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Courage in the face of hatred: Navigating queer existence in an ugly Lebanon

Courage in the face of hatred: Navigating queer existence in an ugly Lebanon

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إقرأ باللغة العربية:

هل أرغب في البقاء في بلد تُربط فيه الكويرية بعبادة الشيطان؟


As a queer person, I write this piece with a heavy, aching heart and a mind filled with exhaustion.

“Jnoud el Rab”, who deem their deeds as acts of chivalry, along with religious figures convinced they are protecting their followers, and extremists who believe they are protecting their children from harm, have not only spread more homophobia, but created a newfound fear among the queer community; a fear of religion; a fear that emerges from the realization that all religious factions have, for once, united in the name of hatred and violence.

Imagine the terror we, as a community, felt when “Jnoud el Rab” decided to disgrace the very God they claim to serve, by spreading violence, hate, and terror in His name. Imagine the terror and fear our parents felt, when they learned that their children were under attack, simply because of their existence. Imagine the extreme pain and internalized self-hate that members of the community felt, when they witnessed their parents reposting heart wrenching comments insulting the existence of their own children.

As a queer person, I write this with a heavy, aching heart and a mind filled with exhaustion. Imagine the terror we, as a community, felt when “Jnoud el Rab” decided to disgrace the very God they claim to serve, by spreading violence, hate and terror in His name

I personally heard and read extremely hateful comments coming from my own father. He believes that queer communities were satanic cults that grew and spread through non-consensual brainwashing. Some of the hurtful things he said were insults and angry remarks that I had never dreamed would come out of his mouth, especially since he is an extremely kind and peaceful man usually. If only he had known how his own daughter was affected by his words, and how he allowed his "princess" to start despising him.

All of this is causing a battle to rage within me. For our right to exist, I want to fight. I want to defend my friends who suddenly found themselves trapped in a bar worrying about being assaulted or possibly killed. Yet, my hands feel tied, and I feel I am unable to. I'm scared that our fight could potentially backfire, and lead to more hate and violence directed towards us. I worry about hurting my mother, who has been nothing but supportive, and who has made sure to always protect me from people’s ugly words. Most importantly, I worry about my own life.

All of this is causing a battle to rage within me. For our right to exist, our right to live, I want to fight. I want to defend my friends who suddenly found themselves trapped in a bar worrying about being assaulted or possibly killed

As someone who has always been open and proud about their queerness, I have never been one to fear going out and showing people who I was. I never worried about displaying my love for my partner in public. But sadly, following last Wednesday's events, I have to admit that I am now afraid to do so. My partner and I went to a concert on Friday night, and whenever she'd approach me, I would involuntarily flinch. I was terrified a person would see us and react with hostility, leading to unwanted comments, a fight, or possibly something even worse. This made me question for the first time ever, whether staying in this country is a safe choice for me.

My love for Lebanon is beyond words. Among all my friends and companions, I was always the one to stand firmly with the idea of staying in this country and never leaving it. Yesterday was the first time I questioned my choices. Do I want to stay in a country where people associate queerness to satanism? Do I want to stay in a country where political figures believe early marriage and pedophilia are the right ways to prevent queerness? A country where these same figures also call upon our death?

As a definition, the word terrorism means the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, specifically against civilians. The word oppression means subjecting individuals to cruel and unjust treatment. The word apartheid means segregation or discrimination between communities. These three words describe what we have been subjected to on Wednesday, as a community.

My love for Lebanon is beyond words. Among all my friends and companions, I was always the one who stood firmly with the idea of staying in this country and never leaving it. Yesterday was the first time I questioned my choices

As an answer to my previous question, do I want to stay in this country that has hurt my community for so long? Surprisingly I do. I want to show everyone that although we are scared, we are still here. Their hate won’t make us disappear; on the contrary, it makes us stronger.

We are here and we are everywhere. And that is why queerness is infinite.


* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22



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