Middle East, op-ed: The myth of the queer Arab life

For most people in the West life in the Arab world for gay people is hard to fathom. It is, like many other parts of life in this region, complicated. 

One of my favorite television shows growing up was a Ramadan special featuring an Egyptian performer called Sherihan. One year she had a Ramadan special called ‘Sherihan Around the World’, a twenty-minute singing and dancing extravaganza, which had her dressing in exquisite costumes from around the world and performing elaborate song and dance routines. Sherihan was a woman, but she was the best drag queen I had ever seen: camp, self-aware, and fabulous. She had planted in me, without my knowledge, the first seeds of my own gay identity.

Twelve years later, when I was living in Amman, my boyfriend broke up with me. I was becoming too open with my sexuality, he said. I had confided in too many people. Being with me was becoming dangerous. I told him that no one would kill us, let alone threaten us. The Jordanian police don’t have a history of targeting gay men, I reasoned, especially those of our social class. But that wasn’t the danger, he explained. The danger was that being seen with me was making people think he was ‘gay’. And he did not want to be seen as ‘gay’. Read more via Daily Beast