Is queer a slur? Twitter seems to think so

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Social media giant Twitter has recently come under fire for banning users who use the word queer to describe themselves.

Earlier this month Twitter user @theb00kwitch posted a photo of an email she had received from the social media site, suspending her account.

(Photo: @theb00kwitch / Twitter)

“Twitter thinks that queer is a slur, which means basically everyone I know is going to be locked out at some point.”

It is believed that the tweet caused her account to be suspended due to the use of the word ‘queer’ in it, which has previously known to be used as an insult against LGBT+ people.

(Photo: @theb00kwitch / Twitter)

LGBT charity Stonewall describes queer as “a derogatory term for LGBT individuals” – but, the charity is keen to emphasise, this is “in the past”.

Queer is now used by many people as a way of identifying themselves in terms of gender and sexuality.

The term is often used by many people who do not feel completely represented by the LGBT+ acronym and is increasingly used in popular culture.

The Queer Eye Fab 5

“The term has now been reclaimed by LGBT young people in particular who don’t identify with traditional categories around gender identity and sexual orientation,” the entry to their glossary continues.

However, the organisation cautions, the term is “still viewed to be derogatory by some” but is sometimes preferred because it is ambiguous.

Many Twitter users took to the platform to protest the blocking and perceived censorship of queer identity.

(Photo: @All0ces / Twitter)

One user wrote: “Queer Queer Queer Queer Queer F*ck you Twitter.”

(Photo: @maria_reads / Twitter)

“Twitter is treating the word queer as a slur and is suspending accounts for using it now. Good to know my identity is something that can get me banned,” another user wrote.

Related: Seven tweeters who really needed to delete their accounts in 2017

Many users highlighted the popularity of the word queer and how important it is as a term for many queer people.

(Photo: @Pam1256 / Twitter)

One wrote: “I get how it used to be a slur, but it’s now such an important word, as you said, your identity!”

(Photo: @MagsVisaggs / Twitter)

Another person wrote: “We reclaimed the hell out of that word.”

Other people pointed out that queer is used within academia, within the fields of ‘queer studies’ and ‘queer theory.’

(Photo: @diannaeanderson / Twitter)

Multiple users pointed out that whilst Twitter is potentially suspending people for using the word queer, many groups actively use the micro-blogging website to harass people, including the alt-right.

(Photo: @actuallyalice / Twitter)

“Hey Twitter, can you please do something about the growing number of fascists openly using your platform?” Another site user wrote.

This is definitely not the first issue Twitter has had with the LGBT+ community.

In November 2017, Twitter users were shocked to discover that the hashtag #Bisexual appeared to have been blocked by the site.

Last year Twitter also began adding a binary gender to every profile, causing many users to complain.

“If you haven’t added a gender, this is the one most strongly associated with your account based on your profile and activity. This information won’t be displayed publicly,” Twitter said at the time.