Life & Language: the Dictionary of the Queer International

Life & Language: the Dictionary of the Queer International

This series on queer language gathers personal stories, linguistic histories, creative writing, and cultural narratives that gesture toward the realization of an internationalist solidarity infused with the struggles, histories, desires, and exuberances of queer life and language everywhere.

The Dictionary of the Queer International, compiled and edited by Yevgeniy Fiks, was published in 2020 by Publication Studio Guelph, an entity affiliated with Musagetes and ArtsEverywhere. Responding to the editor’s open call, people around the world submitted words and phrases in forty languages, representing nearly every major linguistic family. The dictionary retained the eccentricities, nuances, and linguistic particularities of each submission in its original language, often without an English translation. The reader’s experience is much like that of Lewis Carroll, imagining Alice into being on a “golden afternoon.”

The Dictionary compiles real and imaginary queer defense fusion-languages to propose a vision of international, intersectional, and non-hierarchical queer culture. Some of the words and phrases are highly local, while others have been taken up by region after region, like tea along the Silk Road. Some words were born yesterday, some are as old as lavender, and others are just now being exhumed by linguists.

The Dictionary is a manifestation of queer language in “internationalist universality” as opposed to “neoliberal globalization” — a vision of an international queer language of multi-locality and horizontality rather than of globalized appropriation, extraction, and exploitation.

The personal stories, linguistic histories, and cultural narratives that were commissioned for this series were imagined by the editors to breathe further life into the Dictionary, and to gesture toward the realization of an internationalist solidarity infused with the struggles, histories, desires, and exuberances of queer life and language everywhere.

– Yevgeniy Fiks and Shawn Van Sluys

Header illustration by Hagra

queer tongue gloss
8 min Read Now

queer tongue gloss

Mavi Veloso’s queer trans language is always in flux, twisting Brazilian Portuguese and English phrases into new contortions that coat the tongue in a queer kind of gloss. Listen as she performs an essay-poem (or something like that). Supplemented by a queer abécédaire.

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