Of late, I have been questioned about my use of the word queer, most notably in a paper titled 'Bollywood Screen Queens: Indian Popular Cinema's Construction of Queer Diasporas.' While I could ramble on about the appropriation of derogatory language for the sake of empowerment, I choose instead to offer what I consider to be a brilliant working defintion of queer, at least, in regard to my usage of the word.
In a recent interview, my friend, Liz Tymus, defined queer as follows:
“Queer is a socio-political/personal identification. It’s a commitment to nonconformity to heteronormative society. In short, to identify as queer is a rejection of social binaries, ‘straight-gay,’ ‘male-female,’ ‘man-woman,’ ‘prude-promiscuous,’—queer identity explodes the assumption of ‘one or other,’ but rather sees folks as numerous and infinite.”
(Madison Post, February 21, 2007)
Also, UC Berkeley's Gender Equity Resource Center offers a set of basic defintions to words often associated with the queer community.
Please make note, I do not claim that these definitions are fixed or universal. They do, however, provide an accessible point of departure for ongoing conversation(s) about the limitations of linguistic identification.