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)
The El Salomons pose to their audience a joint face of ultimate resistance. Their journey — whether with coming out, marrying someone from a different religion or working in an industry that is traditionally unkind to women — will likely continue to face hecklers along the way, but for now, the two are looking to take over the New York comedy scene one uncomfortable joke at a time.
Continue reading: https://www.thelily.com/they-are-a-lesbian-jewish-palestinian-couple-heres-how-they-are-using-comedy-to-confront-stereotypes/ (source)
In Iran, being gay can carry a death sentence for men. Though lesbians are discussed less frequently, they too face severe government-sanctioned punishment, including lashes and flogging.
The three days Azadeh* spent in interrogation felt to her like months.
In a remote villa on the outskirts of Iran, she sat listening to clergymen preaching quotes from the Quran as the burns on her arms stung with infection.
Growing up, the 25-year-old says she was often bullied for her “boyish” looks. But several years ago, the harassment took on a more sinister form when she was arrested and tortured by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The guards had found a short story by Azadeh about two male soldiers who were lovers during the war, after a tip-off from a girl Azadeh says held a personal grudge against her.
“I never directly used the word ‘homosexuality’ in my writings,” Azadeh says, “but they wanted to use those writings to get a confession from me that I’m a lesbian. I denied everything.”
Regardless, she was forced to undergo a three-day long “reorientation course”, which she quickly learnt was a euphemism for interrogation. It consisted, she says, of religious instruction and repeated attempts to force her to admit she was gay.
“They tortured me by pouring boiling water on my skin and beating me, especially on the head. [But] more than physical torture, I was subjected to verbal abuse,” she says. “They kept telling me that I was a ‘pussy licker’.”
Azadeh doesn’t see any contradiction between her religious beliefs and her sexual orientation. Her own (legally unofficial) marriage to a woman followed Muslim marriage rituals, and she considers her partner to be her wife in accordance with religious rules. “I used to struggle a lot to interpret the Quran in a way that was more compatible with my situation as a lesbian,” she says. “I think we need new fatwa for this issue.”
Continue reading: https://broadly.vice.com/
Zayna says she was beaten, humiliated and threatened because of her sexuality – but throughout her tormented formative years she refused to deny who she truly was.
Growing up as a young Muslim lesbian in Pakistan, the graduate says she came up against both physical and mental abuse from those that she believes had misinterpreted the messages of the Qur’an.
Continue reading at: What it’s like to live life as a Muslim lesbian – Manchester Evening News (Source)
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Tagged Coming out, compulsory heterosexuality, Discrimination, Freedom from religion, homophobia, Lesbians in Pakistan, Lesbians in the U.K., Lesbophobia, Muslim lesbians, representation, Threats of violence, violence against lesbians, violence against women
Two former Birmingham students have defied death threats to make legal history by becoming the first Muslim lesbian couple to get married in a civil ceremony in the UK. Rehana Kausar, 34, and Sobia Kamar, 29, from Pakistan, tied the knot at a registration office in front of their solicitors and two Pakistani friends earlier this month.
Continue reading at: Muslim lesbian couple defy death threats to tie the knot in civil ceremony – Birmingham Mail (Source)
Posted in News
Tagged compulsory heterosexuality, Discrimination, homophobia, Lesbians in Pakistan, Lesbians in the U.K., Muslim lesbians, persecution, Religious Freedom laws, Threats of violence, violence against lesbians, violence against women