Michael Henry On How We Identify: Gay Or Queer?

The latest short film from funnyman Michael Henry brings up a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on: the use of the term ‘queer.’

Michael is hanging out with Kenny (Zach Noe Towers) and Kevin (Kevin McDonald) discussing plans for the evening.

Kenny is heading down to the Crap Shoot – apparently it’s a new bathhouse down the street from his abode.

Michael has big plans with a frozen pizza before dropping in at Crowbar for craft night.

That gets a big “ewwwww” from Kenny eliciting raised eyebrows from Michael and Kevin.

L-R Kevin McDonald, Michael Henry (screen captures via YouTube)

Kenny explains, “I don’t go there anymore,” explains Kenny. “Cause it’s not a gay bar anymore and I live to go to gay bars.”

Pointing out that the Crowbar is a queer bar, our tie-dyed dissenter drops another hot take: “Well, I’m not queer.”

Jaws drop, funny sound effects…

And the boys jump in with their own recollections of ‘gay’ behavior in Kenny’s past including some mouthy moments with a DJ.

But Kenny breaks it down: “Right. I’m a gay man. I only date men. I only f*ck men.  I only blow DJs.”

When Michael explains that ‘queer’ is an umbrella term, Kenny concurs. Kinda sorta.

Zach Noe Towers

“Right, and I’m only one thing – gay,” says Kenny. “I just think the term ‘queer’ minimizes my experience as a gay man. I fought way too hard – both society and myself – to be ok with the term ‘gay.’”

“When I go out I like to be surrounded by other gay men,” he adds. “I don’t want to bump and grind with a girl on the dance floor or share a unisex bathroom.”

There’s more to the back and forth including why folks go to bars in the first place, but I don’t want to spoil the dialogue. So, moving along…

Taking that all in, Michael asks, “So this is why you don’t associate with the label ‘queer?’”

L-R Michael Henry, Zach Noe Towers

That opens the door for Kenny to touch on an aspect of the term that still stirs the pot for some – the fact that for years it was a hideous slur used to demean LGBTQ people.

“When I was a kid it was a really derogatory term,” Kenny explains. “The people who called me ‘queer’ in the cafeteria weren’t trying to form a community.”

As with much of Michael Henry’s work, he brings a nuanced discussion to the table such that both sides of the issue can be considered.

In the comments of the YouTube page, many brought up the fact that not all cities and towns have separate “queer” and “gay” bars.

Another commenter shared that “yes, we can all exist together but it’s also nice to have your own space with people who identify they way you do.”

Readers – let me know in the comment section what you think about the word ‘queer’ and if community bars should be all-welcoming or cater to different aspects of LGBTQ life.

Make sure you stay to the end as Kenny shares news of the pizza station at Crap Shoot: “Free toppings for all bottoms.”