The Biden administration is spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to translate the Homosaurus, a self-described “vocabulary of LGBTQ+ terms” that includes phrases such as “anal fisting” and “jizz,” into Spanish, documents show.
President Joe Biden’s National Endowment for the Humanities in January announced the $350,000 grant, which will see the University of Washington create a “Spanish-language version of the Homosaurus.” The dictionary, which features a dinosaur standing under a rainbow as its logo, defines hundreds of terms and phrases “relating to bisexuality, trans, gender, and intersex concepts,” according to its website. Examples include “anal fisting,” which the Homosaurus defines as the “sexual practice of inserting a fist into an anus,” “jizz,” which it calls the “slang term for semen; primarily used in the United States,” and “Indigiqueer,” a “term used to describe the identity of people who are both Indigenous and queer and view those identities as inherently related and interconnected.”
Biden as president has championed the National Endowment for Humanities, showering it with record-high budgets that make projects like its Homosaurus grant possible. The endowment in 2023 received an all-time high $207 million budget, and Biden last month proposed a $211 million budget for the agency for 2024. Biden in October 2021 tapped Navajo Nation member Shelly Lowe to chair the endowment, and one month later, the Democrat’s White House identified the agency as a part of its effort to “restore and strengthen American democracy.”
The endowment’s Homosaurus grant will see $350,000 go to the University of Washington, where feminist scholar Marika Cifor will oversee the Spanish translation, a project she says will take three years. Cifor told the Washington Free Beacon that the project “received strong reviews and support from the NEH at each stage thus far” and that the grant will begin in September. For Cifor, the Spanish-language Homosaurus—which she said would include as many as 1,600 terms—will help solve the “basic struggles for information accessibility that many marginalized communities still face.”
The National Endowment for Humanities did not return a request for comment.
Homosaurus includes a broad range of lesbian, gay, and transgender phrases. Some, such as “ass fucking,” are vulgar and self-explanatory, while others require a more specific knowledge of the gay community. “Bear,” for example, is not a term used to identify the carnivoran mammal but rather a slang term used to “describe hairy and large or muscular gay men.” “Fag stags,” meanwhile, consist of “heterosexual men who enjoy the company of gay men,” while “anal beads” are defined as sex toys that consist of “multiple attached spheres (or balls) that are continuously inserted through the anus into the rectum and then removed with varying speeds.”
Homosaurus also includes terms that define minors under the age of 18, such as “bisexual boys,” “gay boys,” and “transgender children.” The dictionary, which sells children’s apparel bearing its logo, also defines “pederasts” as “adult men who have sexual and mentor/protégé relationships with adolescent boys” but says the term should only be used “in historical contexts.”
The Spanish-language version of the dictionary will take years, Cifor said in a March interview, because a direct translation “doesn’t feel adequate and reinforces the centrality of the English language.” While the project will see Cifor directly translate some of Homosaurus’s English terms, it will also use “partner organizations” to identify “words that might exist only in Spanish and might not have an English equivalent.”
“Direct translation seems simple on its surface, but it won’t be culturally adequate to the kind of vocabulary we want to build,” Cifor said.
Homosaurus’s database is maintained by the Digital Transgender Archive, a self-described “trans-affirming,” “anti-racist,” and “feminist” academic resource that boasts a “collection of materials related to trans-ing gender.” The archive is based in Boston, but its website recognizes that the city sits on “the sovereign territory of the Wampanoag and the Massachusett Peoples,” an acknowledgement it says is “part of our commitment to working to dismantle the historic and ongoing erasures of Indigenous people and the widespread impacts of settler colonialism.”
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