Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term queer originates from the German quer meaning oblique, cross, adverse, perverse. It was first used in the sixteenth century to describe something generally regarded as strange, odd, or out of keeping with the commonplace. In the nineteenth century it began to be used as a verb, meaning to spoil, to ruin, to jeopardize, and in the early twentieth century it was used, for the first time, as a disparaging term for an effeminate man or a homosexual. In the late twentieth century, in the wake of Gay Pride and other such movements aimed at reclaiming identities previously constituted by mainstream society as aberrant, the term queer began to be deployed by gays, lesbians, bisex-uals, and other sex- and gender-nonconformists as a positive form of self-identification. This reached its apotheosis in the 1990s with the emergence of direct-action activist groups such as Queer Nation, OutRage, PUSSY (Perverts Undermining At ...