Queer and Arab | Curio

Queer and Arab

34 mins | Mar 8, 2022

Was there no room for the group in history? In 2020, the LGBT+ artist and activist Sarah Hegazy committed suicide after failing to heal from a traumatic incident at the hands of the Egyptian police after being arrested for donning a rainbow flag on stage. Following on from Hegazy's death, Aya Labanieh wondered whether the queer individual had ever existed in Arab history. 

 In this essay on the fraught modern position of the Arab queer and the colonial origins of Arab homophobia, the writer and political organiser reflects on the history of the queer individual in Arabic communities. Here she uncovers and reflects on the small but rich tapestry of queer culture in Arabic countries whilst considering what caused it to change. "History does not offer us much optimism because things can just as easily get worse as they can get better. But it can offer us a sense of much-needed surprise. Although we are meant to consider ourselves today as living at the pinnacle of modern progress and human civilisation, the past is actually not uniformly worse or better than the present."

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From Aeon

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