The Oscars sheds light on “Queer”…from a description of “disparagement” to a cause for “pride”


The victory of actress, Ariana Duboes, the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, for the movie “West Side Story” in its new version, directed by, Steven Spielberg, a milestone in the history of the Academy Award, especially since it is recorded for the first time by a woman “Queer”. Colored skin.

Accepting the award, DuBose said: “I now stand before you as a queer woman of colour, of Afro-Latino origin, but I have found my place and my strength through art and that is what we are here to celebrate.”

The victory of the American actress re-introduced the term “Queer” for circulation, especially in terms of meaning and connotation and the difference between it between the rest of the gender classifications adopted by the gay and transgender community, in addition to the origin of the term and the transformations that occurred in the direction of its use.

From humiliation to empowerment

This term has been in use since the 19th century with the aim of degrading and degrading homosexuals. The first recorded use of the term “queer” in its pejorative sense was by Scottish politician John Douglas in 1894, and it became popular in the 20th century to describe men who are homosexual and feminine in appearance.

Mosaic’s Media Communications and Advocacy Officer, Nour El-Dafkash, believes that the term “queer” was used in the same sense as the word “shady” in Arabic, to describe what differs from what society sees as “normal” and creates through it the normative system, which looks at men and women and the concept of it. The relationship between them and its reproductive goals, and therefore everything that differs from these standards is described as anomaly, whether in terms of clothing, hair, appearance, or behavior.


The most prominent entity that used the term “Queer” in its positive sense was the “Queer Nation” organization.

In the late eighties and early nineties of the last century, several attempts began to recover the term “Queer” from its pejorative uses, as organizations supporting and advocating for this cause used the word without its pejorative position and instead adopted it for support, solidarity and self-expression, according to what the clinical psychologist confirms. Cosette Maalouf, who is in charge of the advocacy department in the Proud Lebanon Association, told Al-Hurra website, “As happened previously in Lebanon with the term deputy for femininity in the Lebanese Parliament, where it raised a controversy over the word “deputy”, which means calamity in the language. It was decided to recover the word from the language and give it a different meaning that carries more positivity and empowerment.”

The most prominent entity to use the term “queer” in its positive sense was the organization “Queer Nation” in 1990, when it distributed a leaflet, during the Pride March in New York, entitled “Queer People, Read This!” The publication included a very definition From the use of the term where the organization said, “Well, the word “gay” is really good and status. But when we – lesbians and gays – wake up in the morning, we feel angry and disgusted, not fun. So we chose to call ourselves queer. So we used the word queer. “It reminds us of how the world sees us.”

A university umbrella with political dimensions

The word “queer” is used as a comprehensive umbrella instead of precisely defining the sexual difference, according to what Maalouf explains, and it is synonymous with the term lgbtq+, and thus is the person who belongs to any one of these definitions, and the + that was added to the term lgbtq refers to all differences, while The letter q stands for queer.

The official in the association concerned with advocating the rights of these social groups adds that “queer” does not see his attraction to the opposite party based on gender, but rather on the person, and this is the very narrow meaning of the term.

The “queer” may see himself within or outside the gender binary, or fluctuate between them, so his description of himself as “queer” is an expression of his being flexible and changing gender identity, or that he goes through from time to time stages of research, questioning, or confusion about his gender identity.

Queer views gender identity as being a broad spectrum, diverse in orientation, and constantly moving, not bipolar, nor stereotypical, as imposed by societies that believe in polarity. Queer does not recognize a single essence, nor a stereotypical social role or gender identity.

Al-Dafkash says in his analogy, “It is as if they say in Arabic, ‘Yes, I am gay’ in defining themselves. Hence the political importance of the term ‘Queer’, although it is not a political term.”

He adds, “Today, if people begin to express themselves with the word ‘gay’, this will have the same power as the expression ‘queer’ in Western culture, and derives its strength from the use of insult in the past to define oneself today, and the term queer includes everyone who goes outside the normative range of society, and this term is transient. sexual orientation in gender expression.

For his part, the Executive Director of the Proud Lebanon Association, Berto Makso, believes that the term queer “represents a political position in itself, because usually in Western society the LGBT is divided into letters and this has reinforced discrimination within society, especially within the LGBT community, while we reject Classifying us as an independent community because we are part of the existing large community, and we are not a closed and separate community.”

Makso added, in his interview with Al-Hurra website, that the recovery of the term “Queer”, which was an insult, came as a reaction to discrimination and segregation, and a political stance that rejected, “It is as if we in the Arab community decided to use the word “homosexual” in the definition, a term that we have not yet been able to retrieve. And take it out of its ugly meaning.”

Between “freedom” and “outsiders”

While the term “Memeyeen” is used in Arabic to denote homosexuals and bisexuals, and the eye for trans people, according to what Maalouf confirms, the term faces a linguistic definition crisis in the Arabic language, where many synonymous terms are used without carrying its exact meaning. .

Among the terms that were used as an Arabization of the word “Queer” were “Khawarij,” which carries the same meaning in Arab and Islamic culture, as it is used as a description of opponents of the ruler, and describing them as Kharijites becomes a justification for fighting them, and thus expresses the idea of ​​society rejecting and fighting the stereotypical groups that it considers rebellious. determines it.

The use of the term “sexually free” or “sexually free” was also included. While the Arabic language is considered one of the languages ​​that hinders those who know themselves from outside gender dualism, such as the Arabic language, which does not include neutral words about the duality of masculine and feminine.

In this context, al-Dafkash points out that the terms used to denote the “LGBT community” have undergone many changes and fluctuations in most of the world’s languages, and in the Arabic language in particular, there were problems with these terms, especially for example, the abbreviation “LGBT” which previously indicated Homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people, to clarify later that the term “transformation” is not appropriate because these people do not convert, but rather express, and he used the term “transgender” instead, “therefore, the process of correcting the terms used is something that happens constantly and is being studied The effect of the term and interaction with it, and the goal is that no one be harmed by the designations.


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