Through conversations between Jaime and Mahdi on sexual pronounces and terminology in both languages, Arabic and English, they translated their own conversations to a text-based project investigating and highlighting moments from their conversations and Arabic terms using different methods of typography.
التاريخ كوير “Queer” as a term transliterated into Arabic is a word used modernly, since its gaining of so much definition during the gay liberation movement in the mid twentieth century in America. The translation into Arabic has, too, become an expression of some of this weight shared between the many cultures fraught with challenges of homophobia, exploitation, self identity, and acceptance. Its importance is understood primarily by speakers who are more intimately familiar with queerness and the challenges that this word is able to express when others can not. Therefore, “التاريخ كوير,” the Arabic phrase that I used in discussing the history of the English word “queer,” it somewhat of an oxymoron in terminology yet at the same time lends validity to the people who may term themselves “كوير”: in that their people have a history of love and survival even when it has been erased.
متحول والمصحح الجنسي These two phrases are used by Arabic speakers to describe people who fall under the English umbrella term “transgender” which is a term I sometimes use to describe my gender identity. The former (متحول ) literally translates to “mutant, unsteady, inconsistent (gender)” while the latter (المصحح ) is considered more appropriate in queer, Arabic speaking communities due to its literal translation of “corrected, emeded, adjusted (gender).” I became obsessed with متحول during this project since I feel it is more descriptive of my personal gender experiences than any English term I’ve used. As far as our conversation went, Mahdi and I were unable to figure out what Arabic pronouns are used for a person who does not prefer one gender over another. The transgender person who is able to correct their gender is preferred to that which is lost in the unsteadiness of gender fluidity.