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(this is what I posted on Mastodon yesterday, that had me figuring if I'm going to write this sort of thing, I should be posting it here.)

On the one hand, I strongly believe that each generation of activists gets to define their own terms. Every couple of decades our vocabulary shifts, and that's a good thing! That's people coming into their own as the driving force of the movement and that's how movements actually last longer than a single generation. So that's why the queer & trans vocabulary I learned in the waning days of second-wave feminism is dated at best, and a lot of it's even offensive -- and so are the words I learned to replace them. Feature, not bug.

On the other hand, history *does* matter and I dunno how to feel when I encounter (for example) "queer's a slur, don't use it." We worked hard to reclaim 'queer' and I'm not really willing to give it back up. I don't need you to use it. But it's still my word for me.

On the gripping hand, I'm pleased (even though I'm sometimes confused) that 'gay' has lost the connotations it had when I was a baby queer. See, back then, 'gay' was the word assimilationists used -- it signified you weren't one of *those* "scary homos". You weren't "queer as in fuck you". So I hear people nowadays self-id as 'gay' and my first thought is, wait, I didn't think you were that conservative? And then I figuratively slap myself and try to catch up with the times.

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