What's it like being gay in the Arab or Islamic World?

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    Mar 26, 2013 1:31 AM GMT
    Obviously, here in the West we hear the horror stories of executions and beatings, but I wanted to know from people who actually live in those countries if that's representative or the exception. NB! I'd like to hear primarily from people who either live or grew up in Islamic or Arab countries. News from legitimate media sources, i.e. the Times or Wall Street Journal is OK too.
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    Apr 25, 2013 11:00 PM GMT
    I'm very surprised that nobody wants to talk about this, since (1) it seems from the outside to be quite difficult and (2) many of the popular posters are themselves Arabic.
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    Apr 25, 2013 11:07 PM GMT
    Terrifying I would assume.
  • Mark87

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    Apr 25, 2013 11:15 PM GMT
    From what I've read/heard its impossible to have a relationship but easy to have sex. Same as the Caribbean except with the mandatory segregation of women in most cases men who don't identify at all as being gay will dabble if it's offered just because it's the only real sexual outlet until you're married
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    Apr 25, 2013 11:16 PM GMT
    Mark87 saidFrom what I've read/heard its impossible to have a relationship but easy to have sex. Same as the Caribbean except with the mandatory segregation of women in most cases men who don't identify at all as being gay will dabble if it's offered just because it's the only real sexual outlet until you're married


    I hear in places like Turkey, which is an Islamic nation, gay sex is plentiful and that the attitudes towards gays, men in particular, is rather relaxed.
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    Apr 25, 2013 11:28 PM GMT
    Have you been there? Everyone's gay. No one is Out though.
  • O5vx

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    Apr 25, 2013 11:28 PM GMT
    When you say many of the popular writer are from Islamic country, what do you mean?
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    Apr 25, 2013 11:46 PM GMT
    MidnightsChild said
    Mark87 saidFrom what I've read/heard its impossible to have a relationship but easy to have sex. Same as the Caribbean except with the mandatory segregation of women in most cases men who don't identify at all as being gay will dabble if it's offered just because it's the only real sexual outlet until you're married


    I hear in places like Turkey, which is an Islamic nation, gay sex is plentiful and that the attitudes towards gays, men in particular, is rather relaxed.


    Turkey is not an Islamic nation. It is a secular nation where the majority of the population happens to be Muslim (although in recent years right-wing fundamentalists have been trying to push their religious agenda on public policy...but we've essentially got the same situation here in the US).

    Attitudes towards homosexuality I would say are almost uniformly negative, but there is nevertheless a lot of variation (Turkey is more liberal than say, Saudi Arabia). My basis for this opinion is just my own personal experience meeting people here in the US who immigrated from the region.

    Despite having never traveled to the region (although I do kind of have a morbid curiosity to visit a very strict country like Saudi Arabia or Iran just to experience it first hand), my impression is that there are very large underground gay scenes in larger cities but that people nevertheless need to be very cautious in their day to day life, lest they get sent to prison or worse.

    There was a documentary I watched on YouTube a while back about the underground gay scene in Iran, it was pretty interesting. There was also an other documentary about the lives of transsexuals in Iran which was also pretty illuminating. If I find the links to either of them I'll post them here.
  • hdurdinr

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    Apr 25, 2013 11:50 PM GMT
    When I was in Syria there were gay bath houses and guys were always holding hands and generally being all over each other in public (this common friendly behaviour though) so it would be easy to hold hands with your bf in public - just wouldn't be able to live together though I guess! Anyway poor Syria - makes me so sad to see what;s happening there now.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:04 AM GMT
    Cardinal724 said
    MidnightsChild said
    Mark87 saidFrom what I've read/heard its impossible to have a relationship but easy to have sex. Same as the Caribbean except with the mandatory segregation of women in most cases men who don't identify at all as being gay will dabble if it's offered just because it's the only real sexual outlet until you're married


    I hear in places like Turkey, which is an Islamic nation, gay sex is plentiful and that the attitudes towards gays, men in particular, is rather relaxed.


    Turkey is not an Islamic nation. It is a secular nation where the majority of the population happens to be Muslim (although in recent years right-wing fundamentalists have been trying to push their religious agenda on public policy...but we've essentially got the same situation here in the US).

    Attitudes towards homosexuality I would say are almost uniformly negative, but there is nevertheless a lot of variation (Turkey is more liberal than say, Saudi Arabia). My basis for this opinion is just my own personal experience meeting people here in the US who immigrated from the region.

    Despite having never traveled to the region (although I do kind of have a morbid curiosity to visit a very strict country like Saudi Arabia or Iran just to experience it first hand), my impression is that there are very large underground gay scenes in larger cities but that people nevertheless need to be very cautious in their day to day life, lest they get sent to prison or worse.

    There was a documentary I watched on YouTube a while back about the underground gay scene in Iran, it was pretty interesting. There was also an other documentary about the lives of transsexuals in Iran which was also pretty illuminating. If I find the links to either of them I'll post them here.


