الثلاثاء، 30 أغسطس، 2016



A very interesting article on how the issue of "Homosexuality" is addressed in the Egyptian Cinema. It's really positive and a good precursor that an independent Egyptian media outlet sheds light on such a topic in philanthropic approach. :


Emad El-Din Aysha puts an academic eye on recurrent themes revolving around homosexuality and its purported psychology in Egyptian film, comparing it to its Western counterparts through the ages.

It’s amazing what you can find out about something without even trying. I accidentally downloaded a hard-hitting Egyptian movie about homosexuality thinking it was a light-hearted comedy, dredging up all sorts of interesting insights along the way about how cinema portrays this 'problem', here and elsewhere.

Science, Satire and Tabooed Topics

The film in question is Asrar Aa'eleya (Family Secrets), directed by Hani Fawzi of Baheb Elcima (I Love Cinema) fame. Note that while this is the first Egyptian movie to tackle the subject head on, homosexual themes pop up over here all the time, as far back as you want to go. There was a famous scene in an Ismail Yassin film, typically set in a lunatic asylum, where you have a man who looks like Antar Bin Shadad – the macho hero in Arab epics – with a woman’s voice and a boyfriend he calls his Abla.

This is all the more amazing when you bear in mind that homosexuality was taboo in black and white American cinema. It’s more of a ‘problem’ over here than we choose to think, in other words. More ironic still is the fact that many a ‘Western’ critic has panned Family Secrets, even though the sole focus of the movie is homosexuality in the form of the pubescent hero, Marwan (Mohamed Mahran). Even Emarat Yacoubian (The Yacoubian Building), which came in for universal praise in the West, only had one gay character in the whole film – the newspaper editor Hatem Rashid (Khaled El Sawy); more on this below.

Jay Weissberg, for instance, can’t stand Family Secrets because the boy eventually undergoes therapy and stops being gay by the end of the story. He condemns it further for the characterizations that are supposedly “lifted from that most tired of canards, the one about the overbearing mother (Salwa Mohamed Ali) and the absent father (Tarek Soliman).” If he knew anything about Egyptian society, or his own society for that matter, he’d recognise these archetypes a mile away.

Marwan’s father lives in the US because he was muscled out of his inheritance by his brothers, an all too common problem here, and he’s been abroad for so long he can’t handle the disorderliness of Egyptian life any more. (As an expatriate, I can vouch for that). Marwan’s mother is tyrannical specifically to make up for the absence of her man. She has all the responsibilities of raising the kids placed on her shoulders and has no one to compliment her on her ‘looks’ – hence her photographs on the walls, and the scene where she takes a dress meant for her estranged daughter Omnia (Passant Shawki).

The same holds true in American cinema. Just watch the biopics J. Edgar (2011) about the eavesdropping-blackmailing FBI director Hoover or Citizen Cohn (1992) about Joseph McCarthy’s right hand man Roy Cohn, and you’ll find the same distinctive pattern of weak or absent fathers and overbearing mothers. This is the classic setting for male homosexuality in the arts. Don’t take my word for it. I’m referencing Anthony Storr’s book Sexual Deviation (1965) here. Boys that over-identify with the personality of the mother and come to feel weak around women, finding the opposite sex to be threatening and so only feel any sense of security around their own kind. There’s a scene like that in the movie, where Marwan gets mugged by a muscular boy he got to know through the Internet. He talks about how he feels aman (security) around him.

While introducing his family Marwan says how the only truly ‘feminine’ women he knows is his mother. And in the scene where Marwan confronts his father he tells him he has no right to judge him since he abdicated his fatherly duties ages ago, and that this very absence was what him drove towards men; looking for father-figures elsewhere. This is both accurate and heartbreaking, another testament to Hani Fawzi’s cinematic skills since he was able to write a script that was intelligent and dramatic and also remarkably humourous at the same time.

Again, the better variety of American movie can pull this delicate balance off. Check out Bill Murry‘s character in Little Shop of Horrors (1986), where he talks of his admiration for the strength of a motherly figure while asking for an extreme root canal. Masochism and transvestitism are also associated with boys who like to be punished by their tyrannical mothers.

Swimming Against Cultural Currents

More unique aspects to Egyptian society come with the way Marwan is raised by his mother. Originally wanting a girl, she dresses him up in girls baby clothes – peasants and poor people decorate their sons as girls to protect them from hasad (the envious eye).

