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Queer is a sexual identity used to refer to people, or that people use to refer to themselves, when they are not heterosexual and do not fit into the gender binary. It classifies genders as being strictly male and female. Queer is considered an umbrella term that may be adopted by those who feel they fall outside the societal norms with regard to gender and sexuality. It is considered more inclusive than more specific labels like lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Therefore, some people prefer this term as a way of building a movement and community based on acceptance, rather than labeling differences.
Through most of the 20th century, "queer" was considered a derogatory term that meant strange, unusual, or even suspicious. As a result, it eventually took on a sexual connotation and came to be applied to those who were labeled as sexually deviant (often homosexual or effeminate men). The term is believed to have been reappropriated by the LGBT community in the 1990s. Its meaning can now encompass those who identify as LGBT, as well as the entire range of sexual identities outside what's considered heteronormative.
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