Categoriearchief: Queer

Polari – a queer tongue

This is a talk that I recently held in the Taalhuis Amsterdam as an introduction to queer tongues, Polari and specifically Dutch Trans Polari. Amidst of some thirty queer and linguistically interested people there were talks about queering Hebrew, Spanish, Farsi, and about (Trans) Polari.

Good evening y’all.

Varda the naff hommie with nante pots in the cupboard
Look at this unsightly wretch with the appalling dentistry

Get that bona jarrie down the screech
Eat that wonderful food

I had bona arva off the hommie back at the lattie
My masculine gentleman friend shagged me senseless in my house

You just saw the Polari song “Bona eke”, Nice face. I will tell you a bit about what Polari is and how it works, and then give Dutch and English examples. And about the hitherto probably totally unknown “trans Polari”. A variant that my Noodly friends and I invented in the 2000s.

The other speakers will talk about their own languages in which I am usually not versed enough so I leave that to them. Also, more speakers means more fun


Polari comes from Parlyaree, Palari, Parlare. Of course it reeks strongly after the Italian parlare, to talk, to speak. Its roots however are diverse than just Italian and range from 1600s English, a mixture of Molly slang (Regency England men who dressed in drag and coined words like “bitch” and “trade”), thieves cant (the Elizabethan rigmarole of criminals, circus travellers, and other undesirables), East London cockney slang, and Italian brought home by sailors in the Mediterranean. Thus states the world’s pre-eminent scholar on Polari, Paul Baker, whose book “Polari -the lost language of gay men”, I can recommend if you want to know a lot more about Polari. He talks about the language system for instance and of course also about the uses of Polari.

Foto van panleisten in Taalhuis sessie over queer taal in de Mediterranee

Panel over queer taal in de Meditaerranee

In the heydays of Polari, early 20th century until well after the decriminalization and relative destigmatisation of homosexuality, the queer community had a strong need of being able to understand each other, without being understood by the mainstream. So, slowly people developed a special “dialect”. An “anti-language”, part of an “anti-society”.
This anti-society has to do with repression and oppression. If this language or jargon, slang that belongs to repressed groups, then is anti-language.


Usually we incorrectly equate anti-language, underground language, to subculture in general, but that is too general. Subcultures can also be affirmative of societal developments. Back in the not so far away days and again now – sometimes still – queer people belong to the societally undesired populations.
Anti-language is thus minority language. Street language like Bargoens belongs to it. Or the Travelers’ languages Terrachu or Rotwelch. Youth language. And thus also Lubunca (from Turkish labunyaca) and Hijra Farsi (which is not Farsi like, but more Hindi based).
Polari and underground language also possibly have an identity forming aspect. It is a language that is in use by a certain group of people, leading to affirmation of group identity. I recognise that in the case of the Trans Polari. It definitely helped stimulate the group identity of a small trans community in Amsterdam 🙂


An interesting and linguistically important feature of Polari is that it is more than a vocabulary, more than a glossary. It has all kinds of weird types: substantives, adjectives, adverbs, verbs …
Most other queer tongues are more slang than a true developed language. Dutch trans Polari is also more a glossary than a language, but you will find out. Using a certain strictness, one could say there is Polari and and there is slang. As often the difference gets elided a bit in daily use.

As far as I know and I could trace, Dutch Polari is mostly a glossary, a vocabulary. I am not aware of a special grammar. In English Polari that is different. That has developed into a Language. Every slang knows core and fringe vocabularies. Core words are often known in the general population too after some time, fringe vocab not so much, it is even only known to certain groups of users within the scene. Words like bona (great), i (see), i (face), (legs or knees), i (hair) are known to the bigger audience. I consulted a book titled “The queen’s vernacular” that starts with i – camp for embarrassing; and with Abigail – nickname for a middle aged conservative gay man. Abigails are close to aunties, closet queens and piss elephant faggots but there are subtle differences. The book ends withi (after hours establishment) and i, rubber shower shoes. In between are two hundreds pages of entries. The index only counts 40 pages of fine print.


Polari probably came to the mainstream audience in the 1970s. There is a 1973 Doctor Who titled,”Carnival of Monsters”. You may know Morissey’s song “Piccadilly Polari”, and in 2016 David Bowie had a whole song in Polari on his album “Black Star”, called “Girl loves me


Some nice English Polari words are also

  • Emptying the cage”, eating pussy;
  • Alamo! He’s attractive, from LMO, Lick Me Out.
  • Sharda! What a pity!
  • “I’ve got you number, ducky.“:  I know you’re gay, what you’re up to, friend
  • Napkin ring aka cockring
  • Omi-palone, feminine gay man
  • Riah zhoosher (hari dresser)

Some Nice Dutch examples of gay slang are

  • Fallocraat (a very sexual gay),
  • Franse ambassade (French embassy, a gay brothel)
  • Janet (Flemish for faggot)
  • Utrechtenaar (a gay man, presumably Utrecht is veeeery gay)
  • Trutmiep (swear word or euphemism for a gay)
  • Uilenhol (straight bar).





