As I’ve talked to more people about the Quiet Deviants brand, I’ve heard one consistent piece of feedback. Some people are hesitant to accept or wear the word “deviant,” regardless of their age. It’s important to me to share why I picked that as the name, as I hope it will clear up any confusion or ignorance on my part.
The word “deviant” has long held a negative connotation for the LGBTQ community. Medical professionals, religious figureheads, and most people in power were more than happy to use the word as a way to promote fear and hate towards our community. I’d wager that in terms of ranking, it’s not at the top of the derogatory term list, but it’s certainly on it. The power of words is often underestimated. The damage that the word “deviant” has done—especially as the gay rights movement was in its infancy—are not insignificant.
Being well aware of the history, as I was going over names for this brand I decided to look up the actual dictionary definition of deviant. According to Dictionary.com, deviant is “a person or thing that deviates or departs markedly from the accepted norm.” The first time I read it, I was struck by the simplicity. It’s not defined as anything negative, just different. It’s also a definition I wholeheartedly identify with. I absolutely see our community as departing from the norm.
We constantly refine and reject the normal gender roles that place people in strict boxes and suffocate their ability to express their emotions and happiness. There are so many different examples: writers, lawyers, artists, drag queens, athletes, models, and activists all contribute to redefine what the norm of society actually is. Even just the act of being out and unapologetically proud of who we are is a push back against the idea that anyone deemed “other” should be content with tolerance or a lack of persecution.
So yes, I think we are deviants in the best way—unapologetic, undeniable, distinct deviants that burn the script written for us and write a new one. My goal is that Quiet Deviants can reclaim the word deviant in to a one that encourages a fresh, feisty energy.
You can read the definition of deviant used in this article here.