Dear K

Re your interesting report in The Australian Friend[1], I am one who feels a certain reluctance with the use of the word “queer” for a couple of reasons.  One is that according to two dictionaries the word queer not only means “strange” but also “odd, shady, mentally unbalanced, and suspicious” (among other things).  All these sound rather insulting to me.

The second reason is that it is hijacking a good English word. “Gay” has already been hijacked.  One example, admittedly a small one, is that no-one ever sings one of my favourite songs anymore, namely “A Bachelor Gay am I”[2].  I feel sad about this.

If the meaning of “queer” is about to change, I wonder if it will alter the meaning of the following verse in a favourite poem of mine, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”[3]!

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

Random thoughts from a self-isolating, except for doctors, chemists, etc., friend.

Halcyon Evans [New South Wales Regional Meeting]

[1] Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day, The Australian Friend March 2020

[2] From Maid of the Mountains by Harris and Valentine 1917.

[3] By Robert Frost 1923.

Share This