What is ‘queer’ or ‘to queer’ to Qtopia?

it is...

(A verb;)
To queer is not to settle for or settle within a status quo, but to actively reflect on our own methods, context, and cultural political developments. To queer is to create an educational conversation; It is learning through doing. It is learning through listening.

(A political perspective;)
To question power structures and subvert normativities, especially in regard to sexuality, gender, race, class and abilities.

(Inclusive and intersectionally feminist;)
There are many definitions of ‘queer’, stemming from queer theory and queer activism. We like this definition a lot:

“Queer is fluid; rejects categories and heteronormative (and patriarchal) standards; unapologetically promotes non-normative sexualities; shows the flaws, contradictions and incongruencies in the heterosexual (and gay) fairytale. Queer is radical and challenging and questions norms. Queer is not gay, and gay is not queer: is a right- wing married homosexual queer? However, recently queer has come to be used as an umbrella term for LGBT sexualities, losing some of its political impact in favor of a politically correct and inclusive meaning.” (1)

Embodied knowledge

“Embodied knowledge is a type of knowledge where the body knows how to act.

A simple and general example is riding a bicycle. Most of us know how to ride a bicycle, and we are able to do it without any deliberation. (...) The notion of embodied knowledge is derived from the phenomenology of the French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961).” (2)

The concept of embodied knowledge got adopted by queer and feminist theory.

Embodied knowledge

“Embodied knowledge is a type of knowledge where the body knows how to act.

A simple and general example is riding a bicycle. Most of us know how to ride a bicycle, and we are able to do it without any deliberation. (...) The notion of embodied knowledge is derived from the phenomenology of the French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961).” (2)

The concept of embodied knowledge got adopted by queer and feminist theory.

Embodiment

Embodiment of gendered and sexualized practices is the consequence of social expectations regarding the body. Gender-based ideals of beauty, of femininity and masculinity, of butch and femme, of camp and so on, are all supported by embodiment and result in embodiment. The embodiment of gender tricks us into accepting the innate character of gender divisions and diversity, as the subject of the gender seems to have physical differences, which can actually be seen merely as the consequence of constantly striving for social ideals. (1)

Gender vs sex

Sex is the sum of the biological attributes that determine whether an individual is male or female. Sex can be determined by chromosomes, hormonal levels, genitals, gonads and so on. Gender is the social consequence of sex, i.e., whether one is considered to be a man or a woman in society. It has been widely argued that gender is a social construct and a performance, dependent both on arbitrary customs and distinctions perpetuated on a daily basis (different gendered names, clothing, behaviors, etc.). However, there is also a more controversial argument for sex being a social construct as well. In fact it is possible to consider a one-sex model (Laquer) or a whole spectrum of sexes, as opposed to the contemporary Western binary divide. (1)

Exotification

Exotification is the fetishization of the exotic, a pick- and-mix-(and-colonise) of the fairytale-like other, who is dehumanized, silenced and oppressed by such process. (...) And still, still, we are carrying its heritage. When the exotic, oriental, far away other is imagined, shaped and stereotyped through a Western (colonial) gaze, then the freedom for self-definition of the non-Western subject is lost. (1)

Transgender

versus Transsexual
versus Transvestite

As the term suggests, a person who identifies as transgender emphasizes the change of gender, while a person who identifies as transsexual emphasizes the change of sex. Transgender people usually describe their condition/ identity as a state in which their gender identity does not match their socially assigned gender. Transsexual people choose for interventions to change their sex to the one they identify with (not necessarily or only with surgery). On the other hand, the term transvestite refers to a person who (consistently) dresses in clothes that are typical of the opposite gender. (1)

Homonationalism

Jasbir Puar ́s term which reflects the imperialist Western attitude which assumes that all LGBTQ people comprise a sort of homogeneous population with the same (Western) needs and (Western) struggles. It make sexual orientation appear as a sufficient basis for expressing political views. This goes hand in hand with Western powers (US) proclaiming themselves to be defenders of gay rights against oppressive non-Western powers. This, of course, ignoring the fact that often the oppression of LGBTQ people in non-Western countries is not (only) due to a sexually repressive State, but also involves colonial violence, capitalist pressure, globalized erasure of local identities. Moreover, homonationalism is linked to homonormativity, which implies an almost unilateral Anglo- European way of interpreting queer individuals, precisely because of their sexualities, and not much else. (1)

Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a key concept when discussing power, privilege and oppression. For example, the theorist bell hooks wrote about the “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” in her feminist discourses, to emphasize how power and oppression are always multidimensional and encompass different social divides. No one is ever solely a female, a person of color, a working class individual, or a lesbian. The oppression and discrimination that people arefaced with do not operate in separate compartments, as though it is simply an arithmetical sum: sexism + racism + classism + homophobia. On the contrary, oppression is complex and has many layers, and the different factors cannot be considered individually. Similarly, a person can be privileged and oppressed at the same time: what about a white middle class gay disabled man or a Hispanic queer able-bodied young girl. (1)



Sources:

(1) Venir, A., Lundin, O. & Van Abbemuseum. (2015). Queer Glossary.

You can download the Queer Glossary online via www.studioinclusief.nl

A word by the authors:
“This queer glossary does not aim to provide the ultimate and fixed definitions.
In addressing queer issues from a personal and therefore outspokenly non-neutral perspective, it nevertheless leaves room for curiosity, interpretation, disagreement, and polymorphic images.

This glossary aims to be a tool to participate in conversations on queer issues, by providing a first encounter with the relevant terminology.”

(2) Tanaka, S. (2011). The notion of embodied knowledge. in P. Stenner, et al. (Ed.) Theoretical Psychology: Global Transformations and Challenges.