According to Queerbio, there are a number of LGBTQ academics, social commentators, activists, and others who specialize in the theory, or developed a reputation for their analysis of, the notion of ‘queerness’.
Their work often focuses on the examination of sexual identity and activity, the social context of this, its historical context, and the community itself. In general, queer theory looks at gender roles, the relationship between sex and gender, the notions of gay and straight, and the full spectrum of gender identity and activity.
This field of study is relatively new in terms of nomenclature and organization, but there are historical individuals who laid informal foundations for today’s collective group of thinkers.
It is generally agreed that Guy Hocquenghem is the principle individual to lay the formal groundwork for queer theory, and that it was originally associated with the radical gay politics of groups (such as ActUp) which embraced the notion of being queer, and of which Guy participated.
Guy grew up with a clear leaning to leftist thinking. His studies were grounded in the study of philosophy. He was a member of the Communist Party but they expelled him because of his homosexuality. He was the first gay man to be a member of the radical lesbian action group Front Homosexuel d’Action Revolutionnaire. He taught philosophy at the University of Vincennes-Saint Denis in Paris.
However, Hocquenghem was preceded in thought by individuals such as Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld and pioneer activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. Today, it is a diverse field of study that involves a lot of disparate ideas around the concepts of what is normal when it comes to sex, gender, and sexual activity.
Judith Butler and her academic associate and LGBTQ ally Eve Sedgewick are perhaps today’s leading lights in the field.
Queer theorists move beyond the modern binary notion of homosexual and heterosexual and argue that sexuality exists on a continuum which reflects diversity of behaviour – and has so throughout history. Their thinking impacts the study of literature, history, sociology, psychology, politics, and more.
It is not surprising to see prominent LGBTQ queer theorists in many parts of the world. We have identified individuals from Germany, Spain, New Zealand, the United States, Croatia, Argentina, Sweden, and Great Britain.
To read their fascinating biographies and access additional stories, CLICK HERE