Open Glossary On Hold

Budi Sudarto and James Nguyen

After much thought, we have put the Open Glossary on hold.

We did not make this decision easily. We wanted to create an opportunity for multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQA+, and queer and trans people of colour to contribute to the development of a queer glossary in our many languages.

We wanted to make a live and digital document to explore Western queer terminologies in our languages and cultures. We knew that our translations would not be ‘perfect’, that the meanings of words should and will continue to evolve. We were hoping to create a space for community members to contribute to this open glossary, to have conversations among us, non-White-Anglo-European LGBTIQA+, and to find new expressions across our intersecting identities that speak to our sexuality, gender and relationships.

The recent political climate, however, has meant that we have had to rethink this open approach. Sadly, anti-trans hatred has infiltrated both our LGBTIQA+ and ethnic communities where we see trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) aligning themselves with conservative ethnic and religious leaders in their anti-trans rhetoric, spreading untrue and misguided views on the trans and gender diverse community specifically, and diverse sexuality, gender identity, and relationships more generally.

In recent times, we have witnessed the systemic targeting of queer and trans-related events causing the public cancelations of various new works and projects. We are also aware of renewed efforts to systemically recruit individuals from our diverse ethnic and faith communities to spread the Western anti-trans ideologies that erase the existence of our diverse gender, sexuality and non-heterosexual relationships that have existed in our own ethnic and faith communities for centuries

At the end of the day, we must prioritise each other’s safety. Having an open glossary may expose us to organised violence and structural abuses that will compromise all of our safety. We do not want multilingual homophobes, transphobes, biphobes and queerphobes to inflict damaging, hurtful and discriminatory statements in our open document.

We cannot risk facilitating harm among people who are already vulnerable because of their intersecting marginalities. We do not want to create a platform for people to spread hate.

Instead, we have made a row of angels to guard our identities and our words. A row of angels to give us comfort. A row of angels as refuge from the many forms of discrimination that we encounter every day. A guard of angels to give us hope.

We are presenting our messages of hope in multiple languages. We want it to be bold. We want it to be visible. We want this to be ours.

Hatred will not win.

We want to remind ethnic communities of diverse sexuality, gender, sex characteristics and relationships that we are here for each other.

We want to remind Anglo-White-European LGBTIQA+ people that we exist not as an addition, but as an integral part of our communities.

We are hopeful in unhopeful times.

We want to contribute to a future where our intersecting identities will not be used against us, a future where we are valued by our own ethnic and faith communities, a future where we don’t ever have to be worried about our safety and the safety of those we love.

Although the Open Glossary is on hold, we stand with each other to fight for equity, justice and human rights.