The Unsettling Story Of A Lesbian Blogger In Syria

One brave blogger has been telling her story of life as an openly gay woman in Damascus, Syria. But now she's gone underground.

Amina (whom we first heard about on Autostraddle) started A Gay Girl in Damascus in February, explaining,

I'm [...] aware of the winds of freedom and change blowing from one end of the Arab world to the other. And I want that freedom wind to bring with it our liberation, not just as Arabs and as Syrians, but also as women and as lesbians.

She also said, "I can, because I'm a dual national and have benefits of politically connected relatives, be more visible than many women here." However, Syria has been a tumultuous place in the wake of the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and authorities have cracked down on protesters. Last month, Amina wrote that men from "security services" had shown up at her family's home, accusing her of "conspiring against the state, urging armed uprising, [and] working with foreign elements" in her writing. When her father defended her, they asked him, "Did she tell you that she likes to sleep with women? That she is one of those faggots who fucks little girls?" And one added, "Maybe if you were with a real man, you'd stop this nonsense and lies; maybe we should show you now and let your pansy father watch so he understands how real men are." Her dad's response is worth reading in its entirety, but here's part of it:

"Your father," he says to the one who threatened to rape me, "does he know this is how you act? He was an officer, yes? And he served in ..." (he mentions exactly and then turns to the other) "and your mother? Wasn't she the daughter of ...?"
They are both wide-eyed, yes, that is right,
"What would they think if they heard how you act? And my daughter? Let me tell you this about her; she has done many things that, if I had been her, I would not have done. But she has never once stopped being my daughter and I will never once let you do any harm to her. You will not take her from here. And, if you try, know that generations of her ancestors are looking down on you."

At the end of the post, Amina wrote that she and her father would stay in Syria despite its dangers: "He's staying so so will I." But then things changed. In her most recent post, dated yesterday, Amina wrote that her father had left Damascus. He told her,

They came back for you. This time, there's nothing I can do. Go somewhere and don't tell me where you are. Be safe. I love you.

She says, "I ended up at an old friend's home in an area where it's ‘safe'," and that she's "trying to figure out the next step." She adds that she'll continue posting as she's able. We hope she's able to continue shedding light on something often overlooked in the west — the way all the events of this spring have affected LGBT people in the Middle East. But most of all, we hope she and her family are safe. In closing, here's the final passage of her most recent post, offering a note of hope amid uncertainty:

[A]s grim as it may seem right now, the way to freedom has never seemed clearer! Our revolution will win; we will have a free and democratic Syria soon. I know it in my bones. Our greatest age is about to appear and we shall once more amaze the world. We will have a free Syria and a free nation; it is coming soon. The revolution will succeed and we will rise above sectarianism, despotism, sexism, and all the dead weight of these years of bitterness, of division and partition, of oppression and of tyranny. We will be free!

Rachel's Team Pick: A Gay Girl In Damascus [Autostraddle]
A Gay Girl In Damascus [Home]