Drew Cordes

New Yorker Magazine Refuses to Print the Word 'Queer'

Filed By Drew Cordes | February 14, 2012 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Cassie Peterson, censorship, dancing boys, New Yorker, queer

On her blog, self-described "writer, thinker, activist, healer, and lavender menace," Cassie Peterson posted a letter she wrote to the New Yorker. Cassie contacted the magazine after it ran a preview of a new dance performance titled "Armed Guard Garden," on which Cassie is a conceptual collaborator.New_Yorker_cover.png In the production's original press release, the phrase "queer bodies" was consciously chosen.

In the thinking, writing, and creating of the project, Armed Guard Garden, we have very deliberately chosen to use the word queer to communicate and represent a set of principles and way(s) of knowing. The choice to use the word queer was an incredibly political, conceptual, and aesthetic decision.

However, the New Yorker changed the phrase to "gay bodies" for publication. Cassie was rightfully upset.

This is not just some minor semantic quarrel. Your choice has bigger implications. To conflate "gay" with "queer" and vice versa is to do neither one of these signifiers justice. Though they are related, these identities have different political connotations and agendas. Queer is an anti-normative framework(s) and consciousness that is a purposeful departure from a more mainstream, assimilationist gay and lesbian agenda.

She asked the magazine to change the words, but her request went unfulfilled.

The editor replied, apologized, but still refused to change the words back to the ways we had written them. They also refused to publish my letter so I have done it here, myself.

You can read her whole response here. Not cool, New Yorker. Not cool.

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