Presenter and teacher Dor about Queering Hebrew

Presenter and teacher Dor about Queering Hebrew


For women there is “Lesbiaans”, which is featured in. Now wu y.o. dictionary

  • Kipje (the youngest in a lesbian couple)
  • Burniertje (after Andreas Burnier, lesbian author)
  • Stonebutch (nothing dutch in here)
  • Schuurmeid (Surinamese for a lesbian)
  • Lesbo desperado (desperately searching for her true love to settle down with)
  • Uit je broekje glijden (becoming sexually very excited). 2024 that would be “I could eat that girl for lunch”

There are four professions that are mostly referred in Polari are sex work, the police (“Betty Bracelets”, “Hilda Handcuffs” “Lily Law”), show business and hair dressing (riah zhoosher, hair dresser). Polari also does a lot of she-ing, feminising which makes more familiar, while it sexualises and makes more anonymous

Trans Polari

Dutch trans Polari as I know it is a 2000s invention. It is the time when the first non-self help group for trans people (in those days called transsexuals, later transgender people) was founded. They, we, called ourselves the Noodles, because we are as diverse as one can get noodles. Both in the hardcore dry noodles as in dishes 🙂 There are noodles for everyone 😉
The Noodles had a cafe afternoon every third Sunday of the month. And a monthly two hour radio show. Some of us were more culturally interested, others like me were more hardcore activists, worried about losing the political angle.
As we were not only some form of trans but also some form of gay, we were familiar with the existence of gay slang and then of Polari. Most of us were moving in circles of people transitioning from one gender to another, sharply observing trans trends. So we found new – not always nice and respectful, and in that sense true to Polari, ways and words.
The way the vocabulary came to life was that we observed phenomena and that we found our own words for it


  • DIY (doe het zelf) trans, They buy their meds on the black market and have their surgeries abroad, or in Dutch private clinics, paying out of pocket.
  • De pillenbrug – de zwarte markt. After the bridge after Damstraat here where one could buy all one’s recreational drugs. These days the whole internet of the whole Darkweb is the black market
  • Ready made = an endosex (non intersex) cisgender person. Someone whose body is not bespoke
  • Non-binaire = non-binary. We used that in a radio show apparently. Before it got daily parlance. Did we invent it?
  • Handtasjesmafia (handbag mafia) = a trans woman who is convinced one is only a true woman with long hair, high heels and .. a handbag
  • De ombouwprinses = de endocrinoloog?
  • Kipfilets: chickfillets, breast augmentation prostheses
  • Blije doos – Happy box. This refers to the pussy of a trans man who does not want bottom surgery. The context is here that in Rotterdam where the word originates from, people who just had a baby, got a box with all kind of useful stuff, that was called De Blije Doos, The Happy Box.
  • Gevorderden (as in “Dames, Heren en Gevorderden”):  Advanced (ladies, gents and advanced people)
  • Gender agent = conservatve audience/person
  • Voor / na de oorlog (het transitieproces) Before/after the war. Surely in the old days transitioning meant being at ‘war’ with one self and with society<>

So, you see how much we queer people contribute to language, and in humoristic way too.

Speech at Dyke March Amsterdam 2024

Hello dykes of all genders 🙂

I am very happy being in the Amsterdam Dyke March again. And even having been asked to address you about last Thursdays anti-trans youth health care conference at Amsterdam Free University and its context. My affiliation for today is with TransZorgNu coalition.

A couple of very wealthy old white cisgender heterophiliac [cishet in short] men including the Vatican are behind this wave of cishet normativity. Spending all their money on destroying our world by fighting climate deals, supporting Israel to destroy Palestine, the destruction of Congo for cheap minerals. And the destruction of our our protections, our rights and our livelihoods just because it doesn´t serve their fucking reactionary WASP beliefs and interests..

When you read the media you may think things aren’t that bad, it is good science to have everybody in scientific research about the effects of medical transitional support. The thing is: not when it is a form of blackmail: either you join the research or you won´t be able to get your health care. That is not granting someone their right to health care. Again that is blackmail. But it is the proposal for the UK and it is standing practice at Amsterdam University Medical Centre here in Amsterdam.

vreer in e pink shirt and ligth hat end traousers reading their speech at the Homomonument in Amsterdam
Then there is – not strongly here in the Netherlands yet, but they are trying – the very problematic concept the pseudoscientists are plugging. At that conference and elsewhere. Hilary Cass of the UK? infamous Cass Review that ditched some 90% of valid research in favour of a few that would be high quality. But everything she called substandard was positive for trans people. And the minister of public Health of the UK issued an order – an hour before the closing of the last health care committee debate before election closure of Parliament — that practically all trans kids are to be bereft of their hormone blockers prescriptions. Officially only in the private sector, but the NHS is practically dead in this respect. So a so-called scientific evaluation report that was called out of issues with the only trans youth clinic in London, led to a more or less total closure of health care for trans youth. No new patients allowed. Unless for ¨evaluation¨, which equals conversion therapy. England is a hellhole for trans youth these days.

Then this conference by the centre for family law also had the Wicked Witch of the North. Sorry for the true witches here 🙂 Riitakerttu Kaltiala is a doctor from Tampere Finland who does everything in her capabilities to take care that your child will not get trans health care. She is said to even call child protection service if you go to another team instead of her hostile team.
And then we have Chris Verhaak from the Nijmegen gender team, her in the country. A child psychologist who believes in the crap that goes with the ludicrous and scientifically torpedoed conspiracy theory of Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria. This absurd idea entails that trans people, and mostly “girls” are the victim of a social contagion. They tell each other through memes and videos how cool it is to be transgender.

Adhering parents hide under the flag of “4th wave now” 4th wave of white feminism they mean. And these parents are the ones dr Litmann who came with the idea of this Rapid Onset of gender dysphoria, got her affirming answers from.

