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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society

Alwan is an online community for Arab lesbians, gay men, bisexual men and women, transgender persons and those who are interested in building bridges with ...

the Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society (GLAS), an international organization established in 1988 in the USA with worldwide chapters. We serve as a networking organization for Gays and Lesbians of Arab descent or those living in Arab countries. We aim to promote positive images of Gays and Lesbians in Arab communities worldwide, in addition to combating negative portrayals of Arabs within the Gay and Lesbian community. We also provide a support network for our members while fighting for our human rights wherever they are oppressed. We are part of the global Gay and Lesbian movement seeking an end to injustice and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arab Homosexuality : Lifestyles

AMMAN (AROL)-- The issue of male homosexuality in the Arab world remains a taboo and untapped subject away from national debate.

This tendency is not spoken about openly-- though male-male friction is acknowledged. Nor is it legally recognized in these conservative societies.

While the issue of recognizing male homosexuality is not totally different from other countries, male Arab homosexuality has indeed a different notion from that in the West.

Gay activities are frowned upon in Islam but a set of cultural and traditional taboos has played a role in the acquiescence of much of these sexual activities if confined to a certain set of moral conducts.

That is to say, homosexual behavior may be overlooked but experiencing feelings of an emotional nature beyond sex makes a man gay and hence, a potential outcast. In a society where the family bond, "honor" and image are extremely important, many tend to follow the dictates and norms of society, even if this means living in conflict with their inner feelings.

Sex vs. emotions
Many Arab men make a distinction between sex and emotional attachment. Bruce Dunne, author of an article titled Power and Sexuality in the Middle East, believes that sexual relations in the Middle East are about power. He writes: "Sexual relations in Middle Eastern societies have historically articulated social hierarchies, that is, dominant and subordinate social positions: adult men on top; women, boys and slaves below…Both dominant/subordinate and heterosexual/homosexual categorizations are structures of power."

Having pure, raw sex with another man and being the active partner doesn’t make a man gay. This notion of same-sex is also true in the West. It differs, however, with regard the application.

"Since the concept of same-sex relations does not exist in the Arab world, being ‘Gay’ is still considered to be a sexual behavior," says Outreach Director of the Gay and Lesbian Arab Society, Ramzi Zakharia, in an e-mail interview. But according to Western definition, "that limits it to 'homosexual' behavior, which does not mean that the person is Gay. Just because you sleep with a member of the same sex does not mean you are Gay... it just means that you are engaging in homosexual activity. Once a relationship develops beyond sex (i.e: love) this is when the term gay applies," adds akharia.

He believes that gays in the Arab world, unlike those in Western societies, "limit their activities to sex and rarely explore feelings beyond that," experience.

Impressions from a European
European-born Marcus, who has been in Jordan for two months, has already noticed a remarkable difference between the Kingdom and his native country. While he says that the men he has met generally shy away from emotional intimacy mostly because they experience inner conflicts, these same men are capable of justifying a purely sexual experience.

Having sex (discreetly) is alright, and sometimes even seen as an exploit. It is therefore justified.

Men holding hands or walking arm in arm are familiar scenes in Arab streets. In general men are more intimate with each other than they are in the West and a man without a woman at his side is not really seen as strange, Marcus observes.

These scenes would not draw the eyes of passersby, but the same man-to-man intimacy could be outrightly interepreted in the West as a gay relationship.

"It is much easier to meet men and be close to them here," Marcus says.

(This article focuses only on male homosexuality. This reporter tried to interview females and to tackle the issue of female homosexuality, without results. Arab and Jordanian women are quite reserved and inhibited on this issue, even anonymously, for fear of causing problems to their friends).

Marcus, 29, is gay. He is in the country for the first time learning Arabic. Marcus preferred not to use his real name. Although he says he feels more at ease about being gay in Jordan than he does in his home town, he did not want his colleagues at work to read his name.

Marcus says he feels comfortable approaching a man in Jordan with frankness about his desires. Even though the man may not be gay there is some sort of "understanding" at what is going on, and little or no offence would be taken.

Some men interviewed in Jordan, however, appeared offended at the mention of this topic and they even refused to bring up the issue in general. When they did finally speak about homosexual behavior and gays-- which they believed were the same-- they spoke with repulsion and with harshness.

But Marcus says he has not yet experienced anything of this sort and life for a gay in Jordan is much easier in some ways. Back in his home, a man cannot easily approach or look at another man. "We have the legal recognition but we have a social taboo," Marcus says.