    Homosexuality is legal in Turkey I thought.

    I kind of want to go to one of those strict places too just to if any become more appreciative of my situation in America. I complain now because I can't even get a civil union but that kind of thing is a fantasy for a guy living in Iran or Syria.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:11 AM GMT
    MidnightsChild said
    Cardinal724 said
    MidnightsChild said
    Mark87 saidFrom what I've read/heard its impossible to have a relationship but easy to have sex. Same as the Caribbean except with the mandatory segregation of women in most cases men who don't identify at all as being gay will dabble if it's offered just because it's the only real sexual outlet until you're married


    I hear in places like Turkey, which is an Islamic nation, gay sex is plentiful and that the attitudes towards gays, men in particular, is rather relaxed.


    Turkey is not an Islamic nation. It is a secular nation where the majority of the population happens to be Muslim (although in recent years right-wing fundamentalists have been trying to push their religious agenda on public policy...but we've essentially got the same situation here in the US).

    Attitudes towards homosexuality I would say are almost uniformly negative, but there is nevertheless a lot of variation (Turkey is more liberal than say, Saudi Arabia). My basis for this opinion is just my own personal experience meeting people here in the US who immigrated from the region.

    Despite having never traveled to the region (although I do kind of have a morbid curiosity to visit a very strict country like Saudi Arabia or Iran just to experience it first hand), my impression is that there are very large underground gay scenes in larger cities but that people nevertheless need to be very cautious in their day to day life, lest they get sent to prison or worse.

    There was a documentary I watched on YouTube a while back about the underground gay scene in Iran, it was pretty interesting. There was also an other documentary about the lives of transsexuals in Iran which was also pretty illuminating. If I find the links to either of them I'll post them here.


    Homosexuality is legal in Turkey I thought.

    I kind of want to go to one of those strict places too just to if any become more appreciative of my situation in America. I complain now because I can't even get a civil union but that kind of thing is a fantasy for a guy living in Iran or Syria.


    What part of what I said gave you the impression that I claimed homosexuality was illegal in Turkey? All I did was correct your initial post claiming that Turkey was an Islamic Nation.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:13 AM GMT
    There are two facets to this question: the individual and society. I'm born and raised in Canada, but follow the muslim faith.

    My uncle is openly gay and HIV+ (born in East Africa in a muslim region). He goes to Mosque and interacts with people who likely know that he is gay (but probably don't know his status). No one to my knowledge has ever been rude or mean to him, including his very large extended family. We don't make an issue about his sexuality just like we don't talk about the failed mariages and people who didn't end up marrying. It's just a fact of life.

    The Iranian president summed up the attitude quite well "We don't have this problem"... Many people interpreted this as saying that homosexuality does not exist. Actually what he was saying is that we don't recognize this form of relationship. This is the official stand in most countries. It should be noted that muslim countries were much more tolerant towards homosexuals than was the west up until the 90s.

    You should understand that philosophically Islam encourages the sinner to repent up to his last breath. The prophet throughout his life was protected by his uncle who did not accept Islam. The prophet encouraged him to accept on his death bed and his uncle refused. This tradition is used as proof that you cannot give up on the individual, there is always the hope that they'll "come to accept the truth", though it is also a tenant of the faith that you can't force anyone to follow the faith.

    We've place a great emphasis on individual liberties, but in other parts of the world, they have a view on how society should work, and so they impose societal norms at the expense of individual rights. It is debatable which one makes a more cohesive society, the it is the choice of the people to live the way they do.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:16 AM GMT
    its horrible to be anything that's against islam

    its often said i am the biggest islam hater , so id rather be posting a thread about islam & culture than saying about it.

    A friend who was raped by policeman.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:22 AM GMT
    intomuscle said

    You should understand that philosophically Islam encourages the sinner to repent up to his last breath. The prophet throughout his life was protected by his uncle who did not accept Islam. The prophet encouraged him to accept on his death bed and his uncle refused. This tradition is used as proof that you cannot give up on the individual, there is always the hope that they'll "come to accept the truth", though it is also a tenant of the faith that you can't force anyone to follow the faith.

    We've place a great emphasis on individual liberties, but in other parts of the world, they have a view on how society should work, and so they impose societal norms at the expense of individual rights. It is debatable which one makes a more cohesive society, the it is the choice of the people to live the way they do.


    There is debate in the Muslim world over whether or not you can force people to follow the faith. For example in Saudia Arabia, Iran and several other countries you can get the death penalty for abandoning Islam (this is based off of a quote in the Hadith "Whosoever changes his Muslim religion, kill him"). I find this absolutely repugnant. Out of all the human rights violations in the Middle East, the death penalty for apostasy makes my stomach churn the most. These nations threaten citizens with death if they abandon the faith but then have the nerve to claim that 100% of their citizens are Muslim? It's absurd.

