Taking A Nuanced Look At How We Do (Or Don’t) Identify

The latest from Michael Henry explores how we use and feel about the word queer versus gay.
Kevin McDonald, Michael Henry, Zach Noe Towers (screen captures)

The latest short film from funnyman Michael Henry brings up a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on: the use of the term ‘queer.’

Michael is hanging out with Kenny (Zach Noe Towers) and Kevin (Kevin McDonald) discussing plans for the evening. 

Kenny is heading down to the Crap Shoot – apparently it’s a new bathhouse down the street from his abode.

Michael has big plans with a frozen pizza before dropping in at Crowbar for craft night.

That gets a big “ewwwww” from Kenny eliciting raised eyebrows from Michael and Kevin.

Kenny explains, “I don’t go there anymore,” explains Kenny. “Cause it’s not a gay bar anymore and I live to go to gay bars.”

Pointing out that the Crowbar is a queer bar, our tie-dyed dissenter drops another hot take: “Well, I’m not queer.”

Jaws drop, funny sound effects…

And the boys jump in with their own recollections of ‘gay’ behavior in Kenny’s past including some mouthy moments with a DJ.

But Kenny breaks it down: “Right. I’m a gay man. I only date men. I only f*ck men.  I only blow DJs.”

When Michael explains that ‘queer’ is an umbrella term, Kenny concurs. Kinda sorta.

“Right, and I’m only one thing – gay,” says Kenny. “I just think the term ‘queer’ minimizes my experience as a gay man. I fought way too hard – both society and myself – to be ok with the term ‘gay.’”

“When I go out I like to be surrounded by other gay men,” he adds. “I don’t want to bump and grind with a girl on the dance floor or share a unisex bathroom.”

There’s more to the back and forth including why folks go to bars in the first place, but we don’t want to spoil the dialogue. So, moving along…

Taking that all in, Michael asks, “So this is why you don’t associate with the label ‘queer?’”

That opens the door for Kenny to touch on an aspect of the term that still stirs the pot for some – the fact that for years it was a hideous slur used to demean LGBTQ people.

“When I was a kid it was a really derogatory term,” Kenny explains. “The people who called me ‘queer’ in the cafeteria weren’t trying to form a community.”

As with much of Michael Henry’s work, he brings a nuanced discussion to the table such that both sides of the issue can be considered.

In the comments of the YouTube page, many brought up the fact that not all cities and towns have separate “queer” and “gay” bars. 

Another commenter shared that “yes, we can all exist together but it’s also nice to have your own space with people who identify they way you do.”

Readers – let us know in the comment section below what you think about the word ‘queer’ and if community bars should be all-welcoming or cater to different aspects of LGBTQ life.

Make sure you stay to the end as Kenny shares news of the pizza station at Crap Shoot: “Free toppings for all bottoms.”

4 thoughts on “Taking A Nuanced Look At How We Do (Or Don’t) Identify”

  1. So many gay men I know dislike the word queer, I live in SF, CA one of the most liberal cities and all the gay guys I know NEVER use queer to describe themselves.

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  2. I’ve always hated the use of the word queer! Yes, I know all the stories behind the use…umbrella term….taking the sting out of the word by reclaiming it for ourselves…blah, blah, blah. However, at the end of the day, the word queer always means strange or not normal. I’m no more strange or not normal than any heterosexual. It may not be the norm, but homosexual or gay or lesbian or bisexuality or any other sexual and/or gender identification is just as normal as cis gender heterosexual sexual, and the use of the word queers implies that we are some “other” not as deserving of the same treatment and respect as everyone else.

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  3. I don’t appreciate the use of the word Queer at all. It wasn’t fun to be called Queer as I was getting beat up as a teenager. The word only brings up memories of hurt and fear. Why would I want or need to take the word back. I never wanted it in the first place.

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