The shitstorm we are in started eight to ten years ago in the USA where now hundreds of anti-trans bills are being proposed to the State Houses. And from 2020 the UK Tories started to create their own shitstorm. And now we will have an extreme rightwing government with real fascists here in the Netherlands. With an anti-trans agenda. An anti-queer agenda. And a racist agenda, and ableist of course.

That is why TransZorgNu called for a protest at the conference.We were some hundred people who joined the last minute protest. We made it very clear that we want self determination, not control. Our bodies, our choices. As trans people form different generations and as parents of trans kids and as allies and accomplices, we made noise, held speeches and promised to look after each other.

That conference is a great justification for the upcoming government to curtail budgets for trans health care. As good fascists they first aim for the most vulnerable ones. The undocumented people, the young queer and trans people, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, the sex workers. All our siblings. For us, because we are not only standing in solidarity. We are those black and people of colour, sex workers, queers, young trans people, people with disabilities. That is why dykes need to be revolutionary, We have had years of relative calm and progressive policies for some. But others – our black and brown siblings and children have always faced racism and sexism and other evil. We stand for trans rights, for dyke rights. In my opinion we need to fight for equity and justice, for all of us. So we can all fuck and frolick around. Down with the default of the monogamous nuclear family. Down with compulsory hetrosexuality and compulsory cisness. And down with Israel and the USA. Up with Palestine. Up with queerness. Up with free consensual love and sex.

We stand for love and passion in any consensual form and do not accept when society tries to force us back in a closet. We will not have it. Not on our watch.
Aluta continua! No pasarán!

Speech on Israel’s pinkwashing, at the Eurovision Song Concert 2024

Hello everyone. Great that you turned up. We desperately need you all, as mass media and  right wing money are creating a tidal wave against us all. Not that we are losing,
but power wants us to be invisible. And inaudible.

Because: How dare we disturb a party that is all about peace and love and understanding and fun. We are such nasty people to want to spoil the ultimate gay party next to or maybe even more cheerful than Canal Pride. That the Song Festival organisers kicked out one participant – ruthlessly – for starting a war against another member of European Broadcasting Union a couple of years ago, is no reason to demand accountability and an end to hypocrisy, to propaganda, to pinkwashing.

Accountability is not of these days. Neither in our case of Palestine, nor in trans affairs. Just yesterday a destructive and very opinionated official report on trans health care for youth saw the light in the UK, with the aim of making medically supported gender transition impossible for youth. And that has everything to do with why we are here. Because the fight for queer rights and the fight against Israeli colonialism, the last settler colony, are connected. There are queer Palestinians who suffer under occupation, who cannot live a free life because the occupation hates any and all freedom or liberty. No one is free until everyone is free.

The occupation needs conservative morals to keep people subdued. And they portray themselves so bravely as the Middle Eastern Rainbow Nation … but in the meantime oppression of LGBT people is still a big issue in this conservative society, that warring state. Maybe they accept you if you are a gay soldier who happily joins in the killing; maybe you are accepted as perverted but still a good patriot further. As you do your task in exterminating the indigenous Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze …Regardless how gay friendliness is employed internally in the colonial war state, LGBTI rights are used in a foul play to convince the rich and influential countries in the West, that Israel is a great country that deserves our love. Do you see how great all these young gays and girls are doing? How accepted and respected they feel?
Look at the beach parties. Even a trans woman has won the Eurovision song festival!
Who else dares to send a trans woman who then also wins! Surely not this ever more
reactionary country we are in.

In all those stories about Israel’s greatness, politics and media always forget the premise: that it is a state on stolen land, the last settler colony. That as far as you might be able to live a fruitful gay life, that is on the condition that you are a brave racist, that you accept unquestioningly the Apartheid and the fact that there are 2d class citizens on a racial, ethnic basis. Israeli propaganda wants us to believe that queer Palestinians are better off in Israel than in occupied Palestine. Their fellow Palestinians are all vicious gay haters, veiled and bearded villains instead of people who are mostly being oppressed. The sole fact of being an openly queer Palestinian makes you suddenly an asset for the occupier? I don’t think so. When you’re Palestinian and gay or Palestinian and trans, and often dis_abled which happens very regularly—and in 95% of the cases the dis_abled people have been made dis_abled by the Israeli Occupation Forces who count the amount of knees they shoot in a day.

Gaza is painted as a very grim place for gays and trans people. As if we are being hunted and killed by fellow citizens. But in all of Gaza there are gays, lesbians, bi- and pansexual people. Trans people. Intersex people. If they are hunted, it is the all-knowing Israeli Occupation Forces. Painting Gaza and Palestine as a place where LGBTI People have no life, is as vicious as how we used to paint the First Nations in the Americas. Or as antisemites paint Jews. Totally absurd, negative and with a purpose of inciting to hatred.

We are here at AFAS live where the Eurovision Song Concert will take place. Because the European Broadcast Union is a hypocritical organization. When Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago and started a long and dirty war, European Broadcasting Union was fast in kicking them out. It was Neo-czarist Russia after all, a political renegade to be conquered for our markets, not to form an opponent. We brought the USSR to its knees for a reason.

Israel however is a completely different story. That state is our watch dog in South West Asia. We (the West) created it as a bridge head. Empire cannot work without cheap fuel for industry and the army. Israel must exist for our hunger for raw materials. And then you use everything you can to show a great friendly image. The aim is to picture Israel as a great holiday destination, surely for rich white gays and lesbians. If portraying yourself as the most pet friendly country in the world would have a similar effect, they would use that too of course.

