Difference Between Queer and Gay

Queer vs Gay

Gay is a term used to refer to people of same sex getting attracted to their own sex rather than the majority, which is heterosexual. Though, the word gay has several meanings such as happy, bright and carefree, it has negative connotations in modern world. Though, there was a word known as homosexuality to refer to people engaging in sexual act with people of same sex, but given the increased incidence of homosexuality in the 20th century, the word gay has been chosen to refer to people, especially men having sexual orientation towards other men and not women. This is because, there is a word called lesbian to refer to women having sexual relationship with other women. There is another, umbrella word to refer to all sexual minorities that are not heterosexual. There are differences between gay and queer that will be described in this article.

Even before the word queer got associated with gender identity, the word was derogative in meaning, and in general referred to something or someone not usual or common. Something strange or out of alignment meant queer, and slowly but surely, the word got associated with effeminate males and males who had homosexual tendencies. It was a derogatory term used to refer to guys who were effeminate and enjoyed receptive and passive oral and anal sex with other men. Strangely, those who performed the role of penetrators were considered straight in this gender behavior.

While gay is a narrower word describing same sex attraction, and that too between males, queer encompasses all sorts of non traditional sexual behavior and tendencies such as alternative gender roles, transvestism, intersex, sex change, fetishes and so on. Gay has today become a more of a political word, whereas queer has come to denote people who do not like to be called cultural rebels. These people reject even having a cause, and are living and engaging in behaviors not accepted by the society. But they are doing it, not because of any rebellion, but because they are rather indifferent to the main stream.

In brief:

Difference between Queer and Gay

• If we leave sexual connotations apart, we find that dictionary defines queer as strange and unusual, whereas gay means happy and bright

• Queer is a generic or umbrella term that includes gays

• Gay do not like to be termed queer as they find the word as insulting