Glenn Beck worries about how to use the word ‘queer,’ so we asked a gay activist to help

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, April 4, 2014 18:02 EDT
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Conservative radio host Glenn Beck accused LGBTQ activists on Friday of moving the goalposts with regards to how to identify members of those communities, Right Wing Watch reported on Friday.

“I hope that ‘gay’ is currently the accepted term,” Beck said. “I don’t know if it’s ‘homosexual,’ and I don’t know if [it's] ‘queer.’ If it was ‘queer,’ I feel uncomfortable because it had been drummed in my head that ‘queer’ is a slam. And I know now people use ‘queer.’ I don’t know if I’m allowed to use ‘queer.’”

Similarly, he argued, the terms ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ have also been used as insults, only for people to be “re-trained” on the use of those terms.

“I don’t know anymore, because you keep changing all the rules, depending on how you feel,” he said of activists. “Or is it that you don’t feel that way — is it that these groups are becoming nothing but a terrorist organization. That, just by changing the language, I can lose my job if I say ‘homosexual,’ or ‘gay,’ or ‘queer.’” I could lose my job. And so you never know, and so you keep everyone in fear.”

In reality, LGBTQ activist Felipe Sousa-Rodríguez explained to The Raw Story, Beck’s remarks were an attempt by him to attempt to set the terms for communities that are often marginalized in their own workplaces.

“He’s saying, ‘I am afraid to use the wrong word,’” Sousa-Rodríguez, a co-director of GetEQUAL.org said in a phone interview Friday evening. “Most LGBTQ people are still afraid to come out as anything, because they’re afraid to lose their jobs.”

Sousa-Rodríguez explained that it is all right to ask a person for their preferred self-identifier, while respecting that ultimately it is up to the individual to set that definition.

“LGBTQ rights is all about self-identification,” Sousa-Rodríguez said. “When some people say ‘I’m queer,’ it’s basically people reclaiming it.”

Watch Beck’s commentary, as posted by Right Wing Watch on Friday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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