I want this text to be in conversation
Life & Language: the Dictionary of the Queer International (7/10)

I want this text to be in conversation

Anna T. reads the Dictionary of the Queer International and tells us how it moves her.

I want this text to be in conversation with (some of) the others in the Life & Language series. I read Omar Mismar’s “What time does the Arabic start?” Oof, can I feel it! Τι ώρα αρχίζουν τα ελληνικά; Καλά, πάμε να φύγουμε ρε. Αρχάγγελος, lizzard, άρωμα (γυναίκας), fantaseed, troll. Πάνε χρόνια τώρα. Neither me nor them are there anymore.

I want this text to be an extension of the Dictionary of the Queer International book. Evgeny Shtorn’s letter, “About a Particular Kind of Blue,” mentions the film Titanic. I feel that. Kate Winslet’s poster above my bed in black and white. Watching Heavenly Creatures με την Κ. Μετά Bound. Ξανά και ξανά. She has a PC, an ADSL internet connection, and a printer! We start printing a still from Bound that we found on some lesbian message board. We hear the keys in the door. It’s her brother. They share a bedroom. The printer is sooooo slow! The boy walks in. It’s time for me to go. I take the printed image with me. For my lavender folder. It will be filed with Xena (“Καλημέρα, Καληnoches, Χανιά Ηράκλειον”), a TV Guide clipping of Gia, and some of my drawings. The folder has the outline of a rainbow in blue Faber pen ink.

Heavenly Creatures – desire. “Be gay, do crime.”

Bound – learning by repetition

Two teenage girls stand in front of an old printer, waiting for an erotic image to print. The teenage brother is coming through the door.

In another attempt to get in touch with other *whispers* lesbians I go to the netcafe at the square. Behind the pool table there is a computer. I find a site/forum/don’trememberwhat and I contact some of the women posting there. One replies. Asks if I have a spouse. I don’t know the word and ask her what it means. She never replies.

spouse – (noun) partner

I find familiar words. First from my research, then from back in the day. Who gave Yevgeniy “λούμπα” and “μούτζα”? Is this jealousy I feel? How silly! There’s no ownership of language. Don’t be Daft. There’s no ownership, Punk. This is the Queer International μωρή!

μωρή – (interj.) reclaimed(?) slur towards women / femmes / gay men / queer individuals

What does it mean for a publication not to list sources? Are dictionaries obliged to reference sources? But then…maybe I can create something. Something fictional. This way I can play around more. Credibility? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I could reference Kaliarda (1971), but why feel the need for a reference list when discussing oral culture and personal experience? I could shamelessly self-promote and reference my book.

I continue reading:

passivona – power bottom” *chef’s kiss*

拉拉 – lesbian, 0 – bottom, 1 – top” <3

warmer – (lit. warm person, used as a derogatory label for gay), Austria” that tracks

Balasko in the film Gazon maudit” 😍 Victoria Abril – *melts*

Intifada – uprising”

I pause. I ponder again on the proximity of desire and revolt. By which I mean revolution. Of course.

Reading through the pages the entries jump at me. Some are familiar, for others I don’t even have an internal voice. I try to engage with their form, try to glean something from it while simultaneously trying to shed the expectation of understanding, engage with them by only admiring their form. Yikes. Is this what queering language could do? Their definition sometimes creates proximity. Other times it moves them further away from me.

It’s been more than a decade that I’ve lived abroad now. I mostly relate in English, some Kaliardeutsch with my partner, some Greek, some German here and there.

partner – (noun) spouse

kaliardeutsch – (noun, from Kaliarda [the Greek queer slang] + deutsch [the German language]) what I thought I would be documenting here but the text took me elsewhere

I listen to Mavi Veloso’s voice as she reads the text and take in Hagra’s illustration. So beautiful.

bixa – (noun) What Pêdra says and somehow makes me feel at home

In the chapter “Actions and Expressions” I find a semi-familiar entry. I have to admit I wonder how “ði’kelo” came to be. Sounds like someone had a good time 🙂

“Είναι κι αυτή ύποπτη;” a girl I had met on gaydargirls circa 2006 asked me. My girlfriend and I used τζίβα up to that point and I had never heard of ύποπτη used like that before.

ύποπτη – (noun/adjective) suspicious. Used for person one suspects is also a lesbian.

girlfriend – (noun) ex partner

Still thinking of “ði’kelo” though… It takes one doubt to re-read the dictionary with suspicion. I become suspicious.

The community in Greece is -No. I can’t write that. For one thing I don’t even know how to finish that sentence. So, anyway, κουιρ is used nowadays, a friend was even asked about their pronouns. («Το» if you must know.)

kουίρ, κουήρ, κουίαρ, κουήαρ – (adj.) we are , we crave connection, we are in Southeast Europe and in between jobs right now

I remember old friends and friendships. How differently we spoke. Some things, however, remain the same across ages and contexts. You have friends over. You’ve been preparing food in the kitchen for hours for them. Giahnisto tetoio, melitzanes politikes, patates fournou, salata me katiki. You’re excited to offer them warmth and connect with them. They come by to pick you up by car to go to the festival, the concert, the clubs, the shore, IKEA. No, you can’t go to their place. “They don’t know about me.”

about me – that I’m gay. They don’t know about you either.

politico – (adj.) syntagi apo Micrasiates

I remembered that a picture of me with a friend (taken by his boyfriend) in a σκυλάδικο was featured in a frame atop his mother’s commode. I was his girlfriend and the reason he had to go to Athens every weekend instead of visiting his family of origin. His boyfriend laughs.

σκυλάδικο – pop/folk/turbo folk establishment with live music. People “of the night” often used Kaliarda or otherwise dogwhistled to us.

I intended this text to be written looking back on the last two years and offering an alternative reality where Covid doesn’t exist and we can still connect in embodied ways, take our bodies places, and try things together. The entries of the other contributors led me down a different path though. Ultimately this text is composed of excerpts of a semi-fictitious dictionary, memories reactivated thanks to other contributions, and is a wishful thinking of languages connecting all of us in solidarity.

arisuriaki – a word that doesn’t exist yet but will in the future.

Filed Under: Articles & Essays

Written by

Anna T. is an educator, artist, θεωρητικού, και private intellectual. She is based in Vienna, Austria, and is working “on [her] publications.”

Illustration by

Hagra is an artist living in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. He was born in 1992 almost immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Hagra is a transgender person and a pansexual, so naturally the study of gender and sexuality and their place in post-Soviet culture has become the main focus of his art.

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