What’s up, Queer Ottawa?
Naming is a creative endeavour, and often the best names come from the blending of multiple concepts into a cohesive whole. However, the exact mental process is something that only the namer themselves knows. So, something I’ve had a lot of questions about regarding the blog is the title. Namely, how did Queerism come about as a name, and what exactly does it mean? Well, I’ve finally gotten my act together for long enough to answer that question.
Queerism was honestly not my idea or my first choice. I sat down with PTS’s executive director, Claudia Van Den Heuvel, and the executive assistant, Kayla Miller, in Claudia’s office to discuss the name of the project. We ended up throwing our four best options on a piece of paper and conducting a mini focus group. Claudia’s name of choice, Queerism, was unanimously preferred. I blame it on the fact that I was the only person in the office wearing a tie. Other tie-wearers would have appreciated the sleek professionalism in my name. My objections aside, I eventually did the smart thing—shut the hell up and did what my boss told me to. So the name was Queerism.
My initial reaction to the word was the same as many of yours: what does it even mean? I couldn’t just leave a giant loose end like having a name that doesn’t mean anything. That would be entirely unprofessional, which is clearly not how I want to operate… well, anything. Ever. So I set upon hashing out a definition.
The struggle was finding out where to start. This was the name for a major component of PTS’s web presence, an all important part of any organization’s public image. Or at least I like to think it’s important. The point being, I needed somewhere to start, and there were way too many options. There are so many different areas of queer life, so many different avenues and side streets of queer culture to explore. How could I come up with a definition that encompasses everything that is intrinsically queer?
Then it hit me like a linebacker blitzing up the middle.
What about a definition that, rather than highlighting the actual content, highlights its queerness? Something that describes those little things that we do that makes the rest of the world do a double-take. That’s who this blog is for: every gay man who drops a “that’s what he said” joke; every genderqueer person who has to explain “ze” or “they” as a pronoun; every bi or pan teenager who’s been told it’s just a phase. This blog is for you, and I want the name of this blog to describe all the little things that each of us go through on a daily basis.
So I came up with this:
Queerism: The little intricacies of life, history and social interaction that differentiate queer people from the rest of heterosexual, cisgendered/sexual society.
I think it’s the perfect definition to bring us all together and set us apart from everyone else. As much as we’d like to fit in sometimes, I think it’s even more important to be proud. It’s my little way of making the blog say “we’re here, we’re queer, fucking deal with it.”
–Riley Evans, head writer/moderator of Queerism