your opinion is not humble, but that's precisely the point 

On who defines and holds ownership of Queer Language as it rapidly emerges and migrates from closed LGBT+ cyber-spaces in its appropriative assimilation to public irl American vernacular. 

who owns the word partner & where do we go from here?

// WIP //

It has become clear, from the tone to the multitude of defiant voices, that this is a marginalized opinion- but one that with a quick Google search I readily found that this is a hotly contested issue right now both in informal queer cyberspaces that are working collectively to define discourse and by formal linguistic institutions (dictionaries, entomology databases/archives). To compare- I can absolutely get behind the millennial-fronted redefinition of the word "eloping" from what seem to be like a lot of young heterosexual relationships (monogamous & non-monog) not being able to access, or afford, traditional weddings. Instead of getting slammed for eloping, as it has been historically understood, they're dismantling the stigma of the word by changing its contemporary definition. In addition, they’re simultaneously bolstering the social awareness of and this issue and normalizing this alternative linear trajectory with “hot takes” on lifestyle/wedding blogs that feature headlines like “For Millennials, Eloping Is the New Lavish Wedding’ – from the Guardian or “Eloping Might Be The Best Start To A Great Financial Future Together”— from Forbes with the fiscal approach. While the cringe-worthy destination weddings that follow are often an issue in and of themselves, “eloping” as the term as it linguistically shifts in its adaption of those who find this new definition empowering, shows clearly the power that this process has when is it pushed forward by the privileged hand.


But looking at the history of the word “partner” in the US (&Canada) (&Berlin in one article) from its rise in the 70s & 80s in budding proto-queer communities compared to how it is has been absorbed by non-queer vocabulary now to the point where they (may) feel it is the most appropriate our of all their options- I just don’t know about that. When queer language has been so persistently guarded because of our ongoing history of oppression, and again, ongoing-- adaptation by those outside of theses communities in a society that continues to do so, feels premature.

 Considering this massive power disparity at hand, specifically regarding our creation and use of [queer] language for our own validation & protection, I don’t think that any non-queer’s opinion can be humble. Because to be humble connotes “low social, administrative, or political rank” which is a perspective that those with privileges in those areas cannot have. Perhaps it feels that way as they are approaching the issue from an 'allied', or [non-queer] “outsider” perspective, but it’s not.


With this in mind, I want to explore who has a voice & who gets a seat at the table when discussing these issues within our community. To consider the creation of the word 'TERF' as an example. In spite of the consistency of black trans women expressing oppression within the LGBTQIA* community online and irl, it wasn't until a white cishet woman named Viv Smythe freelance-writing from Australia named this hierarchical phenomena, by coining the now well-known term coined the word. (and give legitimazy to their ongoing struggle which what much more easily silenced without a name to call this Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminism (or white-bread feminism) as I like to call it. Canada also deals with a lot of similar issues. I believe that in both many parts of Canada & Vermont, specifically, the Burlington art scene, is stalling at these progressions & layers of complexities because of the really homogenous demographic of the folx that live here and the lack of representation from POCs in these scenes due to socioeconomic barriers. (And manifests at large in incidents like the ongoing Kamila Harris story)  Much like the TERF example-


while mainstream American culture and those who benefit from it certainly can have use for words that have been defined by (and I’d bet with OG intentionality) and for subcultures (specifically queer culture), history has shown it RARELY works the way around. I wish, (&& honestly tho I’m slightly less offended then others would probably be by being asked to make language to fill the growing gaps for cishet society/relationships) I could come up with words that would solve these problems for them, I don’t feel and I know, I don’t I have the voice to do so. Worse off, while my impatience to have the drawing of these lines done and over with, not only do I not have that seat at the table- I don’t believe I’m to most qualified as someone who is incapable of participating in a non-queer relationship.


As someone who is Non-Binary and not straight-passing, I don’t ever get to take off this “look” without serious planning and honestly, body modification. So partner is literally the ONLY word for me. I wish my partner could use boyfriend for me in public and people wouldn’t peg us as straights, or me as a cis-man, but that’s clearly not the case (we’ve tried). If it were up to me tho, I’d spell it boifriend. To say this conversation is over feels like the ppl in power saying “nope its mine I already took it and I need it for me so sorry good luck coming up with more perfect terms of your own tho, lol, ze,zim,zir or whatever you call yourselves now.”