I recently found out why the asterisk is often included when people write the word “trans*.” It comes from computer speak (a language about which I know nothing). The asterisk is used in order to include every possible character that can occur after a specific prefix. Prior to trans*, the word transgender was typically used as an umbrella term for all gender identities that did not fall in the cisgender category (male-to-female, female-to-male, agender, genderqueer, etc…). However, it does not explicitly denote non-binary gender identities and in fact may solely conjure images of the gender binary (e.g: woman and man). Additionally, transgender leaves out identities that focus on physical sex. Therefore, the inclusion of an asterisk allows for every word possibility for the prefix trans as well as non-binary gender identities and physical sex identities (e.g: transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, pansexual, MTF, FTM, two-spirit, agender etc…).
So why queer*?
My beloved and I have been discussing queer politics, queer theory, queer lifestyles, and queer identities a lot. This is mostly what we talk about most of the time. I noticed that my trans* spouse often remarked on our “queer and trans” communities, using the word queer to denote sexual orientation and trans to identify people who defy gender norms. It is true that sexual orientation and gender are not the same thing, but aren’t all of us who do not align with heteronormativity, queer? If this is true, why say queer AND trans? After some discussion about this, we came up with queer* as the new umbrella term for all of us who identify outside the heteronormative bubble.
Queer* also allows me to write about any issue that falls outside of heteronormativity, which is the point of this blog. I am a passionate gender warrior, but I also feel a need to speak out against all issues of social injustice impacting the queer* community (including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, hate crimes, exclusive language, exclusive spaces, and violation of human rights). And while I’m at it, I think I will write about all the joys, celebrations, beauty, milestones, and love of the queer* community because that is a huge part of who I am and a huge part of what I see in our queer* world.
As always, I welcome heartfelt, non-violent dialogue with others. We cannot affect change if we never talk about what’s wrong. We cannot affect change if we rest in our bubbles of privilege. We cannot affect change if we never listen to each other. So my queer* and straight people, support me in the creation of exciting, uncomfortable, and passionate words about QUEER*!
We’re Here! We’re Queer*! Get Used To It!