Start a Discussion Find support & help more people

Non-Western queer identity

A+ A-

I'm a queer Arab women living in the U.S. I've surrounded myself with American queer friends and am really comfortable in U.S. queer/lesbian circles, but I can't relate to it myself. I don't want the gay haircut and I don't listen to this certain kind of music and I don't own anything rainbow.

Problem is, it's then really hard to think of a queer identity of my own. For the Arab queers living in the West, how d'you guys do it?

When I'm with my parents, I have no choice but to pass as straight of course, but even when I'm with friends or when I was living at school and such I have a really hard time looking gay and feeling Arab. It's even more confusing when I'm wearing the hijab. .

  • I can relate but in a slightly different way. I still live in an Arab country yet I feel less Arab because I am gay. I shouldn't, but that's how much influence the people around me have on my identity. I felt that the best way to deal with this is it to stop struggling in my attempts to define an identity and to feel content with myself beyond these labels. I know it gets confusing every now and then, but you should do the same ;)

    Reply to Butterfly
    This was helpful! Flag
  • 17-24_m_f_h3_f4

    heyyy i am from syria but i live in egypt i hope to make a new friends ))
    where are you living?

    Reply to fady
    This was helpful! Flag
  • I feel the same. I lived in the US for few years and in a city that is very gay-friendly. I could never relate to the ways they try to express themselves but I guess it's a cultural thing. I do wish there was a safe space for queer Arabs to express themselves but there isn't.

    Reply to HopelessRomantic
    This was helpful! Flag
  • 25-34_f_w_h2_f2

    I never really associated with that whole American gay pride thing either. To me, it's become more about the symbolism (rainbows, hand bands, etc) and the occasional orgy than it is about actually supporting each other. You don't need to have the special gay haircut, music, or clothing to be comfortable with who you are and you shouldn't feel like you need to reinvent your identity just because of your sexual preference. Remember, living in the States we have the luxury of being able to separate our ethnicity from the culture we were raised in which is influenced by many things ranging from religion to traditional practices.

    That being said, once I learned how to separate the two, I stopped worrying about how I should project myself or what clique I should fit into. "Arab" is just my race, it doesn't have to define who I am or how I present myself unless I want it to. Same for being Bi-sexual. You, me, and everyone else are made up of so many different bits and pieces that to try to limit ourselves to some sort of one-set monotone identity is ridiculous and it's truly a disservice to who we are as people.

    So bottom-line is, become comfortable with all facets of yourself and everything else will work itself out.

    Reply to Sarah
    This was helpful! Flag

Hall of Fame