Politicizing the Homophobia

As I walk in the streets of Damascus, trying to forget the sleepless previous night by listening with half a brain to the chitchat of couple of lesbian friends; I notice a garbage box on the corner with pro-government graffiti on it. The scene is highly normal these days in Syria. As you get to see the Al-Jazeera logo on most of the garbage boxes and public bathrooms around Damascus in what I consider an immature move from whoever wrote it. However, what caught my attention was the content of this graffiti rather than the presence of it.

“Donate to the Arab League; Al-Ar’our is a faggot”

Adnan Al-Ar’our is a Syrian Islamic and opposition controversial political figure who has been attacked over the past nine months on public Syrian TV for being what they assume a homosexual man. The now famous Addounia TV even interviewed his son who cried on TV claiming that his father is a homosexual man (they used the word Lotty on TV, which is Arabic for faggot). The son, however, claimed later on after he and his family left Syria that he was forced to say these stuff on TV. Interestingly; the figure is considered questionable for both pro and anti-government in Syria and both sides has their doubts about his work and ideals.
Regardless of the political calculations of this situation (and the sexual orientation of Al-Ar’our), what really got my attention is using the fact that religious traditional Syria has a trend of homophobia in its own fabric for political gains can be seriously damaging for the homosexual society here in Syria regardless of the outcome of the political struggles here in the country. Whichever party taking lead in the country in the next period, it’s going to distance itself from supporting any glimpse of gay rights in the country not to enforce the rumours of homosexual political figures in the eyes of the mainstream society.

These damaging acts has become a well-know tactic the government-owned TVs are using; which started back in 2011 with the Gay Girl in Damascus story; which was reported on Syrian TV as a conspiracy plot by the American intelligence to plant an American man pretending to be a Sohaqyya (the female version of faggot in Arabic), who is reporting false stories of an imaginary uprising in the country and trying to introduce concepts of lesbianism to the virtuous country of Syria, who, naturally, has no gay people in it; except for Al-Ar’our, that is.

Even gay people are influenced with these stories; as we’re after all part of the society in Syria; we, in the LGBTQ community here has all colours of political views; we have the pro-government, the revolutionary and the ones who just want to be left alone. What is interesting is that internal homophobia in the homosexual society is playing its tricks with the pro-government people as well. A friend of mine told me a story about a one night stand he had with a pro-government man who, after a hot sweaty sex, had a political conversation with my friend (as you do in Syria these days, it’s the new cuddling method). “Al-Ar’our is a demon; he is a faggot, you know; he gets fucked up the ass all the time,” the guy said to my friend, “do we want a political and religious leader who gets fucked up the ass on our hands! he is a shame to us, beautiful traditional people.” My friend did not find much words to reply to this guy; especially that the guy was earlier that night getting fucked up the ass and, as my friend claims, highly enjoying it.

The homosexual story, also, has been caughting the eyes of reporters everywhere in Syria as well; it is becoming the new fascade in the media; news articles about a transgender woman who is ‘asking for help’ to finish her operation was published on a yellow-newspaper called Salab and Mojab; another article; published lately on Baladna, a very respectiful newspaper in Syria, interviewing a number of queer people under negative light; drawing a picture of drugs, sex and prostitution for the homosexual community in Syria; what was interesting about this article; is the fact that the reporter who wrote it connected what he called ‘an increasing number of gay men in Syria’ to the fact that the political situation caused a lot of straight boys not to get married; then they become easy preys for sick and criminally charged homosexual men. A radio show interviewing a 17-year-old boy who identifies as a gay person haras the boy to say that gay people are like women and that the society should accept us for being effiminie and straight-men hunters. We are becoming a target; and it hurts to see the public opening their eyes to homosexuality under such negative views. We do not need more attention; and we do not need to be dragged to such political parade and become an easy target for media reporters who has their own political propagenda to sell.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pinkagendist
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 10:30:52

    Homophobia is a “for profit” industry. It’s rarely genuinely about ideology. Like most forms of xenophobia it’s used by political groups to divide and rule.


  2. SamaSays
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 10:37:28

    Thanks for the comment; I totally agree. 🙂


  3. Mike
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 13:02:20

    Praying for you..


  4. Jay Dylan
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 20:12:16

    Well, you see, everything that’s new and different (new to syria for example) has to be attacked with the words evil, homosexual, terrorist, etc..
    i’m all for calling ar’our all sorts of names, he deserves it, but man gay is not the word to call him, gay is good, but people don’t know it 😦
    the sad part is, we are now the media’s target, the undercover story, the urban legend being uncovered, the sex-drug community, and we are not doing anything about it!


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