Pinkwashing is using the gays, the lesbians, the trans people for the purpose of painting a rosy picture, for the purpose of putting a beautiful, biblical and still modern Western, luxury decor in front of an ugly rotting exterminating, ethnically cleansing and genocide committing state. Gay friendly Israel is the crown on a rotting tooth and the tooth will rot until the crown will fall off. What we are seeing is the death agony of the last settler colony of the West. May it be done soon. And may a glorious luxury queer feminist crip communism rise from its ashes. Because, frankly, We are DONE with all this shit of hating, exterminating, profiting. Let us be the love
we need in the world.



Once upon a time

I had the honour to kick off the speeches of Athens Pride 2023 this June 10th on Kotzia square, Athens. I had been invited to do so by Proud Seniors Greece, of which group I am an honorary member.

The original Pride video is also about Once upon a time. In a Cinderella themed short, she runs through the streets, loses a pump, and tells “in my reality we have to run to survive” . More people join running and say : “We take to the streets to be called by my proper name, to love in freedom, to be truly accepted, so that my family truly accepts me, so I can live in safety, to survive. So that we can say one day:  I fought and I won.” 

I interpreted the images of people running with TL lamps flickering as a metro station, also because they talk about going and the 12 o’clock reference. No coach these days, must be a metro. Slightly beyond the story, but hey: artistic creativity 😉

Once upon a time .. Cinderella almost missed her train back to the future because some ridiculous cis guys were bothering her thinking they had a right to harass her. Once upon a time Cinderella was fighting the fucking cops in Exarchia because they murdered Zackie Oh.

Hello Athens Pride

I am so happy that we are here. 

With so many. 

In all our colours, in all our sexes, 

in all our genders, in all our sexualities

 And in all our gender expressions. 

Demanding and celebrating. 

Celebrating that we still exist. 

Demanding justice for all who are attacked or killed.

Demanding accountability from the state. From the church. 

From the population.

Because we have rights. 

I am vreer. I represent Proud Seniors Greece.

I also represent Transgender Europe, the European and Central Asian Trans peoples Rights Organisation. Transgender Europe is a network of organisations of trans and non binary and gender diverse people. We fight in the international political theater.

Al over the world trans people are in a very bad situation. In many places we hardly have any recognition. In many places we cannot live our true lives. 

Thanks to the religious right and to stinking rich bastards, states try to push us back. They want to go back to a past that has never existed. They attack on all fronts with the speed of light.

In Greece trans people are practically without rights. We get beaten up and we are hated by many people. We are not understood and we are hated even more as  non-binary and gender diverse people..

When you are both queer and older, that poses a lot of other issues. Many of us are afraid we have to go back into the closet when we are old. Will be treated badly, be forgotten by our straight cis families. Here I want to ask Athens Pride organisation: why are there only young people in your campaign ? Include older people! We have been fighting for the rights you now have. And we are part of the community anyway. Or do we only count if we are considered fuckable? If you only knew …

We are here to demand our rights. It should not matter which government is in power. Also prime minister Mitsotakis has to obey international treaties. Rights Are Rights and rights apply to everybody. Greece has subscribed to many European and international treaties, but it costs ship loads of energy to get any equality as trans, non-binary and gender diverse people. 

(Instead of banning Pride from Syntagma square because of their fucking kiosk, ND better had guaranteed our rights. Not we need to change squares! They do! We should have just surrounded that fucking blue kiosque)

Once upon a time Cinderella almost missed the train to the future. She lost her shoe because she had to fight off some cis guys who thought they had a right to her body. Once upon a time Cinderella was fighting the fucking cops in Exarchia because they murdered Zackie Oh. 

We need to fight together and that means that the well-off among you have to support the sex workers, the migrants and refugees, the trans, non-binary and gender diverse people.

Once upon a time we will be recognised as who we are, the most despised, the undocumented refugee and the sex worker will be the first to mount the train towards that future. Other trans and non-binary people will follow directly.

Pride was always a protest. And these big donors are not our friends. These   days we should hold large marches full of anger, and build power together. Organise a queer strike: I can’t come to work today, I’m queer! Fuck this capitalist shit

We need queer joy as an answer. Living our lives to the fullest that we can, flouting the straights embarrassment, is the best/sweetest revenge.You can try to cut all the flowers. But you cannot detain Spring.

Once upon a time is NOW. 


Fighting the anti-gender movement with academic feminists

On April 19, 2023 I gave a reflection on an elaborate written introduction to the theory group of the CCINDLE project. The abbreviation stands for “Co-Creating Inclusive Intersectional Democratic Spaces Across Europe”. The project aims to contribute to the strengthening and re-invigorating of intersectional feminism and European democracies through theoretical and practical feminist theories, coalitions, and strategies. It assumes that feminist theories and activism are vital and essential sources of resisting anti-gender discourses and undemocratic politics, and to re-kindling citizens’ engagement with democratic institutions and values. They recognize that the increasing challenges posed to European democracies and the escalating dynamics of anti-gender, homophobic and xenophobic mobilizations require a combination of excellent academic research and well-informed practical solutions which: a) are clearly feminist, anti-homophobic and anti-racist, b) could efficiently support high quality democratic governance, c) may strengthen responses to authoritarian and anti-gender efforts.

So when project leader prof. Mieke Verloo invited m to speak – as a valued activist, I didn’t hesitate and wrote (and spoke) the following.

