Phase One

Week 4- Pitch!


The first time I heard the word Queer it meant other. A family member was describing a classmate of mine who was a bit of a loner whose interests didn’t match those of the rest of the class. The specific details have left me, but the significance of the moment remains. Queer meant on the outside. It meant odd. It meant unlike the rest. In fact, the Oxford English dictionary defines it as “strange” or “weird.”

In the article “It’s Time to Drop the ‘LGBT’ from ‘LGBTQ’” Johnathon Rauch, editor at the Atlantic proposes that the LGBTQ+ community be referred to solely as ‘Queer’ or ‘Q’. Rauch suggests that by keeping the many letters that represent various identities in the community name, the individuality of each person is diminished and the term LGBTQ+ becomes oppressive.

The word ‘queer’ has a hate-ridden past and is heading towards a reclaimed, powerful future. But not everyone is ready to identify themselves as a word that has been used against them and their community in the past, and for some, the present. In 1894, John Douglas, the 9th Marquess of Queensberry, discovered his son was a in a gay relationship with Oscar Wilde. In attempt to prevent a scandal Douglas took Wilde to court. During the case a letter surfaced in which Douglas used the term ‘snob-queers’ to describe gay men. From that moment, with the first written account of queer used as a hate speech brought forward, queer became a slur (Hall, 2016).

In more recent years, beginning as activism during the AIDS crisis, Queer has become a form of anarchy. It is a fight against the system that tries to hold power over and discriminate against those it describes (Ford, 2018, 2:08). But some feel that this term has been forced on them and have no interest in calling themselves, let alone letting non-community members refer to them as Queer in a “non-discriminatory” way (Obinwanne, 2018).

There are a lot of people within the LGBTQ+ community. Different identities and different individuals. Of course, we share a commonality, but we are also our own selves. While eliminating other letters may be appealing to some, not everyone wants to let go of the importance of their label when it comes to identity politics. But, labels have never been easy, and some LGBTQ+ people are happy to reclaim, identify with, and own Queer.

Is there a way to reconcile an entire community of varying opinions and feelings on reclaimed slurs? Is there a way to include everyone while still erasing?

I want to know how LGBTQ+ people define Queer. I want to know the significance of this word to the individuals Rauch proposes it describes. I want to detail what and who is missing from this article.

I will uncover how the LGBTQ+ community really feels.


Ford, T. (2018) Tyler Ford explains the history behind the word queer [Video file]. Retrieved from

Hall, J. (2016) Tracing the history of the word ‘queer’. Retrieved from 

Obinwanne, A. (2018) Why I’m a lesbian (not queer). Retrieved from

Week 3: Summary

“It’s Time to take the ‘LGBT’ from ‘LGBTQ’” from The Atlantic, by Johnathon Rauch

The opinion piece I chose is piece discussed the way in which the community term ‘LGBTQ+’ is essentially too cumbersome and erases the individuality of people within the community. Using the history of some gay rights activists, current events, and recent books to support the story. The main argument is that calling the community “Queer” or “Q” is less oppressive. The author uses statistics from the 2016 American Presidential election regarding identity politics and political correctness, as well as gay activist Frank Kameny’s 1961 Supreme Court petition for support.

Though the piece is under the “Ideas” heading on The Atlantic’s website, I know this piece is an opinion piece because the author is making a proposal for an entire community based off opinions he has derived from what he uses as sources.

The author is Johnathon Rauch. He is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and identifies himself not as ‘LGBTQ’ but ‘Q’ in the end of the article, therefore it is implied he is a part of the community he is writing about. He has written articles such as “Boycott the Republican Party” and “The Case for Hate Speech” in which he discussed a boycott by gay people of a film that is apparently anti-gay, and that he would ignore the boycott. His politics seem fairly liberal, he has identified himself as both queer and gay, and he seems to be a challenger.

This piece is socially relevant because identity politics are at the forefront of the news and media in the world currently. This piece can create and interesting podcast episode because it is a unique opinion and also is missing quite a bit of history and thought that I believe I can bring into through research and interviews. 

Emily Norton

Week 2: A Matter of Opinion

I don’t think knowledge is simply a matter of opinion. However, I do think there is a subjectivity to everyone’s perception of knowledge. Knowledge is based on justifiable facts, but the way we understand these facts can be influenced by our personal beliefs, experiences, and biases.

In “Philosophy is Just a Matter of Opinion?” we read about opinions becoming facts (or knowledge). Michael LaBossiere writes: “ an opinion is also typically taken as an unsupported opinion. That is, a belief that is not backed up with reasons or evidence. An opinion can become a fact-a belief that is adequately backed up by evidence or reasons.” Clearly, evidence is an important part of turning anything into knowledge that is justifiable in reality, despite differing realities of individuals.

Overall, I do not believer that knowledge is simply a matter of opinion, but I can understand how opinions clouds our knowledge and lead us to misunderstanding or misinterpreting facts to the point that they are no longer justified.

Week 1: Introduction

Hello! My name’s Emily and I am a third year Professional Writing student. I love writing poetry and creative non-fiction, and recently have come to enjoy editing as well. I am feeling both excited and skeptical about the course project. I am excited to discuss an opinion piece and voice my own opinion, but skeptical because of the podcast style. I am not used to writing for this medium, nor have I ever listened to a podcast. However, I do think that it’s important to write in ways you’re not necessarily passionate about to expand your limits.

I think a research shortcut may be to look through Wikipedia or very “surface level” websites and making inferences from that, rather than doing in depth research. This tactic is only helpful in regard to the speed of the research, but it is ultimately limiting because the necessary and intriguing information is bound to be left out.

Emily Norton