In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. Forget about gay marriage. Gay rights are virtually non-existent, so most LGBT Arabs lead deeply closeted lives.
We’re using AJ’s initials because not everyone in her family knows that she’s a lesbian. If 34-year-old AJ could go back in time and tell her 17-year-old self that she’d stop wearing hijab, own a car and have a girlfriend one day, she says her younger self would have never believed it.
“My mom was very strict,” AJ says. “I really couldn’t go out with friends, couldn’t leave the house or visit friends, or do anything.”
But even while living under her mother’s thumb, AJ began to realize she was different.
“I always had a crush on women,” she says.
“Another fun fact about Saudi — it’s very normal for females to have a crush on another female,” she says. “But then when it became more sexual, that’s where you drew the line.”
AJ had no one to talk with about what she was feeling, so she went online.
“I took to Google, looked up my symptoms. Google tells me I’m gay. And I’m like, ‘oh no I’m not.’”
Her reluctance to accept it wasn’t because she grew up Muslim — she says she was never a believer, despite coming from a religiously conservative home. She didn’t want to be gay because it’s nearly impossible to lead an open, honest life in Saudi as a queer person.
Continue reading: https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-07-22/what-its-grow-lesbian-saudi-arabia (source)
A Room of Our Own
A Feminist/Womanist Network
“Lesbian sexual identity and choice is being eroded, erased and elided. This is being done by the literal obliteration of lesbians by state-sponsored violence, by the “corrective rape of lesbians” (imagine the 12 year old Pearl Mali being given the worst sort of reparative therapy by her very own mother), by the harassment and violence, by the firings (lesbians face more job discrimination than any other group within the LGBT alliance), by the enforced and compulsory heterosexuality of every society on earth. Aderonke Apata has been forced, by men, to provide not just spoken testimony and a pending marriage license, but also a sex tape of her having sexual relations with her partner to “prove” her lesbianism to the men who want to erase that aspect of her identity–the very identity that puts her and millions of other lesbians at risk of imprisonment and/or death.”
Continue reading Victoria Brownworth and other contributors to A Room of Our Own at: Erasure: The New Normal for Lesbians by @VABVOX – A Room of Our Own (Source)
AND MORE Victoria Brownworth at: https://www.victoriabrownworth.com/
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Tagged A Room of Our Own, Aderonke Apata, Ciara Murphy, compulsory heterosexuality, corrective rape, Discrimination, Freedom from religion, Hate crimes, homophobia, Jackie Nanyonjo, Keshema Tulloch, language matters, lesbian erasure, Lesbian history, lesbian identity, lesbian voices, Lesbians in India, Lesbians in Ireland, Lesbians in Jamaica, Lesbians in Kyrgyzstan, Lesbians in Nigeria, Lesbians in Russia, Lesbians in Saudi Arabia, Lesbians in South Africa, Lesbians in Sudan, Lesbians in Sweden, Lesbians in the U.K., Lesbians in the U.S., Lesbians in Uganda, Lesbophobia, Maria Barin, Pearl Mali, persecution, Roisin Prendergast, seeking asylum, Threats of violence, Victoria A. Brownsworth, violence against lesbians, violence against women