So much for a middle class education. Then there’s the role played by Marwan’s older brother, who sexually abused him as a child. When Marwan tells his father, the man almost loses it, taking a framed photo of the elder son and smashing it in shock and anger.  After all, the boy is the bikr (firstborn) with all the perks of the job; he needs all those powers to help his father in his battles with his own siblings. There’s great characterisation here too with his many nervous ticks, such as the nail biting and eating fetish. (Marwan shaves off his arm hair and is always tearing up tissues). Note that the elder son was sexually abused himself as a child; tacking out his frustrations on those weaker than him.

The upshot of all this is that ‘sexual deviance’ is in fact a form a mental illness or psychological imbalance, but often with societal roots – one of the reasons Storr’s book isn’t too poplar nowadays.

For proof here’s another movie I saw by accident, Cruising (1980), starring Al Pacino as a cop who has to go undercover in the New York gay subculture to track down a homosexual serial killer who murders his own kind. (I was looking for another movie of his with director William Friedkin and found this instead). What you realise along the way is how angry the gay men all are, angry at ‘being’ gay, with their self-loathing often externalised against other members of their community. It’s not just being a minority, but being forced to behave like women – getting dressed up to please others. Imagine that?

You do genuinely sympathise with them but not to the point of ‘agreeing’ with them, the same as in Family Secrets. Now to get back to the Yacoubian Building. Note the scene where Hatem Rashid badmouths women for being dishonourable since they can get illegitimately pregnant, something the Western critics didn’t catch onto. This is misogyny, hatred of women, the kind of homosexuality you got in ancient Greece, with women associated with snakes (and spiders and scorpions – poison stands for ‘treachery’).

Alaa Al-Aswany, whatever you’re political or literary misgivings about him, is a pretty good historian and has always defended his choice of characterisation with reference to the homosexual Arab poetry of the Abbasid era. Now take another look at Oliver Stone’s disgraceful Alexander (2004) and you’ll see that older variety of anti-female gayness making a comeback. Thank heavens they banned it in modern-day Greece!

مؤسسة نظرة تطلق حملة "هي والمنصة" لدعم تولي النساء المناصب القضائية في مصر

انطلاق حملة "هي والمنصة"

بيان صحفي

28 أغسطس 2016
تعلن نظرة للدراسات النسوية ومؤسسة قضايا المرأة المصرية عن انطلاق حملة "هي والمنصة" التي تهدف إلى تسليط الضوء على إشكالية غياب النساء عن العديد من المناصب القضائية، مما يعد إخلالاً بمبدأ تكافؤ الفرص وانتهاكاً لاستحقاقات النساء الدستورية التي تتضمن مشاركتهن في دوائر صنع القرار على وجه العموم، وخاصة في تولي جميع المناصب القضائية.
تهدف الحملة إلى وضع هذه القضية على قائمة الأولويات السياسية الحالية من قبل مختلف الفاعلين داخل مؤسسات الدولة والهيئات والجهات القضائية وكذلك مجلس النواب والمجتمع.
وتأتي أهمية هذه القضية من أن هناك ضرورة لتمكين النساء من الحصول على حقوقهن الدستورية مثل الوصول إلى منصة القضاء والتي تقف أبوية المؤسسات القضائية حائلاً ضدهن في تحقيق ذلك، كما أن هناك ضرورة لتدخل النواب والنائبات في هذه القضية بدورهم التشريعي والرقابي الهام في هذا المجال. وجدير بالذكر أن مسألة وجود النساء في المناصب القضائية هو أمر يحدث بصورة منتقاه الآن من قبل المجلس الأعلى للقضاء ووزارة العدل فقط عندما تقرر نقل بعض العضوات من النيابة الإدارية وهيئة قضايا الدولة إلى منصة القضاء الجنائي، ويمتنع مجلس الدولة والنيابة العامة إلى الآن عن السماح لخريجات كليات الحقوق والشريعة والقانون من التقدم للتعيين في الوظائف المعلن عنها في هذه الجهات.
وتهدف هذه الحملة إلى تمكين النساء من الوصول إلى كافة المناصب القضائية عن طريق ترقي السلم القضائي أسوة بأقرانهن من الرجال، وزيادة الوعي حول هذه المسألة وجذب الرأي العام لها، من أجل الدفع بها إلى الجهات المعنية المختلفة واستمرار المطالبات حول إعمال مبدأ تكافؤ الفرص لكي تحصل النساء على هذا الحق الذي طالما ناضلن من أجله. ويرى القائمون على هذه الحملة ضرورة فتح حوار يشارك فيه كافة الأطراف المعنية التي تضم النواب والنائبات والمجالس القومية سواء المجلس القومي لحقوق الإنسان أو المجلس القومي للمرأة مع المجلس الأعلى للقضاء ومجلس الدولة والنيابة العامة حول مسألة تعيين النساء في الجهات القضائية المختلفة لإعمال هذا الحق، التزاماً بنصوص الدستور المصري وكذلك المعاهدات والاتفاقيات الدولية التي صدّقت عليها مصر مثل اتفاقية القضاء على كافة أشكال التمييز ضد المرأة والمعروفة باتفاقية السيداو.
وفي إطار أطلاق هذه الحملة ننشر سؤال وجواب حول إشكاليات تولي النساء المناصب القضائية.
تابعوا فعاليات الحملة علي وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي من خلال هاشتاج #قاضية_على_كف_عفريت.
للتواصل مع فريق الحملة: media.cewla@gmail.com و info@nazra.org.
رابط دائمhttp://nazra.org/node/503

