I am a queer British-American citizen. For some people, that sentence might be uncomfortable to read. It probably has less to do with my citizenship than the word I use to describe my sexual and gender orientation: Queer. As early as 1500, the word has meant "strange" or "other". It specifically became a slur targeted toward homosexuals around the turn of the twentieth century. Flamboyant gay men, manly lesbian women, and transgender individuals were called queer. It was one of the worst things you could be called, and allegations that someone was queer could get them fired, kicked out of their homes, and even beaten or killed.
In the middle of the AIDs crisis in the 1980s, the word queer was reclaimed by the LGBT community as both a rallying cry and a protest. A popular slogan of the era was "We're here, we're queer, we will not live in fear!". The alternate version, "We're here, we're queer, get used to it!" was more commonly used for protests. Since then, the LGBT community and the world has gone back and forth on whether or not queer should be a derogatory slur or a proud exclamation. So why do I use it to describe myself?
Nearly everyone is familiar with the first two letters of the acronym. "L" stands for lesbian and "G" stands for gay. Most people know that "T" stands for transgender, and about half the people I've talked to know that "B" stands for bisexual (not bacon). However, what about the others, like myself, who don't neatly fall into these four categories? It's exhausting to say "I'm a pansexual demigirl," and then have to explain what those weird terms mean. It's simply easier to say "I am queer" and move on.
For those who don't know what those weird terms mean, here is a more or less comprehensive glossary of words used by the LGBT community. I am attracted to people of any or no gender, and I see myself as partially a girl, partially something else. I don't really know what that something else is, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that I am comfortable with how I see myself. For me, "gay" as an umbrella term just doesn't feel quite right. Therefore, I use queer as an easy umbrella term to describe who I am and who I love.