An Angry Lesbian in the Middle East

An Angry Lesbian in the Middle East
“We are judged everywhere we go,” She said to her friend. “People judge us based on the looks, they call girls with short haircuts “boya”, which is basically using the word as if it is the “female version” of the word boy, they also refer to soft men as “tant” which is offensive for men as it is meant in a way to underestimate their masculinity, and we can literally get fired from work, or be kicked out of the house if they find out about our sexuality.”
 
“Now the story does not end here, does it?” he asked with a sad look in his eyes.
 
“No my dear, it never does.” She tapped on his left shoulder and went on explaining, “You know, I just want to let this out, I am starting to believe that our community is being so judged that we ourselves got lost in this judgmental world and ended up judging ourselves, too. We even judge our own community and whoever walks in or out!” she lit a cigarette and looked away with anger starting to rise in her tone. “Almost every time I try to get closer to a woman, because of my “too feminine” looks they would assume that I am straight, freak out and walk away, and wait it gets better,” she said. “When I date a butch, I can’t introduce her to the family because of the obvious looks so we end up taking our separate ways since my family does not know. Ugh! You see my friend, here in the community almost everything is based on pure first judgment of the looks, without considering the brains, the heart, and the purity of the human being standing right in front of them, just like our society judging us.”
“Babe, I am being judged for being the soft man they don’t want to see in the society,” he said. “And I am being adored in the community, but yet not for anything but the looks, and you are being judged for who you are “special-friends” with in front of your family, and being judged in our own community for looking the way you like to look. I know you are angry, I know you have been through so much…”
“It is not about the judgments anymore.” She interrupted him with tears starting to fill her eyes “Now, it is about the heartache, it is about who I am, where do I feel accepted, and to just be?! It is like, I don’t know me anymore.”
“This is all because you are unique, you being who you are is always good enough, and for those who want to judge you they actually make it easier for you to eliminate them off your circle. And for this particular reason, the one who will appreciate you for who you are, and will like the good and accept the bad, that will be the unique special one to remain in your life, she will be the person who will not ask you to change to fit into any community’s or society’s standards.”
“It is just too hard to grow up in a family that expects you to live the traditional “normal” way, and then you just walk away from it all , the traditions, and the life they planned for you. You leave it all to the one place you thought was safe, and you feel rejected!”
“Wherever you go, this will be found, you do not need to be homosexual to feel rejected, yet it sure has a higher probability of happening, but it is okay, you know why? It is no longer about the groups, we live in a fast-changing world, and people could fall in love over screens for God’s sake! This change made us live in a more of a materialistic world, but some people are coming back to their senses and realizing the need of true emotions in their lives, those people will come together and that’s what you need, so again, it is no longer about the groups or the judging or the lifestyle, it is about the fulfilling satisfaction that you will receive from the special woman who will see through you.”
“You know, you make perfect sense. Sometimes all we need is a heart to heart talk. Thank you.”
 
She stared at the glass of red wine in her right hand, and saw shades of her eyes reflected in the glass as if they were staring right back at her, then thought to herself “Imagine a life where lesbians are accepted, and the whole idea of being queer is no longer queer…”
 
Interrupted by the voice of her friend “I was 15 when I started feeling things towards men, I was a religious little boy, and I refused to accept those feelings. I started having dreams of being with men, and I freaked out! So I started praying more and seeing different sheikhs hoping I will be cured, but nothing worked. I tried for 3 years to “cure” myself but everything went in veins, that’s when I started realizing it was not a disease, gay is normal, gay is who I am, lesbian is who you are, straight is who Layla our bestfriend is.”
 
“And now thinking about it, these are just labels we are putting for what we mainly like to do in bed, and for who we like to hold hands with, which I find ridiculous!”
“We need to start talking more openly about it, this fear you and I have of coming out will be on the way of our moving on with someone special in life.” 
 
“No, I can’t come out not because of fear but love, there is no need to let the people who sacrificed for me the most to know about this, not because their love might change or the way they see me would, but because I worry how they will feel, will they get a heart attack? Will they blame themselves forever? We always strive to be accepted for who we are, but how about we accept them for who they are, for the ideas they were born with, I can’t come and change that for them when they are this old. Besides, I live alone, my personal life is mine.”
 
“But if we say this for every case then we will never be accepted, and that is the root of our issue, we need to change their mindset about homosexuality, about the way the LGBT community is perceived, I believe we need to start talking about it more openly and make people understand it even if we start talking about it as if we are straight and hiding our identity, then little by little we come out, we ask for our rights, because this is a social change, one that is influenced also by religion, so it won’t be easy but it has to be done, slowly.”
“Hmmmm… thinking about it this way, you are actually right. Enough with the lies, the double lives we are having, the fears, the mocking and the bullying. Enough.”
Published in BROAD Feminist and Social Justice Magazine / Chicago – Oct. 2014, Pages 29-30
By ABEER ALLAN
 
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5 thoughts on “An Angry Lesbian in the Middle East

