Are you Banjee, Dykon, Hasbian, Wolfy, Frig, or Stone? Do you even know what those words mean? No? Then it’s time for you to learn the essential LGBT elements on The Queeridioic Table!
Kona Katranya and Jen Crothers created The Queeriodic Table (which currently has 112 different queer elements on it) as a way to spark discussion about LGBT culture and identity. They debuted it at an Out in Schools fundraiser during fall 2010 and then again at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival where they dressed in lab coats and had a “sexy teacher” assist them. They say a lot of people re-visited their display over the three-day exhibition asking questions and challenging their format. Some even cried while sharing stories about their own queer makeup.
Jen and Kona have found that initially people get drawn in on a superficial level, noticing that it’s colorful and clever: “But then they think. And then they have questions about what a particular element means. Why don’t we have X? Why is Y in that category? And so on. Big philosophical discussions can start in minutes.”
Because the table and the project are iterative and constantly evolving, just like the real periodic table, there are lots of opportunities for new ways to engage people. In Seattle Jen and Kona encouraged people to think about creating molecules of representation by combining individual elements…
While it’s cool to hear new terms like Fagzilla, Yestergay, and Zami (the Caribbean for black women who love one another), the only trans elements we found were Trans, Intersex, Two-Spirited and Gender Queer. And Bi elements? Bidyke, Heteroflexible, DownLow, and Bisexual. Do those combined with the others elements adequately encapsulate all of bi, trans, and multi-culti identity?
No, of course not. but Katranya and Crothers are certainly open to revising the table:
On their website, people can submit “Reflective Descriptions” of what the individual elements mean to them. Their answers are then curated into the website.