On Being LGBTQI+ and Muslim w/ Madian Al Jazerah and Haleem Saddad
Join Are You This? Or Are You This? author Madian Al Jazerah and Saleem Haddad at the Lighthouse Bookshop for a discussion about identity, politics and love in the Arab world.
About the book
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 reveals not who he is, but patriarchy, power, and society’s efforts to fit us into neat boxes. He is Palestinian, but wasn’t raised in Palestine. He is Kuwaiti-born, but not Kuwaiti. He’s British-educated, but not a Westerner. He’s a Muslim, but can’t embrace the Islam of today. He’s a gay man, out of the closet but still living in the shadows: he has left Jordan, his home, three times in fear of his life.
Madian has searched for acceptance and belonging around the world, joining new communities in San Francisco, New York, Hawaii and Tunisia, 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.
About the speakers
Madian Al Jazerah is a Palestinian Jordanian who was born in Kuwait. In 1997 he opened Amman’s Books@cafe, the first internet cafe/bookstore in the Arab world. Since its founding he has been engaged in human rights work and LGBTQI activism. Are You This? Or Are You This? is Madian’s first book.
Saleem Haddad was born in Kuwait City to an Iraqi-German mother and a Palestinian-Lebanese father. He has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and other international organisations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Egypt. His first novel, Guapa, was published in 2016, a political and personal coming-of-age story of a young gay man living through the 2011 Arab revolutions.RSVP