Good afternoon everyone.

Logo of the Ccindle (pronounced "Co cindle) project

I want to thank the organisers for inviting me and granting me the opportunity to reflect on the CCINDLE project and the statement of the project at hand. The project couldn’t be timelier with the anti-gender movement winning state by state in the USA and also getting stronger every time here in Europe. My reflection will be a personal one, as I have been invited as an activist. I still read my share of academic work, one or two articles a week; I used to read chunks of monographs and dissertations over lunch and dinner, but I have left that habit. This just serves to show I am not ‘just’ a street activist, I once aspired to be a rogue scholar [emphasis on rogue] 😉 Part from founding several trans groups, organisations and some board memberships, I do research into What constitutes good trans health care.

I want to thank the WP1 [Work Package; many projects are chopped up in sub-projects these days] preparation group for their elaborate document that I will use to reflect on. In the panel I will pay more attention to some questions posed to the panellists.

I will give a more personal political story (an oxymoron in a sense, as the personal is always political and vice versa). I am from the days that in Europe transgender meant someone who was uncomfortable with the mainstream medical, social and legal approach that a trans person had to change their body “as far as possible”. It was a rare phenomenon in the early nineties, but got more attention every year. It was a typical normalisation process with an aim of acceptance for both the medical interventions and the people undergoing them because of their gender identity issues.

For lack of better words, I used to consider myself a lesbian transsexual. Never a woman, as a woman was submissive according to Monique Wittig. Only with the reading of Kate Bornstein’s “Gender Outlaw” did I get a first glimpse of what was possible. Soon after I discovered Sandy Stone’s “The Empire Strikes Back, a Posttranssexual manifesto”. This manifesto was a reaction by Sandy Stone on Janice Raymond’s “The Transsexual Empire, the making of the she-male.” Raymond is the transphobic goddess that the author of Harry Potter prays to. They may even be friends. Raymond – Godmother of TERF – was responsible for the closing of many “experimental” trans clinics in the USA in the 1980s. Raymonds denials of her influence on this are decently dissected by Cristan Williams on The O.T., Original Terf, doubles down on her terfiness in her most recent book “Doublethink” that saw the light end 2021, and of course works with social contagion and “Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria”. Those stories haunt me in my nightmares and nowadays during the days too. So I am pretty familiar with all the rhetoric of the anti gender movement.

Title and author of the text on a whote page with a drawing of men in rococo clothing studying the legs of a statue

The Empire strikes back: a Posttransexual manifesto

I am one of the first trans political activists in the Netherlands, as someone who politicised being trans. In the early 1980s we had a group of trans women petitioning the government for a real regulation for legal gender recognition, and they were very brave for accepting to be interviewed on TV news, while everyone had their medical assistance abroad, mostly in Casablanca, later USA or Thailand. Some found a decent surgeon in Germany but everything was quite complicated in the days before legal gender change was really possible. Before the 1985 law trans people depended on judges accepting an “Oops, different sex development” argumentation from doctors, as we were mostly using legislation meant for intersex people whose sex development turned out differently than expected from a passing glance at the baby’s genitals.

Having started in the trans inclusive lesbian scene of Amsterdam early 1990s and thanks to the starting public and then still web-less internet with its Usenet discussion groups, many of the contemporary “discussions” are old to me. Only Rapid Onset Of Gender Dysphoria is a new kid on the block, but actually just a cloning of the age old adage “But Ze Childrenz!” that we know from the homophobic conservatives, secular and religious.

Simpsons styled meme "WOn't somebody please think of the children"

One of the ideologies and political practices this work package of CCINDLE looks at, is fascism. To that I want to add something I very recently found out thanks to someone bringing it to my attention on social media.
In the wake of ISIS genocides in Iraq, an enormous grassroots interest in ending the cycle of violence and promoting a lasting peace, became visible. For the Iraq Project for Genocide Prevention and Accountability that was the reason to change their name to Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention. Among their projects is an Ukraine project, one on Somaliland, on Iraq, Arenia. But also a Transphobia project. That must have been a reason for them to issue their November 29. 2022 statement equating the “gender critical” movement in the USA with a fascist movement with genocidal intentions. The institute is not affiliated with big human rights players as Amnesty or HRW, not cooperating with the UN, but they work form a clear vision of the intention of Rafal Lemkin’s work on the Genocide Convention.

Logo of the LEmkin Institute for the Prevention of Genocide with a leftward pointing flower before the text
I give you two quotes

The Lemkin Institute believes that the so-called “gender critical movement” that is behind these laws is a fascist movement furthering a specifically genocidal ideology that seeks the complete eradication of trans identity from the world.”


While members of the gender critical movement may argue that they do not seek to kill the physical bodies of transgender people, they do openly seek to eradicate transgender identity from the world, following a genocidal logic similar to the US, Canadian, and Australian boarding schools that sought to “kill the Indian, [and] save the man.”

So I think it is pretty clear what kind of a danger we are dealing with here. For trans people and anyone not conforming to the WASP ideal. And that means we have a bigger fight than ”just” the anti gender movement to engage with. That is visible in the fact that those who try to whip up the masses to speak out against gender non-conformity in any form, also against drag queens like last Sunday in Rotterdam, are indeed plain fascists. And TERFs are the National Socialist Women’s Movement.

