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So to protect himself against victimization, he became a closeted leftist as well as a closeted homosexual. For me, this chapter is worth the price of the book. A motion picture played a significant role in my decision to leave the Washington Post and devote myself to the New Left movement as a writer-activist.

Gay Nepal: Interview with Kathmandu local boy Tilak

Already working at the Post, but uncertain if I belonged there, I saw the film on a visit to New York. I was with my fellow red diaper babies Jonah Raskin and Eric Foner, who were also sympathetic to the ongoing anti-colonial movement but who were both pursuing careers as college teachers. There was something about the decisive commitment of Ali that motivated me to step away from my establishment career and into a growing movement for peace and social change. The name Jonah Raskin should be familiar to CounterPunch readers as a regular contributor.

Reading how he and they moved against the corporate war-making machine a half-century ago would be most instructive for young people today trying to figure out how to struggle against ruling class injustice today. Beyond the experiences and wisdom of a life on the left he shares in the pages of this autobiography, you get a stylistic elegance that sets a high bar for anybody trying to write a memoir about life on the left. I was probably better off working on a comic book. My next step is figuring out how to get the damned thing published. In his spare time, he reviews films for CounterPunch.

Everything you need to know about being gay in Muslim countries

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Gay Nepal: Interview with Kathmandu local boy Tilak - Nomadic Boys

Robert P. Yves Engler On Media