Gay Arabs Coming Out Of The Tent

Homosexuality in the Arab world is not only a dangerous topic for discussion, but also places any man caught in the act of sexual intercourse with threats to his life. According to a newspaper reporter in Damascus gays are beginning to come out of the closet of fear and “they’re becoming more and more visible at certain meeting places around Damascus,” such as chic shopping areas, a public garden and some pubs in the old section of the town. There are indications most gays come from the upper level urban middle class and are fairly well educated and familiar with issues of gay rights throughout the world. A group of 200 Syrian gays recently formed a group named, “I’m just like you.” The group issued a manifesto about their beliefs: “I’m gay and I have a right to my opinion. I belong to this society, and it owes me some respect. I’m gay- I don’t come from another planet.”

Most Arab nations still have laws making any form of homosexual relationship a crime that is punishable with time in jail. Syrian gays are fighting for the right to be open about their sexuality, but it will be many years before the typical Arab male is willing to accept such an orientation.

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