TQU will exist as a Verein (german NGO) until the end of 2020.

This ABOUT page is about the website as well as the Verein.

Queer as in challenging heteronormativity


A world where everyone can be free.

We believe that no person is free while there are others that are not.

We want to work towards creating that freedom for all.


Getting to know who we are and being there for ourselves as well as for each other. Protecting our earth.

Building community so that no one has to face injustice alone. Showing solidarity with all other beings.

Acknowledging priviledges and unlearning prejudices. Meeting each other and learning from each other. Working and growing together.

Accepting ourselves with all our flaws and respecting the other, no matter how much we might disagree, how different our experiences might have been.

Transnational as in creating a network and establishing links beyond borders. Taking global responsibility. Empowering people everywhere to let their voices be heard. Because we’re only as strong as we are together.

Queer as in fighting for the right for everyone to live the life they desire without facing discrimination.

Underground as in the place where the best ideas and practices are born. It’s where we empower ourselves. This is where we keep working on creating the future that we want to live in.


Creating and maintaining transnational-queer-underground.net as an online platform, that provides useful information for the community and anyone interested.

Keeping this platform inviting and encouraging for people to participate, to come out and to find their voice.

Organizing public and private events, such as workshops, lectures, exhibitions, concerts, seminars, exchanges, etc.

Publishing books, zines, posters, etc.

Our mission might change over time, our vision won’t.

What can you do here?

I warmly invite you to explore.
TQU will close it’s activities by the end of 2020, but this website will remain as an archive to experience and explore.


Shifting Traditions – we collect and publish stories around different topics as a means of taking history writing in our hands. In 2019/20 the topic is shifting traditions. Read the call or browse through submissions.

Faces Of Pride (interviews with Pride organizers/ 2018)

OUR_STORY (collection of stories + interviews 2010-2018)

Gendernetworks & Music (interviews 2003/2004)


Photo Competitions – We hosted a couple of photo competitions – one last one still coming up! It’s been so much fun – a really nice way to get people from different places together to think about a certain topic – language becomes less important when you can connect through a photo 🙂 .

#TheGalleryProject – exhibition series with 47 artist in 5 countries

#CA(S)H – Cards Against Sexual Harassment


TQU hosted 5 exhibitions between 2017 and 2018.
From 2018 to early 2020 we hosted a series of events in Berlin. Some of those were short film nights.
The TQU Short Film Nights were supposed to go on tour in 2020, but then Corona happened and film screenings are not a good idea anymore. Amazing films though!


PROPSLIST – was a kind of meeting place. People introduced their projects or offered their skills – maybe some are still interested in collaborations? Otherwise you can  just get some inspiration.

Over time TQU has collected quite a few resources which you are welcome to tap. Some film festivals and groups and organizations all around the globe.

WOULD YOU LIKE to know more?


This website is mostly in English because we want to reach as many people as possible. It’s the language that our team speaks. It’s not the first language for many of us, but it seemed to be the most practical to involve as many people as possible.
We would like to have more translations into other languages in the future, but we don’t have the capacities yet to provide that.

However, we are happy to hear from people who would like volunteer for occasional translations.

If you want to submit something in a different language, please get in touch and we’re happy to work hard to find a solution.


At TQU the term ‘queer’ is understood as a (self-)description for people or groups of people who do not conform to heteronormative rules and/or feel uncomfortable with categories implemented through a heteronormative society.

We are well aware that ‘queer’, as well as other terms such as ‘LGBT’, ‘LGBTIAQ’, ‘feminism’, etc. mostly describe white/western concepts that don’t work for everyone. That is why we encourage you and everyone who writes for TQU to use the terminology that they feel most comfortable with.

We would also like to foster more discussion around LGBTQIA terminology. For now we use all terms more or less interchangeably. We are working on a glossary to provide more discussion on words.

At TQU ‘queer’ is used as a term that does not necessarily refer to sexuality.

It can be used as a term of action in the sense that Judith Butler used it, as “an intervention into power, one that has to take place in alliance with others”. In this way it can simply be used for people of multiple backgrounds and experiences to come together and fight for the common goal of the acceptance of their differences.

People may also use it as a term that describes their sexuality, e.g. that when looking for a partner they are interested in the person and not their gender. It may also refer to people who don’t assign to one single gender, that are gender fluid, or a term of empowerment for people who get discriminated against because of their (presumed) sexuality or the way they dress or act.


TQU is also aware that it can be dangerous to reveal your identity in some places and that there is censorship and oppression in many parts of the world, so that not everybody can speak and write freely. Your name and location won’t ever be published anywhere if you don’t want it to be.

TQU's legal status

We’re here to support the global LGBTIQ community. Transnational Queer Underground e.V. is now a registered non-profit organization in Germany (e.V. = eingetragener Verein, gemeinnützig). You can become a full member of Transnational Queer Underground e.V. – please see the membership section below for details.

You can read our statute here in German. We will post an English version very soon.

A donation to TQU as well as membership fees are tax deductible.

Transnational Queer Underground e.V. was established on the July 29th, 2017. Board members are: Verena Spilker (chair), Tom Moore (vice chair), Jane Flett (treasurer), Michael Hoh (vice treasurer).

Non-Profit vs. Social Business

We’ve been thinking long and hard about this. While Social Businesses can do amazing work – we decided that we want to go another way. Why?

We believe in the community and that people are interested in creating the change that they want to see in the world. If you decide to support our work with your money, with a one donation, you will be able to deduct it from your taxes, therefore you won’t lose money but instead of paying it to the government you relocate it to a cause that you care about. You’re taking charge.

You decide. We want to work for the community from within the community. If you want to profit from our membership program you will also be invited to help set TQU’s agenda.

TQU has an Open-book Policy

We believe that transparency is key. If you want to see our books you may. Just send us an email and we will send you a link. In doing so, we hope to inspire other organizations to do the same.

By laying open our organizational structure and spending we also want to make it easier for those with similar ideas to start their own project.

Financial Statement 2017

A little bit of History

The Transnational Queer Underground or TQU emerged as a reference to the “international pop underground”, a convention initiated by Calvin Johnston (K Records/Portland/USA) in 1991 to take a stand against the sell-out of the music industry, which also laid the foundation for the riot grrrl movement. In 2009 Verena was doing a lot of research on issues related to queer music for an article she was writing at that time and thought that the information she collected might be useful to some other people as well. This is how TQU started as a website.

The history of queers, especially queer POCs, has been widely neglected in the past and is still underrepresented in the present. This is a small attempt towards changing that.

Let’s show our complexity, variety, creativity and powers.

In 2017, after TQU had been growing from a one-person show to a transnational network hub, we gave TQU legal structures, so that we could grow even more. And we did. So much so that by the end of 2019 Verena had to decide: can and should TQU become a professionally run plattform or was it time to say goodbye?

For a moment Verena was looking for other people to take over TQU or different parts of it, but it became clear quite quickly that it would take too much time to learn them in and divide responsibilities.

So TQU will end by 2020, though this site will remain as an archive. If anybody would like to take this over- just get in touch!