The Queer Arab Glossary

The Queer Arab Glossary

Foreword by Rabih Alameddine

N/A June 2024 Paperback 160pp 30 colour illustrations

About the Book

When conventional language does not equip us with the tools to speak about ourselves, we create our own. Slang expresses words and feelings that break down boundaries. It is a form of protest and fills in the gaps.

The Queer Arab Glossary is the first published collection of Arabic LGBTQ+ slang. This bold guide captures the lexicon of the queer Arab community in all its differences, quirks and felicities. Featuring fascinating facts and anecdotes, it contains more than 300 terms in both English and Arabic, ranging from the humorous to the harrowing, serious to tongue-in-cheek, pejorative to endearing. Here, leading queer Arab artists, academics, activists and writers offer insightful essays situating this groundbreaking glossary in a modern social and political context.

With beautiful, witty illustrations, The Queer Arab Glossary is a powerful response to pervasive myths and stereotypes around sexuality and an invitation to take a journey into queerness throughout the Arab world.

Contributors include Saqer Almarri, Nisrine Chaer, Sophie Chamas, Rana Issa, Adam HajYahia, Mejdulene Bernard Shomali, Hamed Sinno and Abdellah Taïa.

The Queer Arab Glossary was made possible with the generous support of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC, Mophradat, Bashar Assaf and Mohammed Fakhro.

About the Author

Marwan Kaabour is a graphic designer, artist and writer, and the founder of Takweer – an online archive of queer narratives in Arab history and popular culture. His interdisciplinary practice builds pathways between communication and publication design, curation, pedagogy and political activism. Alongside his independent projects, Kaabour works with non-profit institutions, companies and individuals in the art and culture sector, such as the V&A, Art Basel, National Gallery, Serpentine Galleries, Hayward Gallery and Banksy. He designed the much-celebrated Rihanna book, a Time magazine Best Photo Book of 2019. Kaabour was born in Beirut and currently lives and works in London.

→ Author Website


‘This gloriously confident book will be an eye-opening, often unashamedly sexual, revelation and education to most … It’s a rare blessing that The Queer Arab Glossary manages to capture a slang consciousness that otherwise might have slipped by.’
The Bookseller

'Language reflects and creates reality and Marwan Kaabour’s revolutionary volume insists on and makes possible a future rooted in the recognition of continuous histories.'
Sarah Schulman

The Queer Arab Glossary conjures community, resilience, and breathing space in the form of a book. As a project and offering rooted in archival care and memory work it remains refreshingly committed to laying bricks towards a future of recognition and emancipation. The Queer Arab Glossary is but a beginning, but one that is brimming with aliveness and possibility.’
AnOther Magazine

'Insightful, hilarious, sassy and deeply expansive.'
Dan Glass