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Queerness is difficult to define because of the myriad ways in which the term has been used historically and contemporarily. Originally a word meaning “bizarre” or “strange,” the term gained widespread use as a derogatory slur on LGBTQ people in the early 20th century. Today, it may refer to the ways in which certain people’s gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation falls outside of what is considered the cisgender, heterosexual norm. Queerness, in this way, makes an attempt to decentralize mainstream discussions of what is considered normal, for example, traditional expressions of gender and sexual orientation. Queer is often used as an umbrella term for referring to LGBTQ people, and queerness refers to traits shared among people in the LGBTQ community. It is very ...

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