A question of blame?!

imagesSo we all know about the unspoken rule of being gay in Lebanon. You can get to do whatever you want as long as you don’t act *gay* in public. Whatever that means exactly but in practical terms, no one bothers you as long as you don’t show that you are gay or whatever. So I just wanna babble about this for a second here. And I will probably just talk about it the way that I see it. Unlike so many – if not almost all – of our trans brothers and sisters, cis-gendered queers like me have  the privileged of being able to “pass by” undetected in society. We get to blend in as long as we stick to the dress code of our gender, the bodily movements and gestures that socially appropriate to our gender and not show our interest in people of our own sex.

A very nice example of this comes from a story in al-safir that I read earlier;

“كالمجرمين، أخذني أبي إلى المخفر، وطلب منهم “تربيتي” من جديد، علني أصبح الرجل الذي يريده”، يشرح أيمن. في المخفر أدخلوه إلى أحد المكاتب. لم يضربه أحد. أكدوا له أنه حر في ميوله، ولكن: “المهم ما نشوف شي منك بالشارع وقدام العالم. وإنك تضل ضمن نطاق الأدب والأخلاق. غير هيك ما إلنا معك شي”.

So now that I have set the mood, here’s where I get to my point. While working at Helem, I’ve come across and heard a lot of people telling me their or someone’s story about this one time where they or their friends were harassed for being gay. After the due support and sorry’s are given out, you always get the same reaction from everyone. Everyone goes – and sometimes me as well – “what did you do that they knew you were gay?”, “You should be careful next time. You know it’s not safe for you if anyone knew that you are gay.”, “Girl, you live in a very conservative area. What were you thinking?!”.

I guess, you all know by now where I am going by this. What’s up with this shift of blame?! We all know that it’s not their fault that they got harassed because they were gay or whatever. “Passing by” is not a duty that we need to abide by. It’s our right to be whoever we want to be, wherever we are. We do it because we have to and not because we are supposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking people to come out or sth but I personally think that it’ very important to be careful about where we put the blame. I know we can’t do much about society at the moment, and I know that we can’t always confront that party that did whatever discriminatory act in question but that doesn’t mean that we can place in on the person who got the bitter end of it all.

Anyway, I just had this little piece to say. And it feels pretty awesome to be back to posting stuff here. 🙂