Recently, there was an extremely hostile brouhaha on a feminism-related Livejournal community about whether asexuals were "allowed" to identify as queer. I briefly skimmed the arguments for about three minutes, before my eyes wanted to bleed with all the ignorance and, oddly, hatred. One of the more benign comments was "Only queers should be able to decide who is queer". Wow...circular logic, much? Two main arguments seemed to be that only homosexuals can be queer, and that only people who have been violently discriminated against can be queer. While some people were willing to magnanimously grant that maybe homo-, bi-, or panromantic asexuals could identify as queer, others seemed absolutely irate that heteroromantic or aromantic asexuals might identify as such. A lot of people on that thread also seemed to view asexuality as just one more annoying internet meme, which is sad.
I'm just left thinking that such ardent policing of whatever people consider their one true definition of "queer" defeats the purpose of the identification. I thought being queer was about breaking rules and boundaries when it comes to sexuality, not adhering to rigid definitions. And if asexuals didn't break rules and boundaries, people wouldn't react to us in such defensive ways.
I prefer a more...charitable definition of "queer". I think that deciding to identify this way is completely up to the individual. I know that in response to this, someone is going to think, "But Ily! What if a straight, totally "vanilla" person wanted to call themselves queer?" Well, first of all, I hate to break it to you, but straight people are not exactly lining up to identify as queer, which makes some peoples' extreme defense of the word a little absurd. What realistic threat are they defending it against? And second, if a few straight people did identify as queer, it wouldn't be the end of the world. If you insisted on seeing it as "a price to pay" at all, it would be a small one, for greater inclusiveness.