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.



Short update: from vreerwerk.org to vreer.net

I plan to add material I  previously published on vreerwerk.org (defunct) here, and work it up where still relevant. Vreerwerk was my work in trans and intersex human rights education. It still contains some good material but you cannot see that now 😉

Ik wil binnenkort relevant materiaal van mijn oude werk website vreerwerk.org hier plaatsen. Er zitten best nog mooie en actuele stukken bij. Eventueel moet ik ze een beetje updaten. Dat dus.



me looking very gay against an Athens wall

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 transadvocate.com. 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)

Trans safety in Amsterdam

Presentation written for the occasion of the publication of the Subjective Atlas of Amsterdam, 21-3-2023 at Pakhuis De Zwijger , Amsterdam

Fifty-one weeks ago a workshop took place at IHLIA, the International Gay and Lesbian (Trans* and Queer etc) Archive in the Amsterdam Public Library. I got invited, as long time trans* rights activist here in town and elsewhere. Notwithstanding previous information the concept was new and unfamiliar to me so it took a while to come up with something. On the other hand By seeing that the concepts of most others didn’t really apply to my idea, I developed my own concept. I was the only trans* rights activist present so, if you invite me and want a significant contribution to a map from below the city as seen by people who live there, this is what you get.

The conceptualisation more or less needed to be this way. We live in a transphobic town in a transphobic country in a transphobic region. That in all is as hetero normative, as it is transphobic. The Dutch pride themselves in being tolerant. Fuck tolerance. We deserve to be treated as well as anyone else.We have rights. Trans people have relatively little to lose – except their lives or health – so maybe we are a bit more vocal: we demand our rights, we don’t ask nicely anymore.

My map is born out of anger. This anger of still not having the right to unencumbered existence. The map is an indication of – relatively personal – experience of discrimination, fighting against it. It also contains the stories of others known to me. It is not just discrimination, quite a bit of the map is in green, signifying OK, good, great. At the green end you see “vreer HQ”, my home and office. That should of course be a very safe place in general, for trans* people. Also TNN (Transgender Netwerk Nederland), the national trans rights organization and COC, the national LGBTI rights organization are green. An average gay bar is indicated slightly more positive than autonomous social center Vrankrijk. As many queer people and trans* people prefer them over a sometime raunchy punky bar. On Wednesdays though and several Saturdays it should be different, as the queers then take over and Vrankrijk becomes more and more home for the displaced, the undocumented the really queer people. Others can have a better experience at Vrankrijk and worse in gay bars, it is a relatively subjective map, it is my selection and it concerns indicators for safety.

Parks can be lovely, great place to cruise (well, cruising is a bit old fashioned but OK). To meet up with others. At the same time there are enough stories of queers, and women being assaulted in the city parks. So next to being green(ish) you see a red glow on the bottom, indicating there is also risk connected.

Regular people, with a residence status, a job, a house, an accepted gender identity go to the police when a crime has been committed against them. For many of us that is risky, and the Pink in Blue LGBT cops are often still clueless about trans lives. The Amsterdam police has at least one trans woman working there, but that doesn’t tell a lot about the safety of people outside the police force. Plus the single fact of being trans isn’t an assurance. We saw that with Margaret Thatcher in the UK, the Iron Lady. First female prime minister, responsible for the introduction of neoliberalism in the UK. We all would have preferred someone else who hadn’t. Or look at Obama, the first black president. Who didn’t use much of his power to improve life for people in chronic distress, started wars like no one else, didn’t lift black people out of poverty … A Black Democratic president yes, of great symbolic value, but beyond that… not so much. We have to judge public institutions and people therein by what they do to get human rights accepted. All these people don’t do that that much. IN general also the Dutch police is under ever more scrutiny for misbehaviour and not behaving to their best.

Workplace protection or not, for many out trans and gender non conforming people, the job, the office is not a safe place. In  a social climate where the radical right, the extreme right and outright fascists are given an ever stronger voice, life for non normative people gets dangerous. Colleagues will feel free top ask us all kind of questions we don’t want to answer, because we value our privacy, like they would.

So, Where on the one hand experiences are individual, they are not just individual. The are intersubjective, and in social work and when looking at safety, you have to look at who is left behind. Trans* people, the more young, gender non conforming, trans* people who don’t look that cisgender to you, who are of colour and with visible or recognisable dis_abilities and neuro-divergence.. we all run risks. It is up to y’all to help us, and in the end everybody on this planet, survive, flourish.

The Noodles – who were they, what did they want

Queer Community Collective The “Noodles”

for everyone who takes eating noodles for granted

In December 2001, on the last day of the Transgender Film Festival in Amsterdam, a number of transgendered individuals and kindred spirits decided to go out for a meal to make up for the lack of any kind of closing party for the festival.
By the time the plates were empty, a group had been formed born. The restaurant was Wagamama, and thus our name.

