Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual, or gender-binary. Originally meaning strange or peculiar, queer developed a usage as a pejorative term for homosexual in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, some political and social LGBT groups began to reappropriate the word to establish community and assert a political identity, with it becoming the preferred term to describe some academic disciplines and gaining use as a descriptor of non-heterosexual identities. Queer may be used by those who reject traditional gender identities as a broader, less conformist, and deliberately ambiguous alternative to LGBT.
The term is now used in the name of some academic disciplines, such as queer theory, to denote a general opposition to binary thinking. Queer arts, queer cultural groups, and queer political groups are examples of expressions of queer identities.
Criticisms of queer include those who associate the term with its pejorative usage and those who associate it with political radicalism.