The Queen's University Association of Queer Employees (QUAQE)
The Queen's University Association of Queer Employees (QUAQE) is a group for LGBTQ-identified staff, faculty, and their partners. It includes both current and former employees of Queen's University, as well as postdoctoral fellows.
We provide opportunities to socialize, to discuss relevant issues, to raise the visibility of LGBTQ issues, and to address barriers for queer employees.
We recognize that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are linked to all forms of oppression, and that there is a need to work with other groups sharing similar goals.
The objectives of QUAQE are as follows:
To serve as a professional and social network
To welcome new LGBTQ staff and faculty
To increase awareness of relevant issues through education, advocacy, or political action
To liaise with the university and its employee associations, including the Queen’s University Staff Association (QUSA), Faculty Association (QUFA), and other unions, as appropriate
A reclaimed word is a word that was formerly used solely as a slur but that has been semantically overturned by members of the maligned group, who use it as a term of defiant pride. “Queer” is an example of a word undergoing this process. For decades, “queer” was used solely as a derogatory adjective for gays and lesbians, but in the 1980s the term began to be used by gay and lesbian activists as a term of self-identification.
Eventually, it came to be used as an umbrella term that included gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. During the same period, academic scholars introduced Queer Theory, challenging the idea that sexual orientation and gender identity can be neatly categorized with fixed labels (gay, straight, transsexual, etc.). It proposed a spectrum of individuality that includes not only sexual identity, but also humanist work, such as literature, art, music, etc. To be queer is to have the freedom and pride of self-creation, independent of the expectations or limitations of society.
Over the past fifteen years, many who identify as LGBTQ have embraced the word “queer” as a self-affirming umbrella term, inclusive of all people who don’t fit social norms. QUAQE therefore strives to provide a positive environment for its members across the spectrum of sexuality, such as gay, lesbian, bi-curious, bisexual, intersexual, transsexual, and transgender. While we respect that not everyone in the LGBTQ community is comfortable self-identifying as “queer” because of its gender-neutrality and implication of social non-conformity, we adopt “queer” as a term that is both positive and empowering.