With President Obama’s declaration in support of LGBT Marriage equality, countries around the world have been responding in kind – both in support of and against the rights of LGBT people globally. Homosexuality, for instance is illegal in the entirety of North Africa, whether it be actually on the books, as in Tunisia and Libya, or de facto criminalized, as in Egypt (the government has “morality” laws that do not specifically mention homosexuality but are used to persecute gay men).
However, while the conversation including the opinions of national leaders and laws has increased, the voices of LGBT people around the globe has also become much louder.
My.Kali.mag, founded in 2008, is the first Arab LGBTQ magazine to be published in Jordan, and the only one currently being published in the Arab Middle East. Publishing in English, with sections in Arabic, My.Kali’s mission statement, similar to that of QWOC Media Wire’s is to highlight the voices of marginalizes LGBT people (in their case Arabs), to provide a space where these communities can speak for themselves. In the “About Us” section of their page, they state:
My.Kali.mag is an LGBTQ (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and transgender, Q; questioning or queer) concerned monthly magazine. It concerns gay (and whose just interested) people from all around the world and it’s dedicated for people who live in the: Middle East, for foreigners who live in the Arab world, for those who live in closed-minded/open-minded environments, for those new-gay-to-be, for those who’re away from home and for those who’re interested in entering the world of My.Kali.
What My.Kali.mag is all about, is being a good role model for gay people, raising awareness on many issues we stand up for, discussing regional, national and international issues that concern us the most. We speak up for all those who’re quiet; we give you the voice of your silence. We’re the magazine your mom can’t find under your bed, we’re the magazine to keep and we’re the magazine that you can reach anywhere you are. We like to be your pillow of comfort, your best friend and your new wing-man/woman…
Publishing monthly covers, weekly articles/features, as well as personal letters/reflections, My.Kali works to create break the silence around LGBT lives in the Arab world and fight homophobia by painting a much more multifaceted picture of what it means to be LGBT in Jordan and surrounding areas. Thereby creating a safe space for LGBT Arabs and simultaneously educating non-LGBT Arabs by presenting their own stories in their words.
In a monthly section, titled, “Lesbos and the City,” Alyah al-Aswad describes herself as “a poet, activist, feminist, Muslim, pan-Arabist queer woman.” in one of her recent posts, she describes how she feels about the status of LGBTQ in Arab communities, and how the recent string of revolutions in the Middle East has affected her status in Middle Eastern society as a queer individual. Susana Mendoza, another female contributor, who works for the Jordanian magazine “Living Well,” worked on a project with My.Kali to discover and describe the secret society of lesbians in Amman, Jordan.