الاثنين، 29 أغسطس، 2016

«الإندبندنت»: الشرطة المصرية تصطاد المثليين عبر «جريندر»

نصيحة للمواطنين المثليين خصوصا مستخدمي تطبيق الجرايندر وغيره 

توخي الحذر ليس فقط بسبب مخاطر  الكمين البوليسي بس دا كمان في ناس بتنتحل صور ناس تانية وتنزل تقابل وتكتشف الحقيقة وممكن يبقوا حرامية او ستريتات عاوزين يستغلوا المثليين وفي اسوأ الظروف لو مش سرقة او بلطجة هيبقا فضايح وتشهير وابتزاز مادي ممكن! وكمان ممكن يبقا شرطة معرفش من قلة المشاكل المجتمعية في مصر مفيش غير المثليين اللي لازم يتم القبض عليهم 
عشان كدا لازم توخي الحذر بلاش تحط صور وشك كاملة على البروفايل ومتشاركهاش مع الشخص غير  لما يبعت كام صورة لنفسه ويفضل تتكلموا ببرنامج فيه كاميرا زي السكايب ودا برضو مش امثل اسلوب للامان لان في ناس شاطرة تقدر تجاريك وتخليك تثق فيها لحد ما يوصلوا للي عاوزينه ولازم تتكلموا في حاجات كتير وكذا مرة قبل او مقابلة والمقابلة الاولى في مكان عام 
واجادة الانجليزية مش هي العامل الوحيد لان الشخص يستريح للي بيكلمه الشرطة او الاشخاص اللي عاوزة تستهدف المثليين ممكن يتكلموا انجليزي وفرنساوي كمان وكويس ويعملوا نفسهم اجانب مثلا بصور موديل من الانترنت ويحبذ عمل باسوورد للجهاز وللابليكاشن عشان لو حد اتشاف موبايله في كامين وبلاش الاحتفاظ بصور تظهر الجسم على كارت الميموري كارد خلوه على ذاكرة الهاتف عشان لو الموبايل اتسرق هيتفرمت لو في بين كود قوي ومش هتظهر الصور على عكس الميموري كارد سهل اي حد يشيله ويفرغ محتواه

كمان في ناس ممكن تستغل الصور في التشنيع في انها تعمل بروفايل وتنشر اشاعات زي مثلا اصابة الشخص بامراض متناقلة جنسيا او انه بيزنس مثلا او غيره 

«الإندبندنت»: الشرطة المصرية تصطاد المثليين عبر «جريندر»


قالت صحيفة "الإندبندنت" في تقريرٍ لها اليوم الجمعة، إنّ الشرطة المصرية الآن تستخدم تطبيق "جريندر" وتطبيقات التواصل الاجتماعي الأخرى، للضبط المثليين.
وتابعت الصحيفة، نقلًا عن مصادر فيما سمَّته "مجتمع المثليين" في مصر – أنّ ضباط الشرطة يستخدمون تطبيق المواعدة الخاص بالمثليين؛ لتحديد أماكنه.
وفيما، قال مصدر، لمجلة كايرو سيين المتخصصة في شؤون الحياة، "من الممكن أن تتعرف من خلال التطبيق على أماكن المثليين القريبين منك في حدود بعض مئاتٍ من الأمتار، ويستخدم العديد من مستخدمي التطبيق صورهم الشخصية؛ ما يجعل التعرّف عليهم بالنسبة للشرطة أمرًا سهلًا".
وتابع المصدر، "يربكني للغاية كيف يستطيع الأشخاص مشاركة معلوماتهم الشخصية في دولة مثل مصر، فهذا محض غباء منهم، وأنا أنصح أي شخص بتوخي الحذر عندما يتعلق الأمر باستخدام تطبيقات المواعدة عبر الإنترنت".
وأوردت الصحيفة واقعة ضبط 11 مثليًا في إبريل الماضي، والذين صدر بحقهم أحكام بالسجن وصلت إلى 101 عام، بعد توجيه تهمة الفجور لهم.

