Is It OK If I Use The Word “Queer”?

Addi explains why the word “queer” is acceptable to many in the LGBTQ+ community now, but still, not everyone should use it.

Addison Smith


Below is the teleprompter script for another episode of “Ask Addi,” my advice show on YouTube. If you’re so inclined, you could go to my channel and click like and subscribe. It would help grow the channel and allow me to keep making new episodes. Thanks, Addi

Hello humans. Thanks for viewing Ask Addi today. I’m Addison Smith.

Today we have a question about language, and language is very important within the queer community. Language allows people to express themselves and their feelings. It communicates philosophy and can persuade others to a different way of thinking.

In the queer community, we create new words or redefine old ones to better express our identities so that we have a way of telling others who and what we are, how we feel about our sexuality, our gender, and our relationships.

Today’s question is about one of those redefined words that I’ve already used a few times in this video.

K.G. asks, “Growing up, I always heard the word queer, used as an insult for gay people and others. I have to admit I used it myself, but only with my straight friends. Today, though, I hear a lot of people using the word. Is that okay? What’s changed? Can I use the word? -K.G.

Thanks for the question, K.G.

It’s going to take a bit of a history lesson to really explain this.

You are right that for a long time, queer was exclusively an insult for anyone in the LGBTQ community. It was often heard at protests against . . . our existence, really, also, just before and during physical assaults. We can never forget that history.

However, in the late 1980s, a rift grew up between the gay community over what they wanted their place in society to be. The two sides were those who wanted to assimilate into the general culture, giving up parts of the gay culture to better fit in with straight people, and the revolutionaries who wanted to preserve gay culture…



Addison Smith

I’m an LGBTQ+ DEI educator, activist, and writer living in the Midwest with my cat. Call me Addi. They/She. Booking and more info at