Difference between queer and gay
Queer vs gay:
Every living being on this planet is entitled to the right of choosing one’s own sexuality. No one has the right to degrade or reject a certain individual based on his or her sexuality or the fact that he or she chooses not to comply with the accepted norms forced upon them by the society. The words ‘queer’ and ‘gay’ can contain a multitude of meanings as they are quite different with regards to their original meaning as well as the meanings that have been thrust upon them by the popular culture. However, the words ‘queer’ and ‘gay’ today stands for people who do not fit in to the stereotyped model of human beings and those who are most of the time shunned and regarded as strange.
What is queer?
The term ‘queer’ first came to use in the 16th century, as derived from the German word “quer” which means across, transverse, or at right angle. This word then bore the meanings unusual, strange, different, unconventional, freakish or weird, referring to something that is considered as out of the ordinary. However, today, according to popular culture, the term ‘queer’ is used in order to refer to people who do not fit in to the specified mould that has been fashioned by the society as being heterosexual or belonging to a specified gender. This term is thus used in order to refer to bisexual, transgender or metrosexual people. Queer is a term which also connotes the meanings suspicious, a deranged or even someone exhibiting behavior that is seen as socially unacceptable.
What is gay?
The term ‘gay’ came in to being in the 12th century and is believed to be derived from the French word ‘gai’. This word was initially used to imply the state of happiness, carefree, light, joyous or cheerful whereas today, the term ‘gay’ is utilized to refer to those who are attracted towards people of their own sex.
What is the difference between gay and queer?
The terms queer and gay initially had very different meanings whereas they have metamorphosed in to terms which brand someone according to their sexuality today. However, while in general terms, ‘queer’ is defined as being unusual or strange, the word ‘gay’ was once used to indicate joyousness or cheerfulness.
Starting with the etymology of the two words, the word ‘gay’ is considered as the oldest of the two words which came in to being in the year 1178 whereas the term ‘queer’ was introduced later on in the year 1508. ‘Gay’ has its roots in old French whereas ‘queer’ has its roots firmly set in the German language. However, according to popular culture, which accepts heterosexuality as the only accepted form of sexuality that should be allowed to be practiced, the term ‘queer’ is used as a derogatory term to refer to those who do not fit in to the stereotypical sexual identities that the society has fashioned, thus condemning their behavior as socially unacceptable. If used by a heterosexual individual it is considered as specially insulting. However, the term ‘gay’ is a more accepted way of referring to homosexuals in the society today.
The term ‘queer’ can be used to refer to transgender, metrosexual, homosexual and even bisexual individuals whereas the term ‘gay’ is used to refer to people who are attracted towards other people of their own sex. Both these terms were first used in the 1920’s in order to refer to homosexual individuals. And yet, even though ‘queer’ is generally considered as derogatory, the homosexual, transgender, metrosexual and bisexual communities are gradually getting desensitized to the word as they are seen to be even using it among themselves in terms of ‘queer politics’ or ‘queer cinema’, thus making it their own word.
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