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Khookha McQueer is a Tunisian digital artist, performer, and genderqueer person. In their youth, Khookha came out as a gay man, using their birth name, Khalil Ayari. In 2015 they came out a second time as genderqueer and began using the English personal gender pronouns
they/them/theirs along with their chosen name, Khookha McQueer. However, they still maintain some online platforms under Ayari, the name they first used for their artwork. (Their birth name is used here with their permission.)
Khookha began their career as a graphic designer, explaining that “at first I was not considering myself making art or producing anything related to art,” but that “it started…during the most oppressive moments in my life, at some points in my life I was not able to externalize my thoughts and feelings through speaking and saying things about my preferences, orientation and gender identity clearly”
(Khookha McQueer 2017d).
With their digital artwork, Khookha resists a state apparatus that denies them their subjectivity and sexual autonomy as a non-heterosexual person. Khookha uses almost exclusively digital platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, a progression of their early career as a graphic designer. Furthermore, as a genderqueer person, they experience cis-sexism. Genderqueer and transgender individuals in Tunisia, as is the case globally, are subject to violence and hate not only from heteronormative society but also from less tolerant members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and other marginal sexualities (LGBTQI++) communities.
Khookha’s images present opportunities for small shifts in perception that, com-pounded, may eventually contribute to a less oppressive Tunisia; the mere representation of gender variation challenges viewers to engage with difference. Khookha also strengthens the development of queer and queerness as political-sexual positions by making visible a queer Tunisian politic that resonates with other queer-identified individuals, specifically genderqueer, transgender, and gender-non-conforming people. In doing so, Khookha addresses both the erasure of these individuals from LGBTQI++communities and the violence perpetrated against them.
I am looking to expand my queer-artistic network, and to be able to connect with the artistic queer scene on a transnational scale.
Facebook: Khookha McQueer
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