The term, “Queer” (homosexual) was used as a pejorative epithet when I was in junior high and high school. It had the baggage of nasty historic usage and etymology behind it. Of course that was back in the dark ages before people realized that the word “homosexual” was a word invented in the mid eighteenth century, and that in the real world there had not been a “homosexual” type of person, only behavior. Once the scientific classification as to type was seized upon by psychiatry as an aberrant “disease,” only then did our culture become fearful of “queer” people instead of sexual behavior. *
The painting, QUEER is meant to be a proud but partially obfuscated history of those “queer people.” *2 In the late twentieth century the term was deconstructed and rebuilt to designate LGBT people as well as others who view sexual variability in general as normal and positive human behavior. Also in this relatively new Twenty-first Century medical, psychiatric, historic and cultural studies have all identified the human types in the LGBT category as “normal” kinds of human beings, and the repurposed term “Queer,” means to take in that advance in scientific classification. *3
• See “Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexuality,” http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/ECE5/homosexuality.html. Viewed 10:00 AM EDT, Thursday, May 23, 2013.
• All the image sources of historic “Queer” folk are documented here.
1. Image of Vaslav Nijinsky at Homo History. http://homohistory.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html. Viewed repeatedly from December 2012 to May 13, 2013.
2. Image of Langston Hughes from “Summer Nights’ by Langston Hughes,’ History is Made at Night, http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.com/2013/04/summer-nights-by-langston-hughes-1902.html. Posted April 22, 2013, viewed 9:30 AM EDT, Saturday, May 11, 2013.
• 3 – I use the term “normal” loosely because contemporary science, historic, social, and cultural studies all have a variable (3- dimensional) understanding of human sexuality that does away with thinking in terms of what is normal and what is not.