More to the Story: Chloe Davis, The Queens’ English

Taylor Harrington 3/31/2021 11:30am EST

We sat down with author Chloe Davis, The Queens’ English, The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases. The dictionary was born to be all-inclusive and Chloe says the plus gives the acknowledgment of the spectrum of identity that lives within the human identity as a whole. The Queens’ English houses over 800 words used to describe the gay and queer experiences.

“Truth be told, pride lies within one’s identity.”

For over a decade and a half, Chloe has been meeting with different individuals, listening to all of their different stories, and writing The Queens’ English. Chloe says that her love of language, identity, and joy led her to this journey.

In 2006, the dictionary started when Chloe was part of a Black modern dance company in Philadelphia and would learn words like “shade”, “fierce”, “slay”, and “snatched”. Some company members were part of the ballroom scene and the language flowed naturally to the other dancers. Chloe was curious about the words she would hear. Her friends would explain to her the origins of the words and Chloe would playfully give “academic” definitions to what some would consider slang. She recommended that there should be a dictionary to house these words and document an important culture.

Language shapes culture and Chloe says genuine connections were made, and the love for the dictionary grew. People were open to sharing their own identities and terminologies with Chloe. Within the book, you learn how to use a phrase or idiom within the community. There is a fun “Did You Know?” section where the terms will have synonyms and little-known facts, along with a story of how the word and language evolved throughout different communities and time.

Language evolves within different communities and cultures, and words have been reaffirmed over time, and there are also “usage notes” throughout the dictionary, like who coined the words or just loosely spread them among the Black-American culture and the Black-Gay culture.

“I strive to be as inclusive as possible. There are new terminologies that some people haven’t even heard yet. One that I’ve been hearing more recently is Queer Spawn.”

Originally from St. Louis Missouri, Chloe moved to the east coast to attend Hampton University for undergraduate and then to Temple for her Master’s Degree, Chloe has always been very driven and connected to the arts. With a background in musical theater, Chloe is hopeful that she will be back on the stage in June or July of this year. She is ready to start creating and moving her body again and is working on a new Broadway show called Paradise Square, which is set in 1800s New York City in Five Points, and it is about the Black and Irish community and how they connected through shared culture and music. Chloe is also making her debut as the Associate Choreographer for For Colored Girls on Broadway, and her favorite thing to do is empower others through genuine relationships and storytelling.

The Queens’ English, The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases can be found at all major booksellers, but Chloe also wants to remind everyone that they can stop into their local bookstore and request a copy be sent there, as supporting local businesses is always important.

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