We’re here we’re queer we’re going to fuck you[…]
Privacy is a punishment / Privacy is not a reward /
Publicity is a human right Live in the light / don’t die by a word / Speak up /
Don’t put up with it I came out upside down
and they had to turn me around […]
We’re here we’re queer we’re going to fuck you[…].
(God Is My Co-Pilot, Queer Disco Anthem)
What happens when you find yourself between the oppressive heteronormative culture and the mainstream LGBT movement that is often prone to sexism, racism, homonationalism and celebrates homonormative values? Is there any alternative? Yes, there is! Radical queer feminist activism is what you need when you feel you have enough of giving up on the behalf of any majority.
The Radical Queer Affinity Collective started out in Budapest in 2011 with the critical question of how to do queer politics in the situated context of Central Eastern Europe. We believe that queer politics is not a uniquely Western concept, as it might seem from the theoretical and academic knowledge production that focuses mostly on the US context. Queer revolt can happen (and does happen) here and now, so we wanted to explore the significance and complicatedness of this kind of political action in the CEE context and build transnational queer solidarity in this region. We thought: what better way of addressing queer anarchism than just by practicing it!
The creation of our group was motivated by various discussions and the experiences of its members within various LGBTQI movements. We wanted to create a space/platform within the LGBTQI movement in Hungary to address and challenge issues like homonormativity, homonationalism, transphobia, the silencing of marginalized groups, and hierarchical decision-making. We wanted a space which acknowledges and interrogates the intersections between gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, and ethnicity, while questioning and resisting the commodification of “queer”. The main aim of this collective is to use grassroots instruments such as direct action and political art (visual, musical, theatrical, literary, etc.) to tackle these issues.
We believe that queer resistance to heteronormativity, racism and transphobia is an intrinsically creative process. It recognizes the transformative power in anger, especially when confronted with homo-trans-phobic acts of violence. Acting out and collectivism are our tools to channel this anger into queer politics. Our projects include publishing the Q? zine. The zine is about interrogating “queer” and questioning this term within our local and regional context; further, it is a place where we (and more contributors) express and spread ideas in line with, and inspired by, our manifesto. We also provide ample room to address pressing current issues. We welcome articles, comic stories, artwork, photographs, poems, fiction, commentaries, polemics, and other forms of expression. This project has been a great success so far, and we hope to keep the momentum going. We aim to publish between four and six issues yearly. Our other project was a theater performance called “The Coming Out Monologues”. It was an amateur, grassroots production, which we regard as a huge success in feeling empowered as a group in our politics. We invited people of different ages, classes, genders, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations to submit their coming out stories, which were edited and performed by either the writers themselves, or other individuals.
Soon the idea of creating a platform for discussion materialized itself in the actual space of KLIT — a queer feminist community space, sex shop, and library project. We have observed that most places in Budapest that are LGBT-friendly are expensive and male-dominated. There are monthly parties organized for lesbians and queers, but there are hardly any places that would be open during the day. The basic idea was to open a non-profit feminist sex-shop and bookstore/library to facilitate open discussions on women, queer and trans* rights in relation to their own bodies and sexuality. It is an open meeting-place, a base for radical activism, and a platform for change in the local community. We organize events, discussions, film screenings, small art exhibitions, parties, and concerts. This project is non-profit, and if any small profits are made they go back into sustaining the collective and the space. We were able to start this project thanks to a small funding grant we received from FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund.
We organize a series of workshops on safe sex, feminist activism, trans issues, women’s rights, LBTQIA rights, gender-based violence, and other issues, in collaboration with other feminist and LBTQI/queer organizations. Our hope is that through providing this space where people can meet and engage important issues that are personally relevant, that this idea will have a tangible impact within the LGBTQI communities here. Through art, the promotion of positive approaches to sexuality, workshops, grassroots activism, and community building, we aim to accomplish the goals that we have outlined.
At the moment, Hungary is going through a difficult social-political shift. We feel that the economic crisis and the concomitant political context are a series of steps back for Hungarian democracy. The presence of of neo-Nazi groups in Budapest and all over Hungary represents a threat for all those people who, for various reasons, do not conform to the mainstream standards. That means that women (particularly Roma women), LGBTQI people, and migrants are particularly vulnerable to aggression. The Roma communities are also at significant risk. In this context safety is our first aim. The rights of other groups, such as women (with regards to sexual and reproductive rights and gender based violence) and homeless people (through the criminalization of homelessness) have also been curtailed by the current government. As freedom of expression is being threatened, the creation of a free space is already a challenge.
The risk of attacks are unfortunately real. We take precautions by promoting relations, solidarity and networks.
Our approach to the elimination of violence against women and trans* aims at fighting misogyny, transphobia and homophobia from their roots. Working on self-awareness means to eradicate the self-hatred, the shame, and to cultivate self-respect. Most of the violence happens in familiar contexts, thanks to the complicity of an individual intimate acceptance of the same habits, beliefs, power relations that harmfully affect oneself. The strategy that we promote is based on the search of what makes you happy, comfortable, safe, in order to fight the primary violence that one does to herself.
We are the Radical Queer Affinity Collective.
RADICAL: We favour non-institutionalized means of activism, and strive to rupture and dismantle dominant structures of privilege and power via direct action, art, and alternative reclamation of spaces.
QUEER: We aspire to disrupt the limiting imperatives of heteronormativity, homonormativity, and reproduction. We oppose homonationalism, racism, sexism,transphobia, ableism, and classism – in all their forms.
AFFINITY: Our community is based on the ideals of mutual trust and respect for each other. We value personal integrity, and passion for what we do and what we stand for.
COLLECTIVE: This group is an autonomous, decentralized entity, in which we strive for non-hierarchical, consensus-based decision-making.