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Why Does David Sedaris Fear the Word Queer?

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“You’re f**king queer!”For those of us of a certain age, a statement like that, delivered with venom, can elicit terror.For those of this generation, a statement like that, delivered euphorically, can elicit joy.Case in point, while talking with participants at the Helsinki Pride March this summer, my body jolted when I heard a young woman scream, “You’re f**king queer!” When I turned around to see what prompted that, I saw two young teenagers hugging and jumping up and down.

I surmised that she saw an acquaintance, who she didn’t know was queer, and feigned shocked excitement.And notice how I used the word queer to describe her friend.

I could have said lesbian, but would that have been a presumption? Perhaps the young woman was bi? Or nonbinary?Whether to use the word queer positively has been hashed out many times before, so this argument is nothing new; however, last weekend, gay (queer?) humorist and author David Sedaris did a commentary for CBS Sunday Morning during which he attempted to find humor in the growing use of the word queer.

He lamented that he started as a homosexual, then became gay, then LGBT, and now queer. He said it was like coming out all over again.He doesn’t want to be rebranded as queer, and that’s his prerogative.

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