IG's @WorstOfQueerExchange Shows How Ridiculous Queer Culture Can Be

“Used sex toys. Two inches of hair cut off someone’s head, an a disturbing amount of dead animals to be taxidermied, usually in Western Mass.”

Nov 1 2021, 12:00pm

If you’re not queer, you might not have heard of Queer Exchange, a network of localized groups on Facebook where people can connect with others in hopes of buying or selling goods and sharing information. If you are queer, there’s a more-than-zero chance you’ve participated in your local group in some capacity. Most major cities have a Queer Exchange and the posts in these groups range from people seeking roommates and selling furniture to exchanging job opportunities and asking where the gays hang out on a Saturday night. Queer exchange is a free and valuable resource to many. 

Advertisement

While these Facebook groups do a lot of good, they are—as online spaces frequently tend to be—rife with drama. In some online communities, “drama” might mean “people rightfully calling out racism and transphobia,” but in a Queer Exchange group, it's more likely to be a post with 102 comments about trigger warnings on cat food.

Over on Instagram, the account Worst Of Queer Exchange takes it upon itself to highlight… well… the worst of Queer Exchange. The account takes submissions and then showcases the most bizarre and ridiculous posts, comments, and items that have ever appeared in the various Facebook groups. As someone who has used Queer Exchange numerous times, I get a kick out of seeing the wild, weird, and at times convoluted posts that end up on Worst Of Queer Exchange. (And I should caveat that even my work has popped up in a Worst Of Queer Exchange post. And I get it! That’s a weird shirt and an even weirder one to re-sell!)  

To learn more about the brilliance of this Instagram account, I talked to the anonymous admin of Worst Of Queer Exchange about how over-the-top and ridiculous queer culture can sometimes be.

Can you tell me about your experience with Queer Exchange over the years? 

Every time I’ve moved to a new city, I’ve joined the local Facebook Queer Exchange group to look for housing, furniture, etc. I’ve occasionally found some good stuff and I bought a guitar once, but the housing group posts rarely inspire confidence. I definitely go to Craigslist over QE these days.

Advertisement

I will say I continue to go back to Queer Exchange, even when maybe Craigslist would be quicker and simpler to search through. The idea of buying a desk from a homo feels a little sweeter than buying one from just some guy in the suburbs. What was the motivation behind creating The Worst Of Queer Exchange? 

I used to just screenshot the really egregious posts and send them to my friends, as I think many people do. Eventually I had so many screenshots building up, I needed an outlet. I didn’t put a lot of planning into this account; it was just the best way I could think of to find other people to acknowledge, like, “Yes, this is a crazy thing to post.”

So it started as a group chat and then just moved upward from there! How do you decide what to post? 

At first I just had a lot of screenshots stored up and mostly posted for myself and my friends. Now that there’s a decent following it’s fully fueled by submissions. I turn down a lot of stuff that’s too personal or invasive or just not that funny. I still get a lot of comments like “I love this, it should be Best of Queer Exchange” or “this isn’t that weird, I do this.” For the record, some posts are really good but @bestofqueerexchange was taken, and yes it is weird to make your dead fish into resin art.

For this interview, you’re choosing to remain anonymous; can you talk a little bit about why that is? 

I just don’t want to get harassed. I try not to be too mean but it’s inevitable that some people are going to be upset by these posts. I’m in my mid-twenties and currently living in NYC. A lot of people do know who I am, I just don’t want randos coming after me.

In some ways, I feel like these posts highlight an issue with not just online communication, but perhaps queer communities as well. Many of the comments on these posts are well-meaning people taking things to the most extreme degree. In your opinion, is this something that happens offline or a chronic online issue? 

I’m sure it’s exacerbated by being online but this is definitely a real phenomenon offline as well. Every queer person I know has had a roommate or acquaintance who exhibits some of the typical queer exchange pathologies (weird sexual boundaries/lack thereof, victim complex, can’t do dishes, makes “interesting” art, always embroiled in drama). We all know the tenderqueer/smol bean type is out there, too.

Advertisement

I feel like WOQE a great outlet to laugh at ourselves and get out the gripes/grievances we all have with the queer community. I get a lot of duplicate submissions whenever some drama goes down in a QE group, as well as comments like “omg, I was hoping this would show up here,” so it seems like everyone has been privately sharing and laughing about the same posts, but WOQE makes it more public. It’s fun to have a big in-group to joke with.

Ahh yes… the tenderqueers. One of the best parts of Queer Exchange is folks giving/selling goods to other queer folks, however sometimes those goods can be really bizarre. What have been some of the strangest things you’ve seen being sold/given?

Lots of used sex toys and menstrual cups. A giant papier mâché centaur. A Minion bong. Uterus shaped confetti. An ethical bong cleaning service. Two inches of hair cut off someone’s head. And a disturbing amount of dead animals to be taxidermied, usually in Western Mass.

As a frequent reviewer of sex toys, I have more than I know what to do with, I am definitely guilty of giving away sex toys on Queer Exchange (and I always get takers)! I just want to share the love! Is there a Worst Of Queer Exchange post that you really want to make sure our readers view?

The notorious lost ferret fiasco, for sure.

Basically, someone’s dog found a tame ferret in their house and they were hoping someone else could take care of the ferret while searching for the owner. Some started suggesting they go door-to-door asking neighbors about the ferret, others said it was insensitive and privileged to think anyone could go knocking on doors. One person said they were triggered, and then there was a lot of processing about how people prioritized the ferret over OP’s safety, racism/classism/ableism accusations were thrown out, there was animal rights discourse, and there were speculations about housing insecurity. Everything ended up totally fine aside from a couple bans from the group. The comments are definitely worth a read, I can’t do the language and intensity justice in a summary.

Follow Archie Bongiovanni on Twitter.

Tagged:

Instagram, queer culture, queer exchange

More
like this
This Tiny LGBTQ Bookstore Is a Queer Haven in Small-Town Mississippi
A Beginner’s Guide to Having Really Great Anal Sex
How to Stock Your Nightstand With Lubes for Every Sexual Occasion
Intimate Photos of What Non-Binary Love and Sex Look Like
The Best Sex Toy Gifts for Every Ho-Ho-Horny Partner
Sex Toy Advent Calendars Are Everywhere, But Are They Any Good?
It’s Time to Admit the Theragun is a Sex Toy
Foreigners Reveal What Shocked Them About Sex in the UK