Gay Man Says Millennial Term 'Queer' Is Like the 'N' Word

Paul wrote about the controversy in The Catalyst, the independent Colorado College newspaper, but said for the most part the community was unfazed. "They didn't know about it or weren't interested."

Reina Gossett, a 30-year-old transgender woman who identifies as "queer," said the term is "political" and has a "legacy of resistance."

"There is a long history of people who identified on the margins of culture," she said. "It's about naming a lineage of people who are gender outlaws and didn't fit into normative ideas about what it means to be gay or lesbian. It's a way to subvert the idea that we should all be normal. That being like everyone else is a good thing."

Gossett works with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which assists low-income transgender communities, providing legal services and education.

Sylvia Rivera was a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising, and fought against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act in New York. She died in 2002.

In the early days of the gay pride movement, those who self-identified as "drag queens" and "transvestites" were "tossed aside" by middle-class professionals, said Gossett.

"She was literally kicked off the stage in a gay pride rally in 1973," she said. Gossett said calling herself queer is a way to be "part of a larger movement."

But John Kichi is sticking to his guns about the connotation of "queer."

"The current generation of 20-somethings may be kicking the word around and having fun with it, but it's not a gender," said Kichi. "I didn't fight the fight to get as far as we are today."

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