Are You This? Or Are You This?

A Story of Identity and Worth

Madian Al Jazerah

With Ellen Georgiou

A gay man’s honest memoir of hardship, courage, community and kin in the Arab world and beyond.

Bibliographic Details
Are You This? Or Are You This? Paperback
June 2021£14.99
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When Madian Al Jazerah came out to his Arab parents, his mother had one question. ‘Are you this?’ she asked, cupping her hand. ‘Or are you this?’ she motioned with a poking finger. If you’re the poker, she said, you aren’t a homosexual.

For Madian, this opposition tells us less about who he is than it does about patriarchy and power, and society’s efforts to fit our identity into neat boxes. This kind of question has followed Madian all his life. He is Palestinian, but wasn’t raised in Palestine. He was born in Kuwait, but he’s not Kuwaiti. He’s British-educated, but not a Westerner. He’s a Muslim, but he can’t embrace the Islam of today. He’s a gay man, out of the closet but still living in the shade. 

As an adult Madian settled in Jordan, but he has left the country three times in fear of his life. He has moved around the world searching for acceptance and belonging, joining new communities in San Francisco and New York, yet always finding himself pulled back to Amman. This frank and moving memoir narrates his battles with adversity, racism and homophobia, and a rich life lived with humour, dignity and grace.


Madian Al Jazerah is a Palestinian Jordanian who was born in Kuwait. In 1997 he opened Amman’s [email protected], the first internet cafe/bookstore in the Arab world. Since its founding he has been engaged in human rights work and LGBTQ activism.