Eli5: What are the basic characteristics of a queer model? Do all queers want to be identified as they/them ?


I read a lot about genders and yet, I haven’t even been able to scratch the surface of what it’s like to be queer. It’s just that I have the impression that it is presented vaguely, in loose terms.

I apologize in advance for my ignorance… i would appreciate some legit informative links maybe or pop culture examples or even surveys taken by queers for research purposes to help me understand it better.

In: 0

Queer is an umbrella term for the LGBT community. They might be gay, they might be bi, they might be trans, they might be non-binary. Non-binary people are the ones that don’t identify as neither male or female, and they are the ones that use they/them pronouns (though some are okay with you using a gendered one).

To define what queer is kind of defeats the purpose of the word. It is a net, similar to they/them. With how vague it is, you find it’s representation. I’d look into LGBTQ literature, see if any diaries or journals are available.

Queer is a generic label, more like an alternative for LGBT+ for when using an acronym can feel a little out of place. Someone could identify as queer while being pretty much any form of gender or sexual minority. Also, bear in mind that not all LGBTQ+ people like being called queer. It may be reclaimed, but it is still a slur. Older people especially tend not to like it, so probably best not to refer to someone using it until they’ve already used it themselves.

The reason that statements about queer people are identified vaguely is because every queer person has a slightly different experience. Any black-and-white statement you make has the potential to alienate someone. Since a lot of queer people experience alienation, they often go out of their way to ensure it doesn’t happen within their community. Which has its upsides and downsides.

It’s also difficult to identify “basic characteristics” because widespread research into the topic has only begun in earnest relatively recently. We’re all still figuring out new things, so studies are a bit all over the place.

To answer specific questions you had:

Not all queer people use the pronouns they/them. The word queer is used in two different ways. It can be used as an umbrella term to refer to everyone within the LGBTQA+ community, and it can be used as a label for a specific person. People who identify as queer sometimes prefer the term because they like the fact that it has less expectations or restrictions attached to it.

Since a lot of people I meet often have trouble with this, I’ll go over what I’ve found to be the generally accepted protoccol for using pronouns. Sorry if you already know this. I’m just trying to post it as many places as I can, because a lot of people wonder about it.

The way I explain it is:

1. When you first meet someone, use a gender neutral pronoun. They/them is easiest for most. If you wanna get fancy with neopronouns, go for it, but they’re not as widely known so you might have to do some explaining.

2. At some point, the other person will tell you their preferred pronouns. You can also ask, if you’re struggling.

3. Once the person tells you their pronouns, use the pronouns they gave you when talking to or about them.

4. If you forget their pronouns and panic, you can go back to using use gender neutral for the one thing you’re trying to say, and then ask the person again what they are.

5. If you use the wrong pronoun, briefly apologize, then move on.

As for sources, I think the best way to learn about this is to spend time with queer people. There’s plenty of subs dedicated to LGBTQA+ topics here on reddit. Feel free to lurk. It’s not empirical research, by any means. But if you’re really looking to understand The Queer Experience ™, that’s your best bet.

Firstly queer is a generic term which includes a lot of different subgroups of sexuality and genders. The pronoun debate only applies to a minority of queer people. Mostly the transgender. The problem is what pronouns you use for people where the classical male and female pronouns is not right. While most transgender people prefer you call them by the pronouce that represent the gender they identify as this might be wrong for some reasons and calling them by the pronouns representing their sex in their passport or their sexual organs are wrong for other reasons. There are also people who do not identify as either sexes or identify as both. And even non-queer might take offense if you use a gender pronoun in a context where gender should not be a factor.

The debate about pronouns have been going on for some time with several suggestions for new ones. But most people have now started to like just using plural. People just do not notice this. Especially among the non-queer this have become a de-facto standard for the pronoun to use when you do not know the gender or where it does not matter. However some transgender might even take offense if you try to use this as it suggest you do not recognize them as the gender they identify as. And some even prefer some of the other suggested new pronouns.