It is a platonic relationship, so it does not contain sexuality/eroticism or romance, although some people involved in light or non-traditional romantic relationship might also categorize themselves as being queerplatonic. As a non-romantic relationship, people in a queerplatonic relationship are not restricted to have just one queerplatonic partner ("QP" or "QPP"). Because queerplatonic relationships are not based on exclusivity, a participant of the relationship may have multiple QPPs and exclusive relationships (romantic or sexual) with a third party not involved in the relationship.
For example, some of the social norms for friendship, in some cultures, dictate that friendships are emotionally shallow compared to romance, are fleeting, short-term, or noncommited, and do not involve partnership ties. Social norms for romantic relationships dictate that romantic relationships will always be more important than friendships, that romantic partners should move in together and coordinate their lives together as a monogamous pair, and that only romantic partners should adopt, raise children, or even engage in certain forms of affection such as kissing or hand-holding. In her book Minimizing marriage, contemporary philosopher Elizabeth Brake talks about those norms, a concept that is adverse to queerplatonic thought, naming it "amatonormativity": "the disproportionate focus on marital and amorous love relationships as special sites of value, and the assumption that romantic love is a universal goal. Amatonormativity consists in the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in that should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types." Relationships can be considered queerplatonic when they break norms similar to those. As an example of what those norms forbid, in some situations the people involved in queerplatonic relationships can show physical affection such as cheek kisses, pecks on the lips, holding hands, sitting on each other's lap, seeing each other naked, cuddling and sleeping together (not euphemistically). To QPPs, these activities are not necessarily romantic nor sexual/erotic.
As an umbrella term, participants in queerplatonic relationships may choose any terminology they like for each other. The people involved do not have to identify as "queer", it is a type of relationship experienced by and available to anybody regardless of their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, or (non-)monogamy. These participants may consider themselves friends, partners, life-partners, a couple, a triad, or use any other words that suit them. There is also a queerplatonic-specific partner term, as well -- "zucchini". As in, "they're my zucchini", originally a joke within the aromantic asexual community, underscoring the lack of words in mainstream relationship discourse to signify meaningful relationships that do not follow the standard and expected sexual/romantic norms, and frustration with the erasure of other kinds of intimacy, which were perceived as equally valuable to the sexual/romantic model. "Squish", which is used as the platonic version of "crush", is another term to describe partners in queerplatonic relationships - even if the queerplatonic relationship has its own term "plush" as an alternative for "crush".
The term "queerplatonic," first developed by Kaz and S. E. Smith in 2010, is a combination of the term platonic with the term queer, as in different. It is open to being used by people of any identity. Tumblr user ‹spectra-fidelis› described queerplatonic relationships thus:
"if you'd picture romance with taper candles over dinner, and sexual relationship as a queen bed, I would try picturing the queerplatonic as string lights over tea and a bunk bed with tin can-and-wire phones between them. The same, but not."
According to The Oxford English dictionary, the first registered examples of the meaning "Strange, odd, peculiar, eccentric, in appearance or character" for queer (1508) predate in more than four centuries a meaning that directly implies 'not heterosexual or cisgender' (1922). Although the use of queerplatonic for the concept presented in this article is a 21st-century phenomenon, adjectifying something platonic as "queer" is not recent, as show the three following examples: "indulging in a queer, platonic flirtation", 1936; "What a queer chap you are, he says, with your Platonic love! [/] Queer. . .Platonic . . .", 1971; "he talks in that queer platonic vein at the end of Faust", 1994. Due to the controversy surrounding the reclamation of ''queer'' in some spaces, however, there are alternatives to queerplatonic such as is "quasiplatonic" or "quirkyplatonic".
QPRs are celebrated on QPR Day, which occurs on the third Saturday of July.
- A Genealogy of Queerplatonic
- Word of the Day: Queerplatonic
- Dorothy Margaret Stuart. Molly Lepell, Lady Hervey. London: G.G. Harrap, 1936. p. 169.
- Morris Beja (compiler). Psychological Fiction. London: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1971. p. 154.
- The letters of John Cowper Powys to Frances Gregg. London: Cecil Woolf, 1994. v. 1, p. 73.