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This Article can be read as a response to a question a federal appellate
judge asked me. During a clerkship interview, the judge inquired
about a course on my transcript subtitled "Queer Theory." I told him it
was a course on legal, political, and sociological theories of sexual orientation
and mapped some of its themes. He listened attentively, then
stated: "Actually, what I wanted to know was what the word 'queer'
means." Quick to rationalize authority, I assumed he knew what the word
meant, and was attempting to gauge the subtlety of my understanding of
it. So I responded: "My understanding is that it's a term once used in a
derogatory way towards homosexuals that has been co-opted by the gayrights
movement, like the pink triangle."' I was about to continue, when
he interrupted: "What's the pink triangle?" A beat. I replied: "The pink
triangle was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust to designate homosexuals."
The judge said: "I didn't know that."
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