Image Description: What’s In a Word: Queer

Full description of the featured image for the post “What’s in a Word: Queer?”:

Title: What’s in a Word?

In bold, underneath: “QUEER”

Queer (adjective, noun, verb): An identity or approach that is anti-heteronormative and anti-assimilationist (meaning it upends the mainstream norms that being straight is the default and gender/sexuality are binary, hardwired, and fixed, and it’s rooted in transforming the status quo in service of collective liberation). In widespread use as a sexual/gender identity, an umbrella term, a verb, and a political and/or academic field or orientation. Occasionally used as a slur.  

How should I use it? Recognize queer as a valid identity. Use it in reference to those who describe themselves as queer, people/things aligned with the politics of queerness, and groups/communities/movements that resist gender/sexual norms in diverse and mutually supportive ways.

How should I not use it? Don’t use queer as a synonym for gay, don’t use it to refer to non-queer LGBT people (those who actively don’t identify with it or don’t believe in what queer represents), and don’t use it pejoratively.

At the bottom of the graphic, the paper the words appear on emerges from a typewriter. Above the typewriter ribbon is the black text www. copyeditor. com with the red word “radical” inserted so that, edited, it reads www. radicalcopyeditor. com.

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Full description for the previous featured image for this post, now available on the page “Queer“:

Title: What’s in a Word?

In bold, underneath: “QUEER”

Underneath, there are two columns of speech bubbles. The left column is labeled “myths” and the right column is labeled “facts.”

Myth: Queer is a violent word; it is unavoidably offensive.

Fact: Words have multiple meanings; queer is sometimes still used as a slur but its primary meaning today is as a positive sexual/gender/political identity and perspective.

Myth: Queer is a hip way to say gay.

Fact: Queer and gay have very different meanings, despite some overlap.

Myth: Calling yourself queer is an act of self-hatred.

Fact: Calling yourself queer is an act of proud defiance.

Myth: Straight people can’t use the word queer.

Fact: It’s what you use it for that matters most, not who you are.

Below the speech bubbles, a line of text says: There are a lot of myths out there about queer. Learn the facts.


Why does this page exist? Because folks who are blind and depend on screen readers can’t tell what’s in an image without a description, and an image like this one deserves a more thorough description than can be provided via alt text. Learn more about web accessibility from WebAIM: Web Accessibility in Mind.