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Browsing through one page I have stumbled upon a quote whose meaning I can't fully understand. This is the citation:

If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work: 'Hey can't work today, still queer'.

I can't come up with the meaning for 'call in queer to work'. It would be helpful if someone could elucidate me its meaning.

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closed as general reference by J.R., FumbleFingers, Kristina Lopez, Hellion, MετάEd Jun 6 '13 at 1:07

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It's a rephrasing of "call in sick to work," which means, call your place of employment on the phone, and say, "I'm sick; I won't be coming into work today." – J.R. Jun 5 '13 at 17:40
I think this is General Reference, in that although many native speakers might do a "double-take" at this quirky one-off usage, the meaning itself will be obvious to them. There might be something interesting behind the idiomatic usage call in/out sick, but that's not what's being asked here. – FumbleFingers Jun 5 '13 at 18:29
@mic4ael You're seem to be questions of the sort that are ideally suited to the ell.stackexchange.com site. Are you not a native speaker of English? – Kaz Jun 5 '13 at 22:40
up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is a bit of a joke on the claim that homosexuality is a disease. If you had the flu, you might call your boss and ask for the day off - we would say that you "called in sick to work". Similarly, if you had some chronic health condition - say chronic back pain - you might occasionally 'call in sick' to work to ask for the day off because you're experiencing high levels of pain that day. So the idea here is that if homosexuality is a disease, you could calling in sick as with any other disease. To emphasize this, the word 'sick' is replaced with 'queer', since this is the "disease" you are calling work about.

"Call in queer to work", then, means to ask for the day off from work due to having the "disease" homosexuality.

I believe the idea here is to take the concept of homosexuality as a disease to an extreme, which then demonstrates more intuitively the inappropriateness of this conceptualization of homosexuality.

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Thanks a lot, now everything is clear to me. – mic4ael Jun 5 '13 at 17:46
I came here because i wanted to answer the question, but there is nothing left to add :) @mic4ael: you might want to mark it as accepted answer. – Matthaeus Jun 5 '13 at 17:48
I can add that the form of argument is called reductio ad absurdum. – Andrew Leach Jun 5 '13 at 17:50
Thanks AndrewLeach, I was trying to remember that term but it escaped me for the moment. – Azula R. Jun 5 '13 at 17:51
What seems to be taken as read here - and is no doubt understood by many readers, but may not be understood by some who are learning English - is that queers was a derogatory term used to refer to homosexuals. – TrevorD Jun 5 '13 at 20:04

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