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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 Queer happenings after nightfall Historical Usage of the Word In the 1750s, queer could mean "feeling out of sorts, unwell, faint, giddy." 2000 There was no significant documentation of the word during the 1600s. 1750 I'm feeling a bit queer today... Queer Theory Takes Hold! 1796 In Dicken's Barnaby Rudge, Mr Tappertitdescribes a man's desire to devotethe last moments of his life to carving a a likeness of his [male] friend as a "queer fancy." This may be the firstsuggestion of non-heterosexuality. 1740 Wash your mouth! The Dictionary of Vulgar Tongues lists 23 nasty uses of the word "queer". 1900 Barnaby Rudge 1818 Used to mean "to spoil, ruin goof up, put out of sorts." 1826 1840 1894 1914 1920 1932 1950 1970 1990 2003 Walter Scott: "His appearance bordered... upon what is vulgarly called the queer." Used in the Los Angeles Timesto refer to gay men in clubs.Meaning: "Strange, peculiar." W. H. Auden is the first to use"queer" as a noun. He wrote: "Anunderground cottage frequented by the queer." The meaning hereis homosexual. In the 1920s, "queer" was simplya derogatory term for "gay"or even "bad." In the 1950s, "queer" wasinterchangeable with anyhomophobic slur. During the 1970s, the generalidea was that "queer" was aninsult for homosexuals and only heterosexuals used it. The emergence of Queer Theory! A challenge to gender and sexuality norms, Queer Theory challenged the idea of heterosexuality as "normal." Itrejected the fixed terms of male and female. Aw, you queered it... Queer becomes a noun! That doesn't sound too good... He didn't know his son was gay! What are you, some kinda queer? Homophobia Off Limits 1500 Origins Unknown First recorded derogatory use for a gay man. Shallot Douglas blamed "Snob Queerslike Roseberry" for his son'sdeath in a letter. Queer is all-inclusive The OED defines queerdom as"a polymorphously perverse, all-inclusive left-of-center community." 1994 From 1781 to 1790,Queer was mainly used to mean "to puzzle, swindle,cheat, or ridicule." Don't trust him, he's a queer player. 1781 Today Retaking Queer Since the LGBTQIA movement has retaken "queer" as aword, it no longer holds the derogatory meanings of thepast. However, some people still refrain from using thisword due to its past definitions. Modern usage of the word "queer" centers on the rejection of heteronormativity. Those who identify as queer reject the idea of normalcy surrounding archetypal gender roles and unchanging identities.In turn, this is also the dismantlement of any sexualityas more natural than others. In short, those who identify as queer see identity as a personal construct that varies with every individual, not as an act of strict social conformity. First documented use: A flying over King James IV by William Dunbar and Walter Kennedie. A flyting is a rap battle! 1508 Primary meaning: "bad" or "fake." Throughout the 1740s, queer's primary meaning was "counterfeit." I don't want your queer money! I challenge thee! 1800 "Queer" 1600 Nothing to see here! The exact origins of the word "queer" are unknown, but it may have evolved either from German or Proto-Indo-European root words. Regardless, it was first heard as we know it in Scotland. The Times Literary Supplementwrites, " The overridingpriority for queer theory is to get rid of the idea that some kinds of people, and some forms of sex, are more natural than others." 1700 Created by Megan Cota for WRTG3020, Fall 2014
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