Aside

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. 🙂

Aside

On the hypocracy of our queer brothers and sisters!!

This started out as a comment in reply to Zouzou‘s post “Gays are hypocrites” but I’ve decided to post it as a stand-alone since it connects to some of of my earlier ideas and posts.

“Excuse me, but when a gay guy accepts that another gay guy, no matter who, gets insulted without any reaction or objection, then he is a hypocrite and is a disgrace to homosexuals in general!”

I really think that the issue here is not as skin deep.  I think that it’s safe to say that most of us – if not all – have been in a situation  where somone (probably a family member) said something homophobic and we didn’t find the courage to speak up in protest.

What I’m trying to say is that those who don’t speak up/protest are not necessairly un-courageous.  Rather, the fear that society exercices on us (stigmatization, rejection, outing perhaps…) exceeds the courage that we have to stand up against such remarks*.

*Like most other factors, Courage/outspokeness and fear factors don’t work as a binary system.  Each function on its own uni-directional system and our final decision with probably depend on the balance between this fear/courage balance.

So take this and multiply it to an entire social network of homophobia, conservative social control and an immence faculty of fear/guilt factor (just remember how much our Lebanese moms are famous with their guilt cards).

Queer people who don’t stand up when others diss us are still our brothers and sisters and part of our queer community.  In that sense, I don’t agree with you Zouzou that they are a disgrace to our community.  But I do agree that this an important issue that the queer movement should address.

To reach out to all our queer brothers and sisters is to build more solidarity in our community.  As we do that, we can make sure that when that ex-mother-in-law says something offensive again, she’ll get a good response to suit her ill-chosen words.

p.s. cover picture for this post is taken from ~weaselKW, check out his gallery for more awesome stuff!

Aside

Barra is out (again)

Been two weeks since my last post but it’s been worth the wait.  This is also the first post that deals with something that I am actually working on (so very excited).

Well…as you have already guessed; Barra will be relaunched.  A group of amazing peeps got together and decided to work on the relaunch of the much anticipated LGBTIQ-oriented magazine.  If you haven’t heard of Barra from before, here’s a quick refresher.  A couple of years ago (probably sometime in 2005 or so), Helem released a magazine that was solely oriented to issues related to our community. This magazine was called “Barra” and it was able to publish three issues before discontinuing due to logistic and distribution obstacles. Now, we are relaunching it with a whole new theme, logo and approach.

So here’s the basic teaser;

  • we’re going online and print. First issue will be up in May and the relaunch is scheduled for the IDAHO2012.  Yes, it’s a close call but we’re challenging ourselves and we’re gonna make it.
  • It’s in Arabic format but will also accommodate other languages.
  • Minimalistic and clean layout with rich visuals
  • Rich material in six sections; news (civil society/legal/…), feature story and interview, the platform (المنصة), health, Lifestyle & Art and Marketplace & Fun.

We, at the team of Barra, will our do best to provide the community at large with a magazine that is at the heart of the queer movement in Lebanon and contribute to the ongoing queer discourse in the country (and regionally if possible).

Your contributions are the core of this magazine, so write to us at info@barramag.com with you questions/comments and – most of all – your submissions.