Tenderqueer comics and tweet example.


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Tenderqueer is a contentious slang term used to describe an emotional LGBTQ+ person with a sensitive and openly emotional disposition who uses their knowledge of social justice language in order to be insincere or avoid accountability for their own actions. However, the word "tenderqueer" has been discussed in popular culture since at least 2012 when it was first used as an aesthetic signifier for "femininity" and "softness." The term's definition has become subject to debate after it gained wider popularization on Twitter and pop culture. Another phrase used in conjunction with the word tenderqueer is "Steven Universe Gay," a phrase also associated with young queer people who have particular clichéd interests.


According to a 2018 article in Guts Magazine, the tenderqueer hashtag on Tumblr can be traced back to the year 2012. It was initially used by LGBTQ+ people engaging with pastel and floral aesthetics, as well as text posts about "vulnerability, coping, and feelings."[1]

On September 30th, 2014, Tumblr[2] user @bubbly-suffer-girl posted a reply to an anonymous user asking what "tenderqueer" means, gathering over 80 notes in over eight years (seen below).

Anonymous asked: what is a tenderqueer autogynephile-deactivated202109: a genderqueer cafab person who uses floral print and ironic pizza affinity to mask the violence of their emotional labor vacuum. sucks all the benefit out of transmisogyny that they can by "identifying" as a man or at least a definite non-woman EXCEPT when they want to enter a women's space via The Moon is a Gay Trans Woman Sep 30 86 t

According to Wiktionary, the word tenderqueer has also been used in a non-derogatory, self-descriptive manner by various LGBTQ artists and activists in the 2010s (seen below).[3]

Noun [edit] tenderqueer (plural tenderqueers) 1. (slang, sometimes derogatory) An LGBT+ person with a gentle, sensitive, openly emotional disposition, particularly when cultivated as an insincere or self-serving affectation. [quotations ▲] ● • 2016, Sally Mulligan, "Turn A Look: Taurus", PQ Monthly, April/May 2016, page 21 : Carrying your comfort with you is protection for the sweetly sensitive bull. You're a tenderqueer of few words, and you always make them count. • 2017, Lindsay Nixon, "Fallon Simard - Monetized, But Agential, Bodies in Ghost Worlds", Esse, Number 91, Fall 2017, page 70 : Sad Boi extraordinaire, reproductive justice fighter and unabashed tenderqueer-Fallon Simard is a rare voice within Indigenous art.


On February 12th, 2017, Twitter[4] user @morganmpage posted a tweet acknowledging the negative connotations behind the word tenderqueer, gathering more than 90 likes in over five years (seen below, left). On August 10th, 2018, Twitter[5] user @gnostiquette posted a tweet about how "tenderqueers" are the queer equivalents of "nice guys," adding that it is dangerous to accidentally stigmatize "niceness." The post gathered nearly 100 likes in roughly four years (seen below, right).

Morgan M Page @morganmpage Replying to @morganmpage I hate to sound like a tenderqueer but honestly: try journalling, meditation, and exercise. Examine your diet. 10:10 AM Feb 12, 2017 2 Retweets 93 Likes ... Film Brocialisme @gnostiquette The appeal of the term 'Nice Guy' is that they aren't actually nice, it's ironic. Then came 'soft boy' and now people are trying to introduce abominations like 'tenderqueer'. But - hear me out - perhaps it's not a good idea to accidentally stigmatise pleasantness in general. 3:40 AM - Aug 10, 2018 12 Retweets 94 Likes :

On October 31st, 2019, Twitter[6] user @hologramvin posted a tweet with their definition of "tenderqueer," becoming the first tweet using the term to gain over 1,000 likes in over three years (seen below, left). On January 11th, 2020, Twitter user @agenderbird posted a tweet about "tenderqueers," gathering over 7,000 likes before making their account private (seen below, right).

vin; androgyne @hologramvin "tenderqueer" has become shorthand to me for "if you ever tell me im not perfect and good i will tell everyone youre abusive and that youre a danger and a risk to community safety, rather than practice any self- analysis ever at all" 2:24 PM Oct 31, 2019 128 Retweets 52 Quote Tweets 1,197 Likes T_T @agenderbird if youre dating a tenderqueer ur single to me. wtf is oliver gonna do? hold space for me? 5:03 PM Jan 11, 2020 Twitter Web App 704 Retweets 116 Quote Tweets 7.3K Likes 27 000 ↑

On November 25th, 2020, Substack[7] user dollyrose posted a now often-quoted substack post titled, "The Cursed Privilege of the Tenderqueer: And Why You Should Cultivate Some Resilience in Order to Avoid Becoming One" (seen below).

The Cursed Privilege of the Tenderqueer And Why You Should Cultivate Some Resilience in Order to Avoid Becoming One Dolly Rose Nov 25, 2020 37 23 ↑₁ I don't remember the first time I heard the word "tenderqueer" but as soon as I did, I knew who they were, and I knew that I wasn't one. In fact, I'm pretty certain that it would be just about impossible for a Black woman to get away with tenderqueer behavior at all. In tenderqueer discourse, much is often made of their sartorial choices-overalls, cozy sweaters, primary colors, bowl cuts... jokes are made about their craft fairs, daytime dance parties, and birdwatching clubs, but I believe it's important to state that the tenderqueer can present themself in many forms. As far as I can tell, the hallmark of a true tenderqueer is an unwavering avoidance of responsibility or culpability at all costs, paired with the use of social justice and personal advocacy language to ensure that lack of accountability.

In August 2022, the word "tenderqueer" came under renewed interest after news emerged that Ana Mardoll, a person many described as a "liberal tenderqueer," worked at weapons manufacturing company Lockheed Martin. The word also saw renewed interest after Twitch streamer Keffals accused tenderqueers of lodging unfounded criticisms against her.

Various Examples

REGARDING THE TERM "TENDERQUEER" IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT... CLICKETY- CLACK! FLAME DE 3 MMMM... TENDERQUEERS... O 15 Tyson 100% FUN NUGGETS CHICKEN TENDERS 60² عند O Womenlover @Womenlover420 Sep 30, 2022 This isn't true because I dont get hard when someone calls me a tenderqueer Stacy @stacycay Sep 27, 2022 Show this thread O 43 "TENDERQUEER" F-SLUR 445 LETS SEE WHO YOU REALLY ARE 7,455 ill (→ : Online Personalities WHITE Punks choose: NE Voting is harm reduction liberal Fuck Gentrification Gentrifier ODLU "Repost/COMMENT/SHARE/ BOOST my living expenses mutual aid post " transplant m "Punch a n@zee" tenderqueer that can't throw a punch X S Vegan Weaponizes call outs against black and brown people REIN imagine being raised nonbinary and then you come out as a cis man to your tenderqueer parents and they kick you out mai uur hr sometimes referring to god with female pronouns not in a blue hair tenderqueer g liberal christianity 22 way but in a caroline 9 walker bynum jesus as mother medieval affective piety way tutti wish 20 aw www in DISCOURSE THIS, TENDERQUEER THAT ME I JUST want to be a catgirl FOR GODS SAKE

Search Interest

External References

[1] Guts Magazine – The Cultural Politics Of Softness

[2] Tumblr – bubbly-suffer-girl

[3] Wiktionary – tenderqueer

[4]  Twitter – morganmpage

[5] Twitter – gnostiquette

[6] Twitter – hologramvin

[7] Substack – dollyrose

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