What's in a Name? Exploring use of the Word Queer as a Term of Identification Within the College-Aged LGBT Community

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Identity, LGBTQ, queer, young adults


The language one uses for self-identification can be instrumental in the development and integration of one’s sense of self. This is particularly true regarding gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This seems to be particularly marked with use of the term “queer.” This research project explored terms that college-aged people use for self and other reference, especially use of the word queer. The results from this study provide empirical evidence that college-aged people have reclaimed the word queer as acceptable for gender or sexual orientation identification, although it is not the most frequent term used for their own self-identification.


This article was originally published as Zosky, D. & Alberts, R. (2016). What’s in a name? Exploring use of the word queer as a term of identification within the college-aged LGBT community. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 26 (7/8), 597-607.