I hear your silence - An intimate portrait of Queer activists in the MENA region
Once forced to go out mainly at night, using drag shows as a tool to push for visibility, LGBT+ activists in Lebanon and Jordan are increasingly gaining spaces in daylight. Activists in the region are trapped between a society that is oppressive at large to non-conforming individuals, and a Westernised narrative that often look down on them as victims whose only hope is abroad. Although they might still be charged under vague laws aimed at policing morals, laws that are often a relic of colonialism, this is only a small part of their story: in fact, they are finding ways to speak out and create safe spaces. They are able to trigger change on a wider scale. A lot of time seems to have passed since 2017, when a group of activists in Beirut - as part of a campaign to counter homophobia - draw a graffiti portraying two man hugging. It reads: “I hear your silence”. And the rest of us, are we listening?