Why "Queer" keys? Isn't "queer" a derogatory word?

We intentionally chose the word “queer” for our organization because we feel strongly that this word is representative of the future of the LGBTQ+ movement. The word has a complicated history and it defies concrete definition. Yes, the word “queer” has been used to slander and attack members of our community, and it can certainly be triggering for elders in the community. It is important to use the word consciously and to acknowledge its damaging history. However, the term itself also represents a more expansive view of gender and sexuality than traditional LGBTQ+ identity politics has permitted, and it is being readily used by younger generations of queer youth. To us, “queer” means not identified with the rigid prevailing heteronormative societal structure. Or, in other words, be yourself and be celebrated!

Is Queer Keys just a youth program? Your mission statement doesn't mention youth directly.

The ultimate vision of Queer Keys is a fully-resourced LGBTQIA+ community center. We believe that the only way for the queer community to thrive is if we rally our resources to help members of the community who are struggling the most. The national fights for marriage equality were monumental, but that work did nothing to help LGBTQIA+ homeless youth who comprise 40% of homeless youth nationwide, nor did it do anything to address systemic racism, nor did it support our queer siblings who are undocumented immigrants. Our flagship program is a youth program because queer youth, particularly in the state of Florida that is actively trying to prevent safe sex education and gender-affirming care from taking place, are uniquely disenfranchised and need support from community elders.

Does Key West need a queer community organization? It's already so accepting and inclusive.

Key West is a special place. Creativity, resiliency, celebration, and community are built into the fabric of this island. There is an air of acceptance here that invites folks to be who they want to be. That is why we love it so much. However, there is a serious lack of supportive resources for the LGBTQIA+ community. We are talking about transgender health services. We are talking LGBTQIA+ support groups. We are talking social supports for LGBTQIA+ seniors. We are talking FREE STI screenings and LGBTQIA+ informed mental health services. A queer community center in Key West is about more than tolerance and acceptance, it is about celebration and increasing life-chances for our queer siblings. The motto of the island is “One Human Family,” and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten (yes, that’s a Lilo and Stitch reference).

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