We are aware that the term ‘queer’ has historically been used as a slur. However, it has been reclaimed by the LGBTQIA+ community and is widely understood to now be one of the most inclusive ways that the community self-describe and reject specific labels and address intersectionality.
We have co-programmed the festival with people from the LGBTQIA+ community of all ages and have also run a series of drop ins for artists at Storyhouse and during Pride festival to consult with the wider community about the programme and festival name.
The reason we wanted to use Queer specifically is because it is gender neutral and can cover a wide variety of sexual orientations and gender identities that are not exclusively heterosexual or cisgender. Queer isn’t a narrow definition, so it allows space for fluidity of identity and many people find it useful as a way of describing themselves without being too specific about their exact identity either for reasons of comfort and safety or just because they are still exploring and learning about themselves.
Depending on when you grew up/came out, many terms under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella have been used as an insult. We’re not unusual in our use of the word queer; both Shout Festival in Birmingham and Homotopia in Liverpool describe themselves as celebrating and platforming queer art and artists.
Stonewall defines Queer as: Queer is a term used by those wanting to reject specific labels of romantic orientation, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It can also be a way of rejecting the perceived norms of the LGBTQIA+ community (racism, sizeism, ableism etc). Although some LGBTQIA+ people view the word as a slur, it was reclaimed in the late 80s by the queer community who have embraced it.
The term has been widely reclaimed. It is now understood to include more individuals and groups than it excludes.