I put an emphasis on this because I think it does help. If we reason with the comparison of roughly a hundred years ago, we may see some developments clearer. Though we should not fall in the trap of seeing it as history repeating itself. Fascism was always already very gender reactionary. Of course we must look further and deeper, as the passing of time and this new iteration of never really defeated fascism can highlight hitherto less invisible tendencies. Also, we should ot stop by highlighting its ugly racist and sexist face, it is a whole restructuration for a mega profit capitalist 0.00001%. Not in a mechanistic way of course. That ias the surplus value of this CCINDLE project to do feminist knowledge and strategy production on this.

I often feel like the old woman of the memes saying “I can’t believe we have to fight this shit again”. That has everything to do with the current day capitalist crisis – weirdly enough I find the word capitalism only once in the statement where it is the main protagonist of the whole shit we are going through.

The only way out of this gendercide crisis that we are in, is to fight for a human and planetary rights solution, for queer, feminist, antiracist, anti ableist luxury space communism. I sincerely hope this CCINDLE project will be able to develop tools to effectively battle the gender fascists and related capitalist fellow traveller ilk like Tories everywhere.

Aluta continua,
Adalet, özgürlük, ekmek.
Hasta la victoria siempre.

Thank you

(19-4-2023, Amsterdam. CC v4.0, vreer)

Believe the survivors

A short note on the need of codes of conduct and ethical behaviour anyway:

One thing the #metoo (rightful) cabal makes clear is that sexual assault and misbehaviour takes place everywhere. From inappropriate touching (definitely also on #IEWarsaw2017, The ILGA Europe Warsaw Conference) to full blown assault.

Less attention gets the psychological violence people – again mostly (trans/cis/intersex) women – are subjected to. As feminists (of all genders, colours and classes) all over the world make clear: there is nothing new in this and it is *always* a power question. The perpetrator cannot get their way through consent and thus resorts to forms of violence.

There is also a lot of talk about responsibility. That reminds us directly of the “she gave reason” debates around dress, looks and puts the blame with the victim. It ties in with (cis) masculinist thought. Television talk shows doubt and debate the women, or even invite women who are “tired of the whole thing”. In the Dutch talk shows they were all white middle age cis women (also all or most straight). With a good career. White feminists – where white points at the target group more than skin colour per se. Who most probably have been targeted also, and maybe also were perpetrators on any level, as women are all but free from being abusers. 

The “lookism” element of “You must have asked for it by wearing a short skirt/biking alone in the night/not defending yourself” is blatant sexism and victim blaming. Plus it obfuscates the whole power element. Popular science author and columnist Asha ten Broeke wrote in her most recent column ( around the publicity that sexual assault finally gets, there is a problem with the reasoning the perpetrator is innocent until proven guilty. While being a good legal principle, the opinion that only a legal decision brings clarity and culpability is problematic. Why this is problematic is twofold. First it is by definition a power question. Both the violence, the trespassing behaviour, and the legal process. Legal power should be equal for both parties but cuts to legal aid often weaken the position for women in court. Second there is the patriarchal culture in which we live that grants women or feminized persons less credibility.

Victims of sexual assault often don’t turn to the police. Out of shame, out of fear (the perpetrator often is not the man in the park in the dark). In the Weinstein case it now is known he went out of his way to convince the women not to do anything against him. The survivors are often scolded, treated with disbelief. Stigma is huge and support often limited, solidarity usually absent. Ten Broeke states in her column: believing the survivor is a moral obligation as legal proof in case of sexual assault and rape often is difficult, if the case gets to court at all. “The law is no substitute for morality”, Edward Snowden is quoted. Nor is moral indignation an alternative to legal procedures. On the contrary it calls for better laws and procedures to strengthen the victim’s position. And also here it is really important which thoughts think thoughts (Donna Haraway). Remember: law is never neutral. From which mindset do you approach reform? Why?What is your aim? The consequence of Believe the Victim is far stretching: it decentres the victor’s discourse, it lends credibility to the story of the assaulted, empowers them and thus corrects the power imbalance.

The law is no substitute for morality
(Edward Snowden)

In the beginning I referred to the recent annual ILGA Europe Conference. Because the queer community is not free of sexual or mental. Emotional abuse either. Many more are survivors than there are perpetrators, but given that abuse is about power and using extreme ways to get your way – be it emotional or physical – it happens there also. One person told they were touched on their chest in an inappropriate way by an ILGA Europe (cis male) board member, and more extreme is what happened last year at ILGA World’s Conference in Bangkok. There it appeared neither the intersex community is free of this. An OII associated trans-intersex man committed a full scale attack to a non-intersex female scholar and advocate and is still intent on destroying her advocacy work by spreading lies about her. And as a man, his story gets more credibility than hers. He has success, her work and credibility suffers from his hate campaign. I am sure similar phenomena also happen in trans organisations and movements.

Abuse is also a queer thing

As we stand for social justice, we need to realise this and put the interests of the victims before our friendships and loyalties. To be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the #ihave that also may be present as systems and structures work through people. And we need to #BelieveTheVictims ( That is a moral obligation. The more for queers who know self doubt and disbelief.

