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Panel discussion ‘Shifting language(s): the evolving landscape of words and meanings in queer lives’

Governance and Human Rights

The Embassy of France in South Africa, in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender, University of Pretoria, the Alliance Française in Pretoria, are hosting a panel discussion in observance of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Language is a powerful force integral to how we relate to one other and express the ideas that shape our world. Jeanna Kadlec, writing on queer literature, writes that:

‘A history of queer language is a history of queer people… It marks how we understood ourselves, how we were understood by institutions: how we wrote and rewrote ourselves, how we adapted, how we moved through space and absorbed and reconfigured words to suit what we needed.’

It is unsurprising, then, that contemporary debates on LGBTIQ+ identity and rights often centre around language, be it the usage of pronouns and terminology, the reclamation of slurs, appropriation of slang or even the interpretation of legislation.

This panel discussion seeks to explore, through a multi-disciplinary lens, the myriad ways language liberates, evolves, empowers, and represses queer people.

The discussion will provide insights from the perspective of three language groups: English, Xhosa (Nguni), and French. It will center on recognising how these languages currently make space for LGBTIQ+ identities, and exploring further opportunities to implement the use of inclusive language and ideas of diversity, centering LGBTIQ+ self-defined language within linguistic cultures.

Register here  to attend the event online.

Event Details
19 May
15:00 - 17:00
This event is suitable for all ages.
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French Institute of South Africa

French Institute of South Africa

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