Emerging in the 1980s and flourishing during the 1990s ‘queer’ politics
arrived as a reaction to what ‘queer’ activists and theorists identified as the
narrow identity politics, rigid categories and separate groupings that had
become associated with the lesbian and gay movements. In contrast to these
rigid categories ‘queer’ politics proclaimed that all identities – lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transsexual, even some heterosexual identities – could merge into a
general ‘queerness’. The term ‘queer’ was understood then by many ‘queer’
activists and theorists in a very broad sense: referring not only to
homosexuality and lesbianism but to everything that diverges from the ‘norm’.
It became a response to mainstream hetero- normative/straight thinking of all
kinds; its oppositional approach probably being best summed up in the slogan:
‘We’re here, we’re queer - get used to it!’ As sociologist Joshua Gamson
wrote: ‘“Queer” does not so much rebel against outsider status, it revels in it’.