Of black women and elephants

Somehow elephants became significant in my life this year. And black women. Mostly through literature, but also in real life. The elephants through Alastair Reynolds novels, the Poseidon’s Children series. The women though the same Poseidon’s Children and through Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis.


cover of Blue Remembered Earth, with a blue earth in the background, trees and people below it in the foreground

Xenogenesis (also known as Lilith’s Brood) is a complicated and very readable story about post-nuclear conflict earth from which humans are salvaged by an alien species, the Oankali, that are partially humaniform but also with tentacles and orifices where humans don’t have them, tentacles that are senses and with which they can see, feel and even heal. Ooloi are their third sex/gender relatives who are perfect healers, fond of cell malformations like cancers. The first person to be awakened is Lilith Iyapo, a black woman who then is to awaken other humans. The books touch important issues like autonomy, colonialism, hierarchy and conflict prone behaviour. Lilith is the First, the Mother, la Chingada, the Guide1. Communities of Resisters, are founded by humans who don’t want to be protected against radiation and disease (one of the first things the Oankali do). They shiver at the idea of mating with an Oankali in between, losing their human essence. Better to be fallible and human than to be hybrid. Bands of Resister men plan raids on villages to steal the most human looking children and take women for their communities. Of course racism and sexism are rampant in the Resister community. When the stage has been set, the books tell about the trouble and joy of constructing a new world plus a pure human civilisation on Mars where Resisters can be fertile and try again. In the last part the trouble of a human Ooloi construct, Jodahs, is related, a healer with all too human inclinations for falling in love with the grossly imperfect humans.

According to Blue Remembered Earth and its successors On the Steel Breeze and Poseidon’s Wake, in Kenya, it was Geoffrey Akinya who started out with scientific experiments to see what the elephants of his herd saw, through implants and a second viewer possibility, an inter-species brain share. This was still pretty primitive but a robot inhabiting figment of his grandmother Eunice Akinya succeeded to cognitively enhance them and thus create Tantors who could count, add, divide and later even reason. In Poseidon’s Wake there is even a group of Risen, renegade Tantors who became hostile towards their enhancers, the humans. Not really strange considering the ages old onslaught of elephants for their tuskers.

Line of African elephants walking in the savanne

While the story begins a bit troublesome, with a human who (first) enhances the elephants slightly for his own ideas, later they become intelligent and even space faring. Regularly the perspective shifts to the Risen’s perspective. When matriarch Dakota uses the humans for her own goal conflict arises but in the end both get a better understanding of each others perspective.

The novels are great because the main characters are black women and elephants. The men are less significant. When at a certain moment in time a message from outer space reaches a new (extra-galactic) human colony, it is sent by Eunice to her granddaughter (in a lesbian relationship), not her grandson. The women make the greatest discoveries and there are third gender characters indicated with “ve”, “ver” and “vis”. Like the main scientist, Travertine. And the emphasis is always on the characters acts, not their gender or sexuality.

Alastair Reynolds (well known for his Revelation Space space opera) knowledge of cutting edge science and black and women centered non-binary inclusive books are a delight to read, the more in these conflict ridden times.

In these conflictful times with strong racist tendencies the books are a delight to read as a depicting how things can be different. Both set after almost humanity destroying conflicts, they imagine a different better life. Though in order to get there humanity needs to confront another type of elephant also: the elephant in the room. Because almost all but the Marxist inspired left (anarchists included here) fail to see the the issue is with the unholy trinity of patriarchy, racism and capitalism. Generally people find themselves rather progressive in rejecting neoliberalism, SOGIE2 discrimination and racism. Their alternative is a vague sort of less painful capitalism; a capitalism losing its edge. A liberal capitalism, a capitalism light because we went too far. It hurts too hard at home also, too much in their face and neoliberalism doesn’t willful its promises. These opinion makers and politicians need to go back to school and study some political economy, plus feminism, anti-racism, human rights. Crises are endemic to capitalism, without them there is no capitalism. Apart from the revolutionary left no one has sound ideas how to transition away from capitalism, way from patriarchy so all non cis men (and even they) will have a decent life. Transform into a really post-racial society where ideas and structures that institutionalise raciality belong to the past. A world where respect for animals, people, plants, all nature is part and parcel of life. The 2 degrees of the Paris Agreements are too high and we are getting there far too soon. The solution – although it needs more detailing – is there: socialise the means of production (labour, ground, capital, information) and start working towards a quick transition to an ecosocialism that is inclusive of all ‘minorities’.

That is my desire for 2017 and if you want to participate, you are most welcome.

1For a great article on these books see
2SOGIE: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression

How did we get where we are?

Text of a talk given at the MERLINKA queer film festival in Belgrade December 10, 2015


I have been asked to give a talk on the progress we made in the Netherlands, on the level of LBGTI rights, and what remains to be done. I interpret this as: how did we get where we are?

That means that the first question is: where are we actually? And who is this we that are somewhere?

I argue that the we that has arrived in supposedly LGBT Valhalla, in the Netherlands, is in the end only a pretty privileged group. Although officially all their rights also apply to those excluded. I will show that a legal approach – however needed – always fall short without a focus on what society we need. It will always fall short without anti-austerity, anti-racism, anti-sexism and anti-war politics.

The rights that formally apply to everyone in the country are not in reach of everyone. If you are a trans* person of colour in the Netherlands, and in many other countries, you are supposed to have trouble with your family, and you are supposed to be of a Muslim background. Which means they will pit you either as the enemy and call slurs to deny your humanity including your being, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or intersex. Or they accept you happily as theirs – usually as their token trans or gay of colour – and pit you against the others who are thus even more black than before. You as a trans*  person of colour however are suddenly white and semi-privileged. But only partly because you still won’t have a job because of racial discrimination. And when you complain that you have issues in your own community the white people fail to respond. Mainstream LGBT organisation COC does a good job in lobbying and capacity building for minority sexualities and also do lots of trans* political work. The trans* organisation is not capable to do it. As a mostly lobby organisation however their possibilities to garner cultural change are limited. Only under-priviliged minority groups are dong real community building now.


