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An act of defining/defiance

Shath شاذ
Derived from
Arabic is a gendered language. For example:
   Shath = male
   Shatha = female
            For example:
   Ana shatha, esh a3malak? Ana ba7ib al3ab ma3 albanat
   Shu 7a ti3mal?
Also: Shaz, Shadh

Mithli مثلي
Or: Mithliya مثلیة
Like the Greek “homo”
Mithli means “equal”
An attempt to replace the derogative
“You are mithli” = You are like me AND/OR You are gay
         You figure that one out
            For example:
Mama, inti mithli? Ya3ni i7na zay ba3d? La’? Ahhhh, ana mithli-sexual.

Looty لوطي
   Follower of Lot
   A figure in the holy trinity of
      The Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an
From the ancient city of Sodom
(the one that received righteous and divine judgment
In the shape of fire and brimstone)
It means you like it in the ass
It means Dante puts you at the bottom of the seventh circle of hell
Where in tempests roll’d, the burning sand, marks the reddened feet of
The Followers of Lot, to be sterilized from their
Sexual deficiencies

Mozdawij/ah مزدوج/ة
   Of two parts
      Like a tree that bears two fruits
      We like to juggle different fruits in this household
         For example:
            بسم االله الرحمان الرحیم
         olives and figs والتين والزيتون
      The first verse of surat at-teen
      From a passage of the Qur’an I memorized
      Before learning the sexes of fruits

Moghayir/at el-jins مغير/ة الجنس
   “Changer of sex”
A caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly
      Or not
Mutahawwil/ah متحول/ة
More than meets the eye
Oh, autobots wage their battle
To destroy, end evil forces
Of the cis-hets and the TERFs
The alienated/not alien warriors
Whose dream to shape-shift
Is reserved to superheroes
In the screen

El-jins al-thalith الجنس الثالث
   The third gender
        A gender identity outside the cis-binary
                 01101110 01101111 01101110
                 00101101 01100010 01101001
                 01101110 01100001 01110010
        Because the non-binary is defined by the binary
              Decentralize the binary already
        This is a note to the writers who use she/he to refer to others
        Thinking they’ve done well to stop writing exclusively in he’s and his’s
        They/we are watching

Sahiqah ساحقة
   Verb: is-haq
   Grind spices with a mortar and pestle
That’s sapphic, yo.
Please note: your image of scissoring is a myth.

Khawal خول
   An Egyptian male dancer
   Imitating  female ghawazi dancers
         Who were banned
         Women cannot dance in public
         God forbid
   So have men in women’s attire dance
   With     makeup / plucked facial hair / long braided hair / henna-painted
   And     feminine manners
   Repeat after me: no homo, bro
   What’s so beautiful about adorned, talented, feminine-imbued dancers
   I repeat: this is not homoerotic
   They dance at celebratory functions
         Weddings births circumcisions festivals
Also: gawal

Khaneeth خنیث
   Men who are attracted to other men
   A masculine word for a feminine body
         a sexed male body
It’s fun to confuse men. First I am called “sir,” then “ma’am,”
            then they are perturbed
Hai khaneeth walla sahiqah wallah esh?

Also: Khanith, Xanith
Also: much like “faggot”
Originates from Oman

Boya بویة
   The khaleeji equivalent of
   Your favorites—the dykes and the butches
      I’m sorry, but a buzz cut does not make you a boya, babe.
         A message to the girl who outed me
         To my Islamic studies high school teacher
                   who outed me
         To my mother
                   who I assured her
         That it was malicious gossip
         (the girl wasn’t wrong though)

Nada is a Palestinian writer and artist based in Abu Dhabi. Currently, she is a senior at NYU Abu Dhabi, where she studies Literature and Creative Writing while also pursuing Visual Arts and Gender and Sexuality Studies on the side. She dabbles in digital artwork, collage, and mixed media, but she is currently focusing on writing poetry inspired by found materials and text.
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