Living a dual life
It may be easier to engage in homosexual behavior, but it certainly is not the case when emotions are involved. This Arab distinction of sex versus emotional attachment is largely derived out of a conflict with dualreligion and tradition. Arab men engage in homosexual behavior, and don’t cross the realm of being gay in order not to morally hurt themselves or their families. These Arab men would prefer (though not because they really want to) to fit into society’s mold and they justify their sexual preferences as "something men do", and not as "something I do because I am gay."

If these same people were living in Western societies, they would most probably be gay and not only engage in homosexual sex. In the West, those who are gay will cross the homosexual boundaries, even if that means staying in the closet. In the Arab world, only some do. Many, however, live a dual life.

Indeed, several gay Arab men living in the US have said that when they return to their homes for long visits, they adapt to societal expectations of them as men, become "hypocritical" and engage in only homosexual behavior, if they do at all.

"They (Arab men) do not face friends/families or even themselves with the truth of their identity. Rather, the majority will carry on with society's plans, get married, get the kids... and then either carry on sexual relations on the side... or vent out their sexual frustrations on Alcohol, Drugs, Spouse Abuse, and other negative and destructive behavior," according to Zakharia.

Homosexuality for Arabs contradicts and even undermines the male, patriarchal image as a "macho" in Arab societies.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Film Actors : Gay Male

From the silent era forward, gay film actors have made significant contributions to cinematic art and Western culture. While very few gay and lesbian actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have nevertheless challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and femininity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.

Because of the peculiar hold that film celebrity has had on Western popular culture, film actors--particularly film stars--have always been the subject of rumor and gossip, which in turn has affected the way they are perceived by others. Literally scores of actors, ranging from silent stars such as Rudolph Valentino and later screen idols such as Cary Grant and James Dean to contemporary stars such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Keanu Reeves, and Tom Selleck, have been rumored to be gay. Sometimes the rumors are true, but often they are not.



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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Indonesia: Anti-gay campaign sweeps Jakarta

Grebeg-Panti Pijat GAY

According to Rido Triawan, the chairperson of Arus Pelangi ("Rainbow Current"), an Indonesian LGBTI rights organisation, a new anti-gay and lesbian campaign is sweeping Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, in the wake of hysterical media coverage about a so-called "Gay mutilation murder case".
Verry Idam Henyansyah, better known as "Ryan" confessed to the murder and mutilation of a gay man, Heri Santoso, in Jakarta a few weeks ago. He has subsequently confessed to 10 other murders.
"Some stupid psychologists have since stated to the media that LGBTI people were more evil and immoral than heterosexual people", Triawan told ASAP. "So it has became a national issue and the police department and some radical Islamic groups have been sweeping some gay areas in Jakarta. The police have already detained some gay persons in Central Jakarta."
Erlangga Masdiana, a criminologist from the University of Indonesia, was quoted in the July 21-27 issue of Tempo magazine arguing "that homosexuals commit sadistic killings should not surprise anybody if you know their world. People with deviant sexual behavior are used to be close to criminal world. They are used to make threats and to use force if someone who is invited to intimacy refuses the offer. With such habits they can commit more serious crimes, of course."
Dadang Hawari, a well-known psychologist, was quoted in Berita Kota on July 20: " … homosexuals have stronger feelings of jealousy and they can act quite violently when their wishes are not granted. Gays/homosexuals have a deviant sexual behavior and their aggressiveness is therefore beyond normal."
"There are a lot of heterosexual persons who also become murderers", the General Secretary of Arus Pelangi, Yuli Rustinawati, was forced to explain in the newspaper Detik on July 17. "It's not true the gay and lesbian persons are more possesive than heterosexual persons. Anyone could become a murderer. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation."
A gay man named Darso told "Nonstop" Daily (25 July 2008): "my friend was arrested in Senen area [Jakarta] during a police razzia [raid]. The reason was not clear. I am now afraid to be kicked out from my apartment. Since the Ryan affair started all gays have become afraid."
Local police of Senen area has started checking the rent apartments where many gays live. This action was directly led by police chief A.K.P. Kasmono, the same article reported.
It added that the Metropolitan Police Chief Irjen. Adang Firman stated he would "not discount that it will conduct raids against [hangout places of] homosexuals".
The Islamic para-military group Hisbullah, Fery Alfiansyah Noor, joined in the homophobic chorus: "Homosexuality is like an infectious disease. That is why the local government should be tough with the usual gay hangout places. If they are left free, they will ultimately infect the larger population."
International Day Against Homophobia 2008, JakartaThe chairman of the Association of Ulamas of Jakarta, Ashraf Ali, declared: "Gays and lesbians will 100% sure go to hell, because same-sex relationships are forbidden by the Koran."
"We in Arus Pelangi are now preparing for possible attacks from fundamentalist Islamic groups - including evacuation", warns Triawan. "We are preparing an urgent appeal for solidarity from international friends, urging them to write letters of concern to the Indonesian embassies and consulates in their countries.
"Since Indonesia ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Politic Rights in 2005, many human rights violations continue to take place, including arrests of gays simply because of their sexual orientation. It is not right and the state has no right to arrest LGBTI people for their sexual orientation. It also has no right to legalise violence done by some fundamentalist Islamic groups against LGBTI people."



