Both of these are words that I identify with quite strongly. And I often find myself wondering why.
Both are outsider words. Words saying "I'm not normal"
My mother wanted terribly for me to be "normal" - is it simply "rebellion" - almost 20 years since the end of teenage, for me?
I am a lesbian, and started using the word "queer" as simply something "easier" than saying "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender" to identify my community (even before I knew any trans folks, I identified them as my community - as "other")
Now I think it is evolving. It means something to others that I'm not sure I understand. I found this on Wikipedia, it's the closest thing I've found to what I'm talking about:
"Because of the context in which it was reclaimed, queer has sociopolitical connotations, and is often preferred by those who are activists, by those who strongly reject traditional gender identities, by those who reject distinct sexual identities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, and by those who see themselves as oppressed by the heteronormativity of the larger culture. In this context "queer" is not a synonym for LGBT and many activist groups accept the acronym LGBTQ as preferable to the less inclusive LGBT."
We are having an adult education forum at meeting on what "bi" and "queer" mean, as we are working towards a greater understanding in our meeting of GLBTIQ issues (I is for intersex, again, I know no one who identifies this way, at least who identifies to me this way) And I wonder if I "count" as "queer" - I see it somehow as breaking the rules, or challenging the rules. And I find that some of my inclinations are quite traditional.
I am a lesbian, yes, but I am also monogamous (profoundly so), and would like to be married someday. The idea of marriage has deep meaning to me. I am not "into" S/M (not the least little bit), etc. There are many many "rules" that I do not break.
But for me, I think, the key is that I don't break them because I have no incliation to. I don't feel that G-d will strike me down (or even think less of me) if I have more than one sexual partner. I simply know that it would be the wrong path for me.
I even have straight, monogamous friends who I think of as "queer" - not because they do anything to stand out, but because I have faith that they act on their hearts, and their leadings. I believe that no part of their heterosexuality is rooted in fear of G-d or society, but its entirety is rooted in the calling of their hearts (and the rest of their bodies!)
I know lesbians who I do not tend to think of as "queer" because they seem to have an investment in "blending in" - a question of looking for your piece of the pie, rather than thinking about massive redistrubution of pie, or even about having tapioca pudding instead (I am having tapioca cravings lately)
I don't know so much about "freak" - I think I have just felt like one all my life, and like "reclaiming" the words "dyke" or "queer" - It's been a process of saying, to the "mainstream" - "yes, you are right, I am not like you, I am in some ways profoundly different, and that is something that I cherish, now that I have come to fear it less"