As well as the lack of a party, most of us had been missing a group such as The Noodles, for some time. For one thing, we didn’t always feel at home in existing groups, and for another thing, we weren’t always made welcome in those groups.

We aim to break down, or at least broaden the pigeonhole mentality in homo/lesbo and heteroland. Enthusiasm and involvement are the main ingredients in the ‘noodle dish’ we want to share amongst ourselves and with others.

We were inspired to become The Noodles not just by the array of noodle specialties on offer in Wagamama but by the way in which they reflected what we ourselves have to offer. The common ground: almost anything can be included (Diverse and colourful), what’s on your plate is a mix of saple items and extras (familiar and varied) and the result hits the spot (nourishing and stimulating).

We want to move the whole Transgender/Queer issue away from being regarded as pitying and/or pseudo-scientific ways and are working on the following projects.

  • an on-going discussion of Transgender/Queer in which both theoretical development and personal experience have a place.
  • following-up and archiving other expressed opinions and publications that refer to Transgender/Queer.
  • following social developments around Transgender/Queer issues, noting the effects of these such as discrimination and responding in ways which can can range from the seriously indignant to thew playful and celebratory.
  • Maintaining contact with the existing groups mentioned above such as the COC, the Boys’ Hour, the Humanitas men’s group, groups from the women’s movement and groups associated with those working in the field of Fay/Lesbian, gender and women’s studies.
  • Organising a monthly “Noodles Café” where transgenders, queers, soulmates and other interested parties can make contact.

    We made our wider debut with a discussion at the Pink Film Days in December 2002, an attempt to stimulate discussion and debate around Transgender/Queer.
    This year we hope to reach a wider public, partly through the writing and distribution of a leaflet.

We are organising a party for all Transgenders/Queers and their friends during the 2003 Transgender Film Festival

To put it briefly: The Noodles, a lively mix of research, study and friendly contact. A combination of ideas and practice.



N.B. deze tekst komt uit 2008 en was een concept pagina.  Het beschrijft de toenmalige situatie. In tegenstelling tot mijn oudste naam is dit geen dode naam, maar een die in onbruik is geraakt. Die ik zelf heb gekozen en zelf in het archief heb gezet.

Mijn burgerlijke naam is Judith. Dat zegt veel en tegelijk bijzonder weinig over mij. Weinig, want ik ga bij meer namen. Veel, want ik heb die naam bewust gekozen en heb hanteer hem in het dagelijks leven ook nog steeds, naast ‘vreer‘, wat meer een bijnaam, een epitethon is. Ik zie mezelf weliswaar al lang niet meer als vrouw, maar ik heb de naam gehouden: ik heb een zwak voor krachtige vrouwen.

De naam komt van het apocriefe verhaal over Judith, een mooie, jonge, rijke weduwe in een door God verlaten en door de Perzen belegerde stad. Zij zou de problemen wel oplossen met gebruik van haar vrouwelijk intellect. Ik heb een preek van prof. dr. Karel Deurloo van wie ik ooit college heb gehad hier opgenomen omdat ie zo mooi ingaat op het verhaal en de betekenis. Luister en huiver.

Ik heb het geloof ik niet eerder vermeld, maar ik heb ooit theologie gestudeerd in Amsterdam, aan de UvA. Het geloof heb ik achter me gelaten, de verhalen draag ik als erfdeel bij me.

Vrede en zwaard

Schilderij van Ariana Gentileschi met Judith en een medeplichtige vrouw die Holofernes onthoofdt

19 september 1982

Het verhaal van Judith is een verhaal met een “Christine M. effect” [nvdr: Referentie aan “De stilte rond Christine M., film van Marleen Gorris] . Om de moord die moest, kan hartelijk worden gelachen. De witz werkt bevrijdend bij onderdrukten. Fantasierijk schept de verteller een gestalte die de vrouwen uit het boek Richteren [nvdr: tegenwoordig Rechters in de nieuwe vertaling] in zich verenigt (m.n. de profetes Debora en Jaël, die de tyran als dode ‘baart’, Ri. 4 en 5), om ook zijn hoorders tot fantasierijke weerbaarheid te inspireren.

Om de bedreiging van de kleine gemeente te profileren plukt hij al wat gewelddadig groot is uit het Oude Testament bijeen. Nabuchodonasor,de godgrote koning, die Jerusalem verwoestte; Ninivé, de godsgrote stad; de Assyriërs, het wreedste volk uit bijbelse tijden; de wereldoorlogen van het Oosten, waaraan de kleinen volken zich niet kunnen onttrekken. De totalitaire kleine staat toont mondiaal zijn brute macht.

De verteller kiest echter niet voor het welbekende motief van een apocalyptische eindstrijd van de kinderen des lichts en de kinderen der duisternis om zijn toehoorders te bemoedigen. De gemeente van ‘geringen, zwakken, vertwijfelden en wanhopigen’ (Jdt. 9:11) krijgen weliswaar een vertelling met met sprookjesachtige trekken te horen, maar het gebeuren speelt zich af op een gefingeerde lokatie in het midden van het land en als een gefingeerd gebeuren midden in de geschiedenis.

