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The first Pride was a riot.

Wall sticker in Marlborough lesbian pub, Brighton.

i’m actually realizing this now

but the original poster said “queer power” and someone erased that and replaced it with “gay power”

real classy

#is this real

Well. I’m not exactly an expert at image analysis, but the bottom text in the first one looks much cleaner than the top text while the second one matches better. Also, the creases in the second one on the Q and U seem like the sort of detail that wouldn’t be faked. Finally, this actually matches up significantly better to “queer” politics than “gay” politics; it was always queers who advocated and took the front lines in direct action.

If you put the image in an editor or just view the full size of the first image, it becomes very obvious that the text on the bottom was added later: all of the vertical lines in every letter are pixel perfect straight lines. That is basically impossible with a photo of a poster that is both visibly at an angle, and has paper weathering and other distortion. Look at the verticals of the white text to compare. The only distortion of the text is the jpg artifacts we would expect in that level of contrast. There is no lighting on the pink text either, another highly suspicious trait.

Additionally, if you crop out the pink text in op and run an image search you get the second photo, as well as four or five other photos of the poster, all reading “queer power.”

With the pink text left in, however, the only version of the poster is this exact image, sourcing to op.

I want every single person who ever argued with me on That Queer Post to take a long, hard look at this. I have been told at least dozens of times that “nobody is saying you can’t identify as queer,” that I’m “ignoring history,” that they’re not trying to shift back to gay, etc.

Now, here’s this post, in which queer people are having their art defaced in order to rewrite their identity. Where they’re being forcibly rewritten as gay. Where history is being literally goddamn erased. It’s got three times the notes of That Queer Post, and as far as I can tell, @bifoxstiles is the first one to challenge this narrative. And I’m not gonna hold my breath on y'all to call out OP.

They’re literally stealing our history, rewriting it into a new version that excludes more than half of the community. And nobody’s challenging this. You’re too busy trying to shut down inclusive, egalitarian language.

Shame on every last one of you.

Uhhhh. That’s like a really famous poster, at least if you are over a certain age. I recognized it immediately. 

Yeah. It… it never said ‘Gay Power’ originally. It said ‘Queer Power.’

What the actual fuck.


Ironically, just before this crossed my dash, Oxford University Press shared a link to a new archive of queer oral history. If not for Tumblr’s recent push to wipe “queer” from our collective memory, I wouldn’t have thought twice about OUP using the term. After all, it was chanted in pride and defiance when over a million of us participated in the 1993 March on Washington to demand an end to discrimination…


Video clip from that day: “We’ve come to Washington to show everyone that we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going anywhere!”

Queer theory, queer studiesnew queer cinemaqueer liberation: it was and remains the umbrella term in academia, since “gay” leaves out the bulk of people discriminated against for their gender and/or sexuality.

In the past year, I’ve seen some Tumblr members trying to suppress the word “queer,” just as people back then tried to suppress us. The excuse is that it’s sometimes used as a slur. But so is “gay.” In my 45 years, I have heard/seen “gay” used as an slur far more often.

At first, I tried to respect the fact that “queer” bothered some Tumblr users, even though it was painful for me to see queer-positive posts tagged “q slur.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that caving in to those asking us to drop the term “queer” would permit homophobic and/or transphobic sensibilities to define our identities. Do we have to drop “gay” now as well, or tag it “g slur”? Since when did we stop reclaiming these words as a matter of pride? 

Isn’t this just the latest ploy of internalized homophobia/transphobia sneaking up on us? 

Unfortunately, erasing “queer” from our vocabulary has hurtful real-world consequences.

Silencing “queer” silences many of those who fought, marched, rioted and died for your rights. It erases those of us who are queer but not gay: trans, intersex, nonbinary, lesbian, bisexual, aromantic, asexual people, and more (see why the term is so necessary?) Erasure/minimization of queer people is how we end up with disrespectful historical revisionism like that Stonewall movie. Or the Photoshopped poster above, rewriting our history with a lie. 

And that’s the real kicker.

Erase “queer” from our vocabulary, and we erase future generations’ ability to learn about their past. How will they be able to find LBGTA+ history, if you teach them not to use one of the main keywords they need to search for to find it? 

How much of our past and present community will be rendered invisible and their needs ignored (this article is really, REALLY worth a read), if those now lobbying against the term “queer” are successful?

Decades ago, when being out was taking a huge risk, we chanted, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” It would be a bitter irony if, even as mainstream society becomes “used to it,” as demonstrated from the Supreme Court to the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, our own community becomes less “used to it.”

Think about the forces of prejudice who were trying to silence us when that “queer power” sign was made. Please don’t let them win.

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