The idea of “queer use” has a long history:

→ A queer use is when you use something for a purpose “very different” from that which was “originally intended.”

Uses are not determined by intended function

Use need not correspond to intended function. Most if not all objects can have a use, or, more accurately be made useable by being put to use. A sledgehammer can pound or it can be used as a paperweight or lever. A handsaw can cut a board and be used as straight-edge or to make music. A chair can be sat in and used to prop open a door. These uses make them “useful objects”.

→ Something cannot be used for anything, which means that use is a restriction of possibility that is material. Nevertheless, there is something queer about use; intentions do not exhaust possibilities.

Spaces not intended for us


Queer use

For some, to be accommodated requires modifying an existing structure or arrangement. Those who are not accommodated are often required to do this work – even if what they are asking for is compliance with existing polices. We can call this work diversity work:  the work we have to do in order to be accommodated; the work we have to do because we are not accommodated. Queer use is another way of thinking about diversity work, which is to say, queer use can be understood as the ordinary and painstaking work of challenging existing structures or modifying existing arrangements.


Diversity is this sign: bird welcome, or more typically, minorities welcome!