had to have separate billing. It because “gay and lesbian” which made most people cringe at the redundancy. Fierce and angry wimin defended this new practice, mostly by whining: “Women don’t need to be made invisible by men. IS it too much for me to want my own word?”

    So go ahead you third world refugees. Change the name to Queer, and see how long it takes for some subgroup to demand separate billing. My guess is that it will be the bisexuals since they always like to maintain that little bit of heterosexual association.

  70. says

    The good news, Hearne, is that since guys like your with your point of view are all pathetic closet-cases with no balls who can’t stand up to be counted, we self-identifying Queers won’t have to ever actually deal with your insecure nonsense in person. Keep typing anonymously online. Only proves how worthless you know you actually are.

  71. David Hearne says

    Oh Kiwi, How sad you are. You honestly think of yourself as being the same age as these children in San Diego don’t you? Let’s call you Blanche.

  72. Canadian Observer says

    Little Kiwi: you would do your cause more good if you were to rein in your judgement calls and name calling. While not the only one throwing accusations around and indulging in some pretty hateful stereotyping, you have, on this topic, been the one most frequently indulging in it.

  73. says

    *elegant curtsy*

    Stop being mad that some people find strength and empowerment in embracing their “differences” while others can only feel safe with some “i’m no different than you” nonsense.

    “we” are different. and being different doesn’t mean we should be punished for it. that’s the thing. one should not need to blend into the crowd in order to be treated with grace, equality and fairness.

    as long as closeted-anonymous dunces spew their nonsense from a place of invisibility, Visible folks will call it out.