Students in the Sprin 2014 ANT:208 Anthropology of Sex class at The University of Alabama were tasked with a rather unusual and provocative social experiment as extra credit in the class: tell a close friend or family member that you are queer! What many people are not aware of, is that the LGBT community has re appropriated the term to basically say ” My sexuality cannot be placed in a box on a census form.” So, the word “queer” is slowly becoming to mean something other than “gay,” but rather closer to its original term suggesting something different. By this definition, those who identify as straight, gay, lesbian, or transgender can all mutually identify as “queer.” It is acknowledging that sexuality is a spectrum and that one’s sexuality can slide along this spectrum throughout one’s life.
Students were tasked to tell someone close to them “I am queer” and to refrain from saying “this was just a part of a class experiment, I am not actually queer” for at least five minutes. This means that he or she has to endure and field any questions, accusations, or “Son/daughter, we’ve known” in order to educate the person with whom they are speaking. Selected students’ experiences will appear in subsequent posts.