Zeker, de Heer als koning is de grote tegenspeler tegenover koning Nabuchodonasor met zijn totalitair goddelijke aspiraties; hij is overigens ook de tegenspeler t.o.v. zijn eigen weifelmoedige volk, de mensen van het stadje Bethulia, maar zijn rol is niet miraculeus spectaculair. De auteur laat hem bijvoorbeeld geen ‘wonder’ doen door regen in de droge tijd te geven aan het van dorst versmachtende stadje. Het wonder van de bevrijding wordt nuchter en praktisch als menselijk -mogelijk verteld.
Tegen man en macht speelt Judith op listige wijze haar charmes uit. Ze wordt getekend als één die slim en helder haar plan bedenkt en het uitstekend getimed, koelbloedig en met vaste hand ten uitvoer brengt. Ze spreekt en handelt vanuit een innerlijk gezag; ondanks alle vrome woorden zeer seculier. Geen speciale roeping gods voert ze aan, geen godsspraak heeft haar in beweging gebracht. Geen godsboek beschermt haar, geen ingrijpen uit de hemel is nodig om de zaak tot een gelukkig einde te brengen.


Al is de verteller heel ethisch en kuis, bedrog kan maar nét; de erotische momenten worden tot een minimum beperkt: Judith meldt direct bij haar terugkeer: “onteerd heeft hij mij niet!” &minus toch stimuleert hij zijn hoorders tot vindingrijkheid in de marges. Precies daar kan het kleine stapje de beslissende stap zijn. Dit element manifesteert zich ook in de keuze van de lokatie. De geschiedenis speelt zich niet af in Jerusalem, maar in het onbetekenende plaatsje Bethulia, dat toevallig strategisch op de weg naar Jerusalem gelegen is. Ook daar kan de ommekeer ten goede zich voltrekken.
Intussen lijkt Bethulia wel Jerusalem zelf te zijn, alsof Sion uitwisselbaar is met welke plaats dan ook, waar mensen bedreigd wonen. Zulke onder– en boventonen tillen het verhaal uit boven de naïviteit. Een onvoorziene vrouwenhand keert al het overmachtige geweld, laat de zwaarddrager door zijn zwaard vergaan en wordt symbool van het eigensoortige van gods macht. Leert de bijbel de oorlog aan de ‘hand’ van Judith, of horen we hoe op hoogst originele wijze de oorlog ‘verpletterd’ wordt? Wie zou zich ethisch opwinden over ‘het bedrog van Judiths lippen’? De weduwe die geen functionele plaats meer heeft, is het ongedachte wapen van de god, wiens macht niet in de grootte van het getal ligt: ‘Vernietig’ hun trots door een vrouwenhand (9:10) (die juist niet net oorlog en geweld wordt geassocieerd), die zin vat vele Oudtestamentische ‘oorlogsverhalen’, m.n. die van het boek Rechters, samen: de tendens van Tenach t.a.v. de oorlog krijgt reliëf.

In de traditie heeft het boekje behalve in de beeldende kunst (Judith en het hoofd van Holofernes), vooral gewerkt door het voorbeeldige kuise, ascetische, vrome gedrag van de hoofdrolspeelster (Maria-liturgie). Onze generatie vallen andere, wellicht authentiekere aspecten op: De totale-oorlogsdreiging waarop Judith zo slim-praktisch en vindingrijk reageert. Een verhaal om een groep verslagen en geïntimideerde mensen een hart onder de riem te steken, een witz die verademing kan brengen en geestkracht om fantasierijk weerbaar te worden, bedacht op verrassende kansen om een stapje, misschien wel een beslissende stap te doen met andere wapenen en andere mentaliteit dan het wereldwijde gewelddadige systeem.

We zouden echter een beheersend aspect van het verhaal over het hoofd zien, als we niet mét de kerkelijk traditie haar vroomheid zouden benadrukken. Het liturgisch gebed is op kernmomenten van het verhaal de bron van haar fantasie en moed. Alsof het om een “Here-zegen-deze-spijs-amen” voor het eten gaat, bidt Judith bij het heffen van het zwaard van Holofernes om zijn hals te doorklieven: “Heer, god van Israël, sterk mij op deze dag” (13:7). Bonhoeffer zou het i.v.m. de geplande aanslag op Hitler hebben kunnen nazeggen. Zulke liturgie geboren uit vroomheid is niet mals. Zij bezingt dan ook de “Ene, Enige, Enkel stem”. (Huub Oosterhuis) Ora et labora, moet ze gedacht hebben. Want met de liturgie rondom de unieke “Gij, Niet-god” wordt de fantasie die toekomst schept geboren. Dan gebeurt de god van vernederden in mond en handen van een vrouw, van mensen.