Why "Queer?"

Why “Queer Film Series” rather than “Gay and Lesbian Film Series”?

Audience members sometimes want to know why the film series title uses the word “queer” instead of “gay and lesbian.”   The original founders of QFS considered this issue seriously at the inception of the series.  Their decision to use the word “queer” included the following reasons:

  1. To use an inclusive umbrella term that underscores the spectrum of gender and sexual identities beyond heterosexual and homosexual.
  2. To avoid the unwieldy and ever-expanding “alphabet soup” of LGBTIQ, etc.
  3. To recognize the productive theoretical implications of the word “queer” as a proud reclamation of a previously shaming term.
  4. To acknowledge, through the use of a complexly valenced term considered by some to be political and/or radical, that issues of gender, sex and sexuality are inextricable from complex social politics.  The term queer does something more than “lesbian” or “gay,” because the term, like the films we choose, are not solely about making visible certain identities.  Making these identities visible, while important, is only part of what we do with the series; and “queer” is a term that really questions the terms of visibility itself in ways that address norms and assumptions that structure our understanding of identity in the first place.

Thus, through the word queer, we acknowledge that the (necessary) eradication of sex, gender and sexuality-based oppression will involve a radical re-thinking of many concepts in our society.


Gus Pena
(828) 262-6158

QEP Global Learning