Recommended:LGBT IN THE EGYPTIAN COMMUNITY: GRAPHIC DESIGNER NORA KHORSHID TAKES ON THE TABOO TOPIC 02/08/2016 08:34 Graphic designer Nora Khorshid approaches one of the most controversial topics in Egypt and asks the question: Why are people gay?


Graphic designer Nora Khorshid approaches one of the most controversial topics in Egypt and asks the question: Why are people gay?

Graphic designer Nora Khorshid approaches one of the most controversial topics in Egypt and asks the question: Why are people gay?
With her infograph of controversial designs about homosexuality and how the Egyptian society views it, 21-year-old graphic designer Nora Khorshid asks, “Why do people from different cultural, religious, and social backgrounds identify as LGBT?”
Khorshid, still being a GUC student started her project two years ago when she was asked to start a Cairo campaign, and being the challenging person that she is, she decided to talk homophobia.
Shawaz? Yakhy dool nas mareeda!” is only a snippet of the gruesome comments that the Egyptian LGBT community faces frequently, which Khorshid incorporated into her designs, along with other offensive comments and a lot of rainbows. 
In order to actually build an LGBT community, it must be okay to discuss the topic,” says Khorshid, “Being gay is not in fact criminalised, however, it remains underground and frowned upon,” she continues. She explains the amount of criticism she faced as she explored the topic further with her friends on the internet, from both straight and LGBT individuals. Her main objective was to explore the “rape” notion behind homosexuality that suggests everyone who is attracted to the same sex has been forced into it from an earlier age through nonconsensual sexual relations.
The young designer let us know, exclusively, that she is planning to delve deeper into other controversial topics as well – the next round being a lot more interactive. "Card games," was all she spilled to us. 
If you’re still wondering why people just so happen to be gay, check it out some of her artwork – with the numbers, the science, and the rainbows – below or head to her Behance page for a more detailed look.

الثلاثاء، 23 أغسطس، 2016

Turkey transgender activist's death highlights rise in hate crimes

LGBT rights
Gay Pride


Text by Nicole TRIAN
Latest update : 2016-08-19
A widespread crackdown on dissent is fuelling tension across Turkey, which has seen a rise in hate crimes against minorities – including a recently reported attack against a well-known transgender activist in Istanbul.

Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported that the badly burnt and mutilated body of Hande Kader, a 22-year-old LGBT activist and sex worker, was found on August 8 by the roadside in a residential area of Istanbul.

Although DNA evidence has yet to confirm the remains belong to Kader, the director of a gay rights group said her boyfriend and some friends had positively identified the body.

Emirhan Deniz Çelebi, the director of SPoD, a national LGBT organisation based in Istanbul, joined other LGBT associations in condemning what they believe is deliberate silence by the country’s mainstream media in the wake of the activist’s death.

"We are not equal,” he said.

After Kader was arrested during an equal rights rally and faced down police water cannons during last year's Gay Pride parade, she became a symbolic figure in the LGBT community.

“We are being murdered and they do not hear our voices, because the rules in Turkey don't protect us”, said Deniz Çelebi.

Her name was #HandeKader A relentless #LGBT activist for equality & @istanbulpride She was murdered in a #hatecrime

Outraged supporters launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of Kader’s death and the plight of the LGBT community in Turkey. On Twitter they shared the hashtag #HandeKaderSesVer (MakeSomeNoiseForHandeKader), while on Change.org a petition was circulated to advocate for better protections for those in the community.

Last Thursday local activists took their cause to the capital, holding a press conference outside the parliament to highlight the daily risks confronting LGBT members.

Kader’s murder comes less than two weeks after the beheading of a gay Syrian refugee whose body was found not far from where Kader was discovered.