  1. I hope you dont take this as a personal attack but this is not well written. There are some parts that are ok but the rest is hardly interesting. Ok, so being gay in predominantly Arab/Muslim region is hard, what else is new? .. it just lacks depth in terms of really getting inside and exploring what it is to be gay in a place like that. The person who wrote this might want to ask themselves, am I really this person, am I really gay or is this just a symptom of some deep desire to rebel. Reading this, with all the drinking, shaking up and living alone remarks it feels like its been written by a Westerner or a westerner wanna be, not a “gay” Arab .. so again is this about being a gay Arab or hating the society in which you live and everything it stands for? .. personally, nothing is unique or particularly interesting about wanting this region to adopt the 'western' take on everything; its ok to be gay, have premarital sex, drink .. etc. It was never like that, and I hope it never will .. there are enough places around the world where one can do all these things sans judgment but for God's sake stop trying to advocate turning this place to something its not. Respect it, if you dont like it .. move, otherwise try to understand what lies behind the dogma before bashing it out. I know I sound backwards but I strongly believe in what I wrote just like I strongly believe the author of this article is not really gay, she wants to be, and I saw so many resembling cases in my life time. Its rebellious, a step in the path of self discovery, an attempt to be different .. I dont know .. I hope this is not to be taken the wrong way, if nothing else; sometimes harsh criticism is just the thing we need to become better. Good luck

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  2. Well if you ask not to take this personal then you judge the author for a fictional story, then I believe you chose the wrong words. And I am sure you know that in writing there are different ways, styles and methods, fiction is one of them. This is a scenario created based on talking to different people, gays and lesbians and then combining thoughts to come up with this. I am the author and if you are saying I am a “wanna be” lesbian, then good for you, you sure know a lot about me from one script. If you want facts, ask and explore don't wait for every single piece written to hand it to you, as written pieces are posted to convey different messages, you can go back to my old posts to read facts, then you create your own image of the person I am, and you can keep it to yourself. If you have criticism regarding the writing itself, then you can share and it is up to me how I take it.
    As for the drinking and all, I did not know it was just for westerners, and whoever does it is a westerner wanna be. So yeah I am sure you know a lot, and you have came across a lot of cases that taught you a lot apparently, and for one is that you can judge a writer based on one fictional scenario thinking you are making them better with this judgment, good for you. 🙂 And don't flatter yourself by thinking you can make me a better person, yes, there is always room for improvement but definitely judging people without/with knowing their circumstances never works for me 😉 Oh and if you strongly believe in what you say, then stand by it and show your name.

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  3. Dear Ms.Abeer,
    My name has absolutely no relevance here. You dont know me, I dont know you .. I just happened to come across your blog, read a piece and gave you my honest uncensored opinion, which obviously you did not like. Now, I assume you aspire to be a writer, or you are one already, and I happen to be an editor and a writer, and what I wrote, again was in no means an attack. If you want to be a writer, a good one anyways then you need to come to terms with the fact that you will get bad reviews, and lots of 'em! If what you've been getting so far are solely good reviews then people are being way too nice to you and this is a disservice to your career. The best thing to do, at least for me – is to try and understand what the other person wrote and how I can use these remarks to better my writing, you can do it, believe me- accepting negative reviews and learning from them will make you an amazing writer. Also,I was not 'judging' you nor trying to make you better, I was reacting to a piece of writing – thats it, the writing not you. So if its fiction, there should be a remark in the beginning or end, otherwise when you simply state 'article' it is going to be confused as a piece of nonfiction. I know I was not asked to edit or give opinion but keeping in mind that this a public forum, then feedback is an eminent possibility .. I will give you one final remark, again strictly professional; if you would like to write in English, you need to let someone look at your articles before you post them, preferably one whose English is there first language, because clumsy errors and ackword phrases do not resonate well with readers and publishers alike, you wanna get your stuff out there, then get them polished to the T. If you're bilingual, then pick a language that you feel comfortable in a stick with it.

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  4. Hmmm well when you say “I think the person who wrote this” or you say “the author is” you are clearly no longer talking about the piece. And as for editing it has already been edited by an editing team from a university in Chicago. However, I do not need to explain this. I do get a lot of reviews the good and bad as I post on different media portals and sometimes I get them in my inbox, and they never bother me as I see things from different angles and I consider it constructive criticism. It is the personal attack that I do not appreciate. And since you are an editor then it would be good for you not to judge the author, their sexuality or their lifestyle and you stick to the piece written. And also I would advise you not to tell your writers to stick to one thing, if they are comfortable with different languages, let them. We all get our pieces edited eventually even if written in our native language, that is why we have a whole editing team or even at least one editor.

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  5. With all do respect whoever edited this did not do a good job, its filled with ackword phrases and yes I would demand my writers to stick to what they know and are good at. As for 'the author' or the 'person who wrote this' remark, again I was reacting to a piece of writing which is not declared as fiction, so I assumed it was nonfiction and im sure you already know this but the author and story are inseparable … so im sorry for what you deem as 'judging' you – in my critique but that is part of the drill. … I stand by what I wrote, its not nice but its honest. Work on your English, on your style, give it more structure, deepen your characters, deepen your plot. Good luck

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