LGBTQ

Sarah Hegazy and the Struggle for Freedom

Zeina Zaatari 09.22.2020

Responses to the tragic death of the Egyptian leftist and queer activist Sarah Hegazy reflect a significant transformation in the desire of individuals in the Middle East to claim queer identities. Zeina Zaatari places this moment in the historical context of decades of activism and struggle for freedom and social justice that continue despite tremendous backlash from governments and society.

LGBT Rights in Iran

Shima Houshyar 10.21.2015

Over the last two decades, issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity have gained significant visibility and attention across the globe. The case of Iran is particularly fraught, and has received plenty of coverage due to the work of international non-profits.

Turkey’s Woman in the Red Dress

On June 1, the day after the brutal police attack to disperse the occupation of Gezi Park, thousands more protesters descended upon Taksim Square in central Istanbul. By the end of the week, demonstrators filled the plaza completely, with those in the park itself behind barricades should the police mount another raid. The atmosphere reminded many of a carnival, with people sharing food and dancing to music as they chanted slogans in the shade of the towering trees. It was an anxious occasion all the same — two protester tents were designated as infirmaries. Everyone wore masks or scarves around their necks to ward off tear gas and many carried first aid items for the volunteer health personnel.

Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

06.25.2010

What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work?

Another Struggle

Kerem Öktem 09.15.2008

What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work?

Massad, Desiring Arabs

Joseph Massad, Desiring Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Sanctioned Pleasures

Beirut is known internationally for a youthful jet set that likes to be identified with the world clubbing circuit, including such stops as B018, an underground nocturnal haunt reminiscent of a coffin built by Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury upon the remains of a war crime.

“We Invite People to Think the Unthinkable”

What prompted you to found Hurriyyat Khassa, and what are its goals?

Egypt’s Virtual Protection of Morality

Action by states to impose excessive regulations on the use of…the Internet, on the grounds that control, regulation and denial of access are necessary to preserve the moral fabric and cultural identity of societies, is paternalistic. These regulations presume to protect people from themselves and, as such, they are inherently incompatible with the principles of the worth and dignity of each individual. These arguments deny the fundamental wisdom of individuals and societies and ignore the capacity and resilience of citizens, whether on a national, state, municipal, community or even neighborhood level, often to take self-correcting measures to re-establish equilibrium without excessive interference or regulation by the state.

The Trials of Culture

Session after session, the men stood packed against the cage bars, their eyes furtive behind masks made from torn handkerchiefs or underwear. That and their white jail uniforms gave them a ghostlike look: disincarnate in the sweaty chaos of the courtroom, incarcerated wraiths.

Spatial Fantasies

Rivka, the tragic protagonist of Amos Gitai's new film Kadosh, is unable to conceive a child. Her anxiety is acute. The ultra-Orthodox community of Me'ah She'arim in West Jerusalem, in which Rivka lives with her husband Meir, is known to ostracize its barren women. Seeking spiritual guidance, she leaves their home one evening to pray. The camera follows Rivka as she walks through the darkened streets of Me'ah She'arim, then cuts to her arrival in the spacious, well-lit courtyard of the Western Wall. Hands pressed against the stones, she seeks salvation.

Unlocking the Arab Celluloid Closet

Images of same-sex love and sexual dissidence from the heterosexual norm have long been portrayed in literature, theater and cinema in the Arab world. While the explicit depiction of homosexual acts in film has been the subject of strict censorship, cinematic references to gays and lesbians abound, if often in heavily coded forms.

Zionist Lesbianism and Transsexual Transgression

The music of Dana International, a transsexual singer committed to queer issues, often parodies mainstream Israeli culture. Her latest song, “Diva,” was recently selected by the Israeli Broadcasting Authority to represent Israel at this May’s prestigious European song competition, Eurovision. [1] As Dana prepares for Eurovision, Michal Eden, another member of the Israeli queer community, is running in Meretz’ primaries for the Tel Aviv city board elections. Representing Tel Aviv queers in general and Klaf [2] (the Kehila Lesbit Feministit [the Lesbian Feminist Community]) in particular, Eden will run as a member of Meretz, the left Zionist party in Israel.

Transsexuals and the Urban Landscape in Istanbul

Few social groups can boast the visibility and media attention that male-to-female transsexuals have received in Turkey in recent years. At one point, hardly a month went by without some feature in a popular magazine or a television interview. The cartoonist Latif Demirci captured this frenzied interest with his depiction of an apartment block in a notorious back street of Istanbul. Through each window, a transsexual could be seen being interviewed, filmed or recorded, while building janitors implored a queue of journalists waiting in the street outside to be patient. A recent book offering vignettes on modern Turkey devoted an entire chapter to an interview with Sisi, a famous transsexual.

AIDS Hotline in Cairo

“AIDS is God’s punishment for all those who pollute the country with their sins,” writes the Egyptian weekly newspaper al-Liwa$rsquo; al-Islami (The Islamic Banner) under the headline: “To Follow the Path of Islam Is the Best Way Not to Get Infected.”

In the Egyptian media, attacks on people with HIV are common. Those, however, who do not want to sweep the issue of AIDS under the carpet are ready to deal with the 600 officially registered Egyptians who have been “punished by God” since the disease first appeared in Egypt more than 11 years ago. The World Health Organization puts the figure at ten times the official estimate.

Power and Sexuality in the Middle East

In early 1993, news of President Clinton’s proposal to end the US military’s ban on service by homosexuals prompted a young Egyptian man in Cairo, eager to practice his English, to ask me why the president wanted “to ruin the American army” by admitting “those who are not men or women.” When asked if “those” would include a married man who also liked to have sex with adolescent boys, he unhesitatingly answered “no.” For this Egyptian, a Western “homosexual” was not readily comprehensible as a man or a woman, while a man who had sex with both women and boys was simply doing what men do.

Al Miskin International/Tainted Love

What is up in Egypt? In Cairo, Mustafa Bakri, was deposed as editor-in-chief of al-Ahrar following the failure of the mutiny he led in the halls of the Liberal Party to depose of its leader, Mustafa Kamal Murad. Bakri stormed the party headquarters with 600 armed followers and had himself voted president. For a few days, two versions of al-Ahrar competed for space on the newsstands. Bakri’s paper made a vain stab at seeking Mubarak’s support by turning even more obsequious than the state-run press. Meanwhile, deposed party head Murad published his own loyalist edition attacking the Bakri cult of personality before the police finally moved in and ended Bakri’s short reign. What triggered the coup?

Cancel

Pin It on Pinterest