Ikhtyar: it’s all about choices
Ikhtyar is a collective of young Egyptians who want to awaken the queer feminist consciousness. That’s what brought us together from diverse points of departure. We share a dream and want to see it come to life.
Ikhtyar meaning choice in Arabic, is a 3-year-old gender and sexuality knowledge production hub. And, it’s slowly growing. As feminists, we have faith in the legacy and evolution of feminism and queer politics. Ikhtyar is meant to be an evolving, inclusive space. We refuse to fall for the trap of “the new, young and cool collective”.
Our feminist conscience makes us prioritize trusting our process rather than obsessing over end results and project checklists. We trust in our constant reality checks and trials and errors.
Before becoming a collective, we were a group of feminists (women and man) who are also friends. In Ikhtyar, we cherish our experiences and the knowledge we gained from our affiliations with different feminist groups. We value the progression and expansion of our feminisms which is why we want to see Ikhtyar sustain itself and grow as a welcoming gender and sexuality knowledge production collective.
Knowledge is power and the production of knowledge is a form of activism. It is a long and critical process that starts with a few realizations, including the limitations of our own language. Engaging with these limitations is important. as we seek to build a linguistic gender agenda that includes and supports a non-binary approach, one that opposes patriarchal language. We think it is important to radicalize language and socio-political discourses in order to reclaim knowledge as a feminist cause and radical act.
We see knowledge as a means of liberation that comes in different forms. We celebrate the visual, performance arts and written word as ways of communicating this liberation. We are working to infuse a non-binary gender approach to our productions of knowledge.
We believe in solidarity as a true feminist act. We believe in our friendships and in how they brought us together with all the complexities they carry when our hearts and homes are converging with where our cause, office and work are.
We believe that the hardships that most of the gender-based groups and feminist collectives face with regards to finances, international organizations and budgeting ones’ own work are made easier and less overwhelming through solidarity. We also believe that when we come together, we sustain ourselves and our sisters.
We seek to have an operating space that can produce and function within a will-driven environment rather than a fearful, stress-inducing one.
We believe above all that the personal is political. We want to exist in our local communities. We want to work in small villages far from our main city with the young women and men we’ve built trust with over the last couple of years, using art as a means of expression and togetherness. We want to keep running gender seminars where we talk about gender and intersectional approaches to looking at gender. We want to translate the great works of feminist theorists and activists and we want to make these theories and musings available in Arabic.We want to produce knowledge in Arabic, tailored to our own needs and purposes. We want to produce our own gender knowledge in Arabic by creating non-academic and academic writings throughcalls for writers. We can to printthese writings and make them more widely accessible to those who seek this kind of knowledge . We also want to open our library to everyone, and want to watch movies and think about what they mean and how the world views women and men and where our queerness fits in in all of that.
We want to keep being a fun and accessible place, where all forms of feminisms and queerness can exist. We want to keep fighting together and making changes and raising our bars and dreaming big while standing together with other collectives and groups.
To learn more about Ikhtyar
Ikhtyar is currently crowdfunding to sustain its dream of building a strong gender and sexuality knowledge hub.