The Dutch constitution posits all laws apply to everyone equally. Which is not self evident anymore since a couple of European countries adopted strikingly discriminating constitutional clauses.

In Serbia and Poland marriage is only between a man and a woman. Which is naive at best and will create unwillingly male mothers in same sex relationships. Women who thanks to a social life prior to their newly acquired and acknowledged gender are the fathers to their child. And fathers who, thanks to giving birth before legal gender change, also are the mothers of their child. This is a pre-queer genderfuck, unwillingly created recently by naive heteronormative lawyers. So, queering cisnormative discourse, I would incite those MP’s and lawyers to keep on doing this. They bring the world we wish of female fathers and male mothers (next to the more traditional male fathers and female mothers) closer than we could hope for.

Ah, yes. That is an issue still of course. We cannot marry. Well, actually, if we can convince our partners to stick with us, we will have de facto same sex relationships. Of course you can try to prohibit that also, but any lawyer with some sense in their brain will object to that for you endanger the stability of the legal system. So in that case also property rights for partner and children are arranged for.


Let me look back in time to tell you about the struggle that we had to get where “we” are, “as a country”. I love this “as a country”, as a nation state. Because it assumes and imposes a collective identity that must be created and maintained, enforced. With all mythology of what being your nationality constitutes. For Serbs you have to be strong, militaristic, war mongering, heteronormative. For the Netherlands its means being a welcoming, trading, gay and tulips loving country. I consider it one of my tasks to tear the rosy pink glasses, with which you look at my crazy country, off your nose.

In the 1960s the Netherlands also knew anti-gay fights. We still have anti-gay violence, and even more anti-trans violence. Actually “gay” did not yet really exists as an identity in the 1960s, most were homosexuals. Yes, words matter. The 1970s saw more and more homosexuals on the streets. I even walked the dogs of a homosexual or gay couple I knew through my parents (I was young and the dogs were big and strong). I was unaware of everything and gay or trans or whatever: fine with me. But homosexuals were in those days still getting conversion therapy and even electroshocks. And suicide was high, an uncle of mine took his life because of homophobia everywhere and surely also in himself.

Trans people finally got a place for medical attention in the 1970s and structurally from the 1980s. Legislation was adopted in 1985 and trans people had to undergo psychological screening, cross gender hormone therapy and genital surgery that made them infertile and preferably changed them “as far as possible” to “the other sex”. The reason why there is relatively low level of transphobic violence in the Netherlands (notwithstanding five killings in twelve years), has to do with this medicalising. We have a medical, even psychiatric condition, we cannot help it, and you are not to beat up mentally ill people. Plus we have a tradition of repressive tolerance. Also of the bad. See Black Pete. As long as you don’t scream too loud we keep it under cover. By the way, in my talk I mostly analyse. I do empathise with all struggles, also of cis straight people, but for that, and how to get forward, we have the discussion and personal talks.

In the meantime, through a tough going on, dealing and wheeling with politicians and several non-religious governments, we have won many rights, most recently the one of all-female parenthood without adoption. Until recently the second mother had to adopt her child. With men we still have issues. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are protected under general anti-discrimination law, trans people not. Yes, partially, under the sex clause. However to think that works, is naive. Because it does not protect us, aggressors do not see us as women or men, but as freaks. So we are not yet there and in politics the idea is slowly that we have reached everything important.


And that brings me to the question “who are ‘we’”? Because when we look at queer rights, trans rights, intersex rights, how effective the protection of people of color is in the Netherlands, we see a gaping abyss. Intersex people, those born with a sex variation, people whose sexed body defies our dichotomous norms that there are only male and female bodies, have NO protection against heteronormative surgeons and endocrinologists. Trans people need psychological scrutiny to concur they are of sane mind in this wish. Only then can they go to the civil registry to change names and gender. Doctors and politicians are still scared shitless of autonomous trans people who without any scrutiny change their gender ad lib. Heaven forbid the bomb under the cisheteronormative system is thicker than blood, starts infecting the majority. Then, if you are a person of color, you are to suffer doubly, both under your cultural heritage and the white cishet system. Pardon, gender dysphoria.


I think it is important to learn you need patience and a good inclusive and intersectional strategy. Inclusive of your own minorities, inclusive of people with the right ideas although they may not belong diectly to the LGBTIQ community. For the it is of utmost importance to understand and act after the adage “Nothing about us without us”. Stand with sex workers. For many of us sex work is sort of a passage rite. A period of incredible vulnerability. Talk with Romani people how they are segregated and do not get rights. Many of the trans sex workers in the Yugo region are Romani people and they are shunned by the others. So in a an even worse situation than other trans people. Talk with immigrants about their struggle, see where you can help. Where they can help us. Talk with your intersex activists. Learn how the cisgender heteronormative system works, how it screws up all of your lives. Also that of the cisgender heteronormative people themselves, because they are not in the position to experiment with other ways of living, they are caught even deeper in the Matrix. Poor straight people. I pity you. Our Utopia is polymorphous perverse world where love and sex are no commodities anymore. Where we can frolic and fuck at work – but only with consent. Our future is a stateless queer ecosocialist society. It is a long road and we will know loneliness and bombs on the road, but remember: you never fight alone. Hasta la victoria siempre, comrades!