    I would also argue that it it perfectly possible to have a "cohesive" society with cultural norms that are accepted by most of the country without having to resort to forcing them on everyone by law. A really good example of this would be Japan, which is a country with very strong traditions and values but where the citizenry can still enjoy all the freedoms one would find in a modern Western liberal democracy. I see no reason why countries in the Middle East can't do the same.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:29 AM GMT
    hdurdinr saidWhen I was in Syria there were gay bath houses and guys were always holding hands and generally being all over each other in public (this common friendly behaviour though) so it would be easy to hold hands with your bf in public - just wouldn't be able to live together though I guess! Anyway poor Syria - makes me so sad to see what;s happening there now.


    In Istanbul, too, I noticed straight men holding hands, hugging, and kissing.

    I wonder, though, whether that translates into being able to hold your boyfriend's hand in public. I would venture to say not, if people knew you were gay. Although it may seem logical that public displays of affection among straight men might segue into tolerance for homosexuality, I think the opposite may be true.

    I would be interested to hear the perspective of someone who lives/lived in the region.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:29 AM GMT
    http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/homosexuals-burned-alive-in-iraq-video/

    Here's a video of gay Iraqis being burned alive.

    So, that's what it's like being gay in the Arab world.
  • fitartistsf

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    Apr 26, 2013 12:38 AM GMT
    In a word... Deadly! You can loose your head if you're out, or outed....
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:43 AM GMT
    If it's horrible for "regular" citizens, imagine for a LGBT citizen.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:45 AM GMT
    I live in the UAE, and while it's the most westernised of the Arab countries, its pretty hard being openly gay here. It is illegal to be gay here, and if you are discovered to be gay by anyone who would be offended by it, theres a good chance you'll be deported.

    In saying that, it's not even close to how bad the media makes it out to be. There are no executions or beatings here (although Saudi is a different story), and as long as you're not in a public place you can do whatever with anyone, the problem is usually getting somewhere private.
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    Apr 26, 2013 12:54 AM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    rickmenbashi saidhttp://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/homosexuals-burned-alive-in-iraq-video/

    Here's a video of gay Iraqis being burned alive.

    So, that's what it's like being gay in the Arab world.

    I'm not gonna watch that video, but if I've learned anything from the apologists on RJ, it's the gay people's fault: if only they'd hugged their Muslim masters more. Apparently we just need to love the Muslims more than we've been doing and then they'll love us right back. Easy-peesy.


    Aaaeh....what a comedian!
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    Apr 26, 2013 1:18 AM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    rickmenbashi saidhttp://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/homosexuals-burned-alive-in-iraq-video/

    Here's a video of gay Iraqis being burned alive.

    So, that's what it's like being gay in the Arab world.

    I'm not gonna watch that video, but if I've learned anything from the apologists on RJ, it's the gay people's fault: if only they'd hugged their Muslim masters more. Apparently we just need to love the Muslims more than we've been doing and then they'll love us right back. Easy-peesy.


    Actually most of the world would love it if you'd just mind your own business and stop invading other countries and pay a fair price for goods....This includes all of South America, Vietnam, and yes most of the Middle East. And if we include our old master Great Britain and France all of Africa save Ethiopia, though it too was not spared Western Imperialism, and all of Asia. Yup pretty much the entire world has a pretty good reason for not really liking the West.

    But they don't teach you that in history class.
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    Apr 26, 2013 1:36 AM GMT
    Watch and weep...


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91iu5Bmw0qQ


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSSAfBsPzsI


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSrngN05cfA
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    Apr 26, 2013 2:42 AM GMT
    intomuscle said

    Actually most of the world would love it if you'd just mind your own business and stop invading other countries and pay a fair price for goods....This includes all of South America, Vietnam, and yes most of the Middle East. And if we include our old master Great Britain and France all of Africa save Ethiopia, though it too was not spared Western Imperialism, and all of Asia. Yup pretty much the entire world has a pretty good reason for not really liking the West.

    But they don't teach you that in history class.


    Actually, one of the cool things about the West is they DO teach us about Imperialism in history class. Although the main reason they teach it is that it is an important part of history, the other reason that they talk about the West's faults is that it teaches us to examine the world and ourselves critically. As a result, we naturally wonder why the sins of the Colonial powers 100 years ago have any bearing on GAYS BEING BURNT TO DEATH.
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    Apr 26, 2013 3:31 AM GMT
    rickmenbashi saidhttp://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/homosexuals-burned-alive-in-iraq-video/

    Here's a video of gay Iraqis being burned alive.

    So, that's what it's like being gay in the Arab world.


    They were in Kurdistan... Kurdish

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8133639.stm
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    Apr 26, 2013 3:39 AM GMT
    swimguychicago said Islamic or AND Arab countries.


    They are two different countries, not the same. Iran is not an Arab country, but it is an Islamic country. Lebanon is not an Islamic country, but an Arab country.