What is Queer Theory?

Queer Theory. Many of us have heard the term. But, do we really understand what it means? For some reason, things with the “word” theory attached tend to be intimidating.  But Queer Theory is not.  Let us explain.

Queer Theory an Introduction

We recognize that those who are not members of the LGBTQ community or its allies may have a relatively traditional understanding and view of sexual identity and gender. They view themselves as “normal” and those who identify as LGBTQ as “different”.  While things have changed considerably in recent years, much of this ideology is still reinforced in their daily lives. 

Queer theory studies address these more traditional ideas and challenge the belief that heterosexuality is what is and should be considered normal. Perhaps the clearest definition comes directly from the dictionary “an approach to literary and cultural study that rejects traditional categories of gender and sexuality.”

While many may be unfamiliar with the term, queer theory is not new.  Honestly, it has been around for decades. In fact, the works of some of the most prominent gay activist groups, like Queer Nation, were instrumental in helping define this because of the education they provided through their actions. They worked incredibly hard to enlighten the world to options that differed from things like identity politics.

LGBTQ Nation shared some valuable resources on queer theory.  They suggested reading the following queer theory books for more insight.

  • Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  • Queer Theory: An Introduction by Annamarie Jagose
  • The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault
  • Disidentifications by Jose Esteban Munoz
  • Epistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

These books share a host of interesting information on the origins of queer theory, how it has progressed and how we, as individuals, affect and interpret it.

Queer theory is an interesting concept, one which we likely don’t give much overt thought to, but something which affects the ways in which we live, learn, and interact.  At Rainbow Depot, we continue to believe that knowledge is power, and learning and understanding about Queer Theory is an important endeavor.

We encourage everyone to take some time to explore this. It is fascinating and can help us all better understand the world in which we live. Take time to learn how to apply queer theory.