Saturday, April 18, 2009

MUI - Tolak Pertemuan Gay di Palembang

Rencana pertemuan lanjutan komunitas gay (homoseksual, lelaki penyuka sesama jenis) se-Indonesia yang sedianya akan digelar di sebuah hotel di Palembang, Sumatera Selatan, Minggu (1/3) besok, ditentang keras oleh Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) Sumsel.

“Kami MUI Sumsel menolak rencana pertemuan gay dan meminta penyelenggara membatalkannya serta meminta aparat atau pihak berwenang mencabut izin penyelenggaraan kegiatan tersebut,” tegas Ketua MUI Sumsel, KHM Sodikun kepada wartawan, di ruang kerjanya, Jumat (27/2). Menurut Sodikun, gay maupun lesbi (perempuan penyuka sesama jenis) hukumnya haram sebagaimana tercantum dalam Al-Quran Surat Al’Araf 80-84 yang mengharamkan hubungan sesama jenis, baik sesama lelaki dan perempuan.
Selain itu juga dikuatkan dengan fatwa haram dari MUI maka semua pihak dihimbau agar sama-sama berpikir cerdas dengan mengutamakan landasan berpikir moral. Apalagi, lanjut Sodikun, bila dikaitkan dengan misi Palembang menuju Kota Internasional, Berbudaya dan Religi pertemuan tersebut tidak mencerminkannya malah sangat bertentangan.

“Ini haram, haram dan sangat haram, kami minta Pemerintah Kota Palembang mengambil sikap tegas jangan biarkan budaya haram yang bertentangan dengan misi Palembang,” tegas Sodikun yang saat menggelar pertemuan didampingi Ketua Komisi Fatwa MUI Sumsel, KHM Luthfi Izzuddin, MA serta sekretaris Komisi Pengkajian, Mahmud Jamhur.

Pelarangan kegiatan tersebut muncul, lanjut Sodikun, karena ada laporan warga bahwa disalah satu Hotel sudah berlangsung pertemuan komunitas sesama jenis, 28 Januari lalu. Dalam laporan itu disebutjan bahwa komunitas yang hadir lebih dari 50 orang berasal dari gay se-Indonesia di mana Komunitas gay di Palembang ditunjuk sebagai tuan rumah.

Berdasarkan laporan tersebut, MUI langsung menurunkan tim mengecek kebenaran itu dan hasilnya malah mengejutkan, tak hanya hura-hura sambil berjoget, mereka juga menampilkan atraksi tari yang dilakukan lelaki bertubuh seksi dengan pakaian minim di hadapan para penonton yang sebagian lelaki.

Tak cukup sampai disitu, komunitas tersebut, lanjut Sodikun, berencana kembali menggelar pertemuan lanjutan dua kali, yakni Minggu (1/3) besok.

“Kami sudah mengecek kebenaran, kalau Anda rekan-rekan pers tidak percaya silakan dikroscek ke hotel tersebut, ini acara haram dan wajib dibubarkan sebelum membawa kemaslahatan umat,” tegas Sodikun.

Dalam pertemuan tersebut, Sodikun juga mengimbau para pelaku dan peminat homoseksual (gay dan lesbian) untuk bertobat nasuha dan kembali ke jalan yang benar. Para ulama dan Ustadz di Sumsel siap membimbing dan membantu kesembuhan para pelaku.

Selaku pihak pengawas dan pengontrol kemaslahatan umat, MUI Sumsel juga mengimbau agar Ormas Islam dan masyarakat yang akan melakukan aksi demonstrasi menolak pertemuan tersebut agar menyampaikan aspirasi secara santun dan tidak mengandalkan anarkisme.

“Ini sudah jadi permasalahan umat tidak terkotak bagi umat Islam saja bahkan umat beragama lainnya, kita tidak mengakui hubungan homoseksual dalam bentuk apapun terlebih acara ini berlangsung di Palembang yang menuju kota religius,” ucap Sodikun. (Kompas, 28/02/09) Read More...

Sunday, April 12, 2009


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