Muhammed Wisam Sankari, who had fled war-torn Syria, was found decapitated after being raped and assaulted. He could only be identified by the clothes he was wearing.

Minorities targeted

After last month’s failed coup in which the government instituted a state of emergency, the rights of minorities including gays, women and LGBT members have been whittled away.

While the Turkish capital has been a safe haven for many fleeing persecution and war in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, hate crimes against LGBT people have increased.

“Since the coup-attempt, a number of my transgender friends have called me and talked about how they were discriminated against because of their ID Cards and appearance,” Deniz Çelebi said.

Turkish lawyer and LGBT rights advocate Levent Pişkin said Erdogan’s rampant purges have exacerbated the fears of minorities.

“Actually, LGBT people in Turkey have never had legal rights,” said Pişkin.

“But we knew there were judicial mechanisms to support us. Nowadays, most people feel more vulnerable.”

Shift away from secularism

Although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey as it is in many other Muslim countries, homophobia remains widespread. Almost 80 percent of Turks believe homosexuality is “morally unacceptable” according to a 2013 study by the US think tank PEW Research Center.

Pişkin said Kader’s death is symptomatic of a country shifting away from secularism.

“An Islamic tendency has gradually been getting stronger,” said Pişkin.

“The government has preferred war over strengthening our democracy. Therefore, our democratic rights and one’s right to life hang by a thread.”

LGBT activists will stage a demonstration on Sunday in Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue to raise further awareness about Kader's death.

الاثنين، 22 أغسطس، 2016

Transgender not a mental illness. United Nations confirms

Good news indeed,
It is a great day for LGBTIQ+, specially for transgender people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is finally going to declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder, as it updates its category of mental illnesses for the first time in decades.
The body, which is the public health agency of the United Nations (UN), is considering making the change in a revised categorisation of mental and behavioural disorders to be released in 2018.
Overwhelming evidence, as well as recent studies show that gender dysphoria is a genetical condition and not a mental disorder.
For a community that is reliant on medical care, this declassification represents a great breakthrough in the way transgender patients will begin to be treated worldwide, as well as how institutions will begin to accomodate transgender people.
“It’s sending a very strong message that the rest of the world is no longer considering it a mental disorder,” clinical psychiatrist Michael First from Columbia University – who wasn’t involved with the study but is chief technical consultant on the new WHO classifications – told The New York Times.
“One of the benefits of moving it out of the mental disorder section is trying to reduce stigma.”

Alicia Keys explains 'empowering' decision to stop wearing make up

'One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgement of women,' says Keys


Alicia Keys has shunned the intense pressures placed on women in the public eye, and women in general, by choosing to stop wearing make-up.
The pressures to conform to typical airbrushed beauty standards in the entertainment industries are being met with a steady rebuttal. The rise of models who vary in size, the high-profile women calling out publications for Photoshopping them and the amount of women in the public eye posting pictures of them not wearing any make up are all testament to this. 
Keys has now joined the latter movement. Penning an essay forLena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s feminist newsletter, Lenny, the “Fallin” singer discusses her decision, a decision she credits as being one of the most empowering ones she’s made. 
The 35-year old touched on her experiences of being judged on her appearance when she first established herself in what she calls “the harsh, judgemental world of entertainment”, explaining “everyone had something to say” about her appearance.
It has now been 15 years since Keys released her first album Songs In a Minor and Keys said before working on her latest upcoming album she made a list of everything she was tired of, one being “how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect”.
“One of the many things I was tired of was the constant judgement of women,” she writes.
Keys explained not wearing makeup was a big insecurity for her and she was constantly fearful of being judged should she be seen without makeup on.
“Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn’t put on makeup: ‘What if someone wanted a picture? What if they POSTED it?,” she wrote. “These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me.”
Been working on being myself instead of other people’s idea of “perfect"! I’m feelin 💪🏽 and my best yet! https://twitter.com/lennyletter/status/737644889391894531 
Since then Keys has been spotted on several occasions wearing no make up and posed for magazines including Vanity Fair and Fault proving the feeling of empowerment lasted. Keys concluded her essay by saying she hopes the no makeup movement becomes a “revolution” 
That it might be. In recent months, Cameron Diaz posted a candid no-make up selfie to generate a healthy discussion about ageing. Cindy Crawford, Eva Longoria, Gwyneth Paltrow and Anne Hathaway have also posted similarly important selfies.