To take control of a term that has a pejorative context. queer, dyke, and queen are examples of words that have been reclaimed by the LGBT community. Taking control of a slur removes the ability of bigots to use that term in a hurtful manner. Reclaiming empowers marginalized communities.
NOTE: Do not use reclaimed words that are not part of your sexual, racial, or ethnic self-identification. For example: do not use the n word or variant words to describe yourself if you're not part of the African American community. Or, don't use words like fag or faggot if you are not a gay man. Reclamation is only for those people who have historically suffered because of the word in question. Outsiders, even sympathetic outsiders, should not use reclaimed words casually.
Even if you are part of a community that uses reclaimed terms, be selective in how you use them. Don't use reclaimed terms to start a fight where you and or others might be physically or verbally attacked. Use discretion.
When I encounter Christian fundamentalists who try to put me down for being gay, I say that 'I am a faggot'. I want to reclaim the word from haters to they can't use it to hurt others.
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