No, Sometimes, and Yes. For many people (especially those who are younger, or in more urban areas) queer is a word of pride and the best way to “umbrella” diverse sexualities and genders. For some, queer is considered a “bad word” (i.e., a slur) in some contexts, and okay in others (e.g., who is saying it, how they’re saying it); or was a slur, but now they’re comfy with it. And for others, it’s still a slur, and they wouldn’t use it, or want it used to describe them.
We use “queer” in an affirming way on the site and in our trainings, and see it as a great umbrella term to refer to all diverse sexualities and genders. Here’s how we define it in our vocabulary:
Queer – (adj) used as an umbrella term to describe individuals who don’t identify as straight. Also used to describe people who have non-normative gender identity or as a political affiliation. Due to its historical use as a derogatory term, it is not embraced or used by all members of the LGBTQ community. The term queer can often be use interchangeably with LGBTQ.
If you’re unsure if you should use it, or when you should/shouldn’t, here are two helpful rules: use it as an adjective (e.g., “Meg is a queer educator” — yay!) not a noun (e.g., “Meg is a queer” — blegh.); and use it if you’re comfy explaining why you use it.