coming out

David Sedaris ignites a firestorm by saying he dislikes the term “queer” and is now “straight”

David Sedaris
David Sedaris (Photo: YouTube)

Famed humorist and writer David Sedaris really doesn’t like the term “queer”. Or at least, he has no desire to apply it to himself.

On a segment for CBS Sunday Morning yesterday, he set out his reasons, explaining why he doesn’t feel the need to rebrand himself yet again and questioning some of the people adopting the term “queer” for themselves.

You can watch below.

“I never liked the term ‘coming out.’ Still, I did it. This was back in the 1970s. Now I’m having to do it all over again,” he began. “I’m 65 years old. I’ve been with the same guy for 31 years, and on this day I am announcing to the world that I am straight.”

“I haven’t met anyone else, haven’t fallen in love with a woman. I’ve simply done fighting the term ‘queer.’ What bothers me is not that it used to be a slur. I just don’t see why I have to be rebranded for the fourth time in my life.”

He continued, “I started as a homosexual, became gay, then LGBT, and now queer. And for what? Why the makeovers? And what will it be next?”

“I read an interview with a woman who identifies as queer because she’s tall. That’s it — she’s never had a relationship with another woman, doesn’t care to for all I know. So, what does it mean that we’re both suddenly queer? I’m not tall. Just the opposite. There are parking meters that stand higher than I do.”

Sedaris concluded, “It no longer matters what you are in practice, just how you identify. I’m going with heterosexual because, like the words Jewish or female, it rarely if ever changes. I need a resting place, and this is as a good a one as any.”

Related: What does the word “queer” mean to you? The Internet sounds off…

Sedaris published his first collection of essays and short stories, Barrel Fever, in 1994. His next book, Naked, in 1997, was the first of several New York Times bestsellers. Much of his work is autobiographical. He was born in New York but since 2019 has lived in England with his partner: set designer and painter Hugh Hamrick.

Sedaris’ comments prompted a divided reaction online, from some claiming he knew nothing about the meaning of “queer” to those who welcomed his stance.

Don't forget to share: