A new dictionary is spotlighting queer terms from more than 30 countries, ranging from Azerbaijan and Belarus all the way to Tunisia and Venezuela.
Edited by the Moscow-born, New York-based artist and writer Yevgeniy Fiks, the 92-page Dictionary of the Queer International was crowd-sourced internationally and published by Publication Studio Guelph, a small print-on-demand studio in Ontario.
Fiks arranged the words and phrases in the order in which they were submitted, in order to avoid any linguistic or alphabetical hierarchisation. “We need a queer culture and a queer language that doesn’t replicate power structures and privilege,” he explained.
“I’m amazed at the deep and organic connection between local queer vocabulary and their native historical contexts,” Fiks said. “Queer vocabulary is so rich, so dense, with a great sense of selfhood and resilience. And sometimes you fall off your chair laughing because it’s so heavenly camp!”
The book also includes an introductory essay by Evgeny Shtorn, a researcher from St Petersburg who was forced to leave Russia in 2018 due to his LGBTQ activism. In his deeply personal text, the now Ireland-based Shtorn meditates on the informal Russian term for gay, “golu-boi” (meaning “blue sky” or “light blue” in English). “Saving words is like keeping the keys of a sold apartment,” he writes. “If we have them, we can easily access the spaces of imagination, of memory. But we can never again unlock that door.”
Get your own copy here.