Great article. By 1991, I was a member of Queer Nation, a street theatre, queer advocacy group that was born from Act Up’s HIV protests and advocacy.
One of our original purposes was to reclaim the word Queer, which had already taken on a distinct political and philosophical meaning in the academic world — in a different way from the umbrella sense you write about.
Those two different definitions butt up against one another sometimes, by the way.
We were supported in our efforts by by Out magazine, which publicized out reclamation efforts, and by NYC pubs like the Village Voice.
By the late 90s, LGBTQ was understood my most advocates and activists to mean “queer” in its Q.
Minor quibble. I don’t think in its umbrella sense that the Q means any gender or sexual minority who doesn’t fit into LGBT. I think the Q is intended to be generally inclusive of all GSMs.
Or at least that’s what we intended when we started reclaiming the word in the early 90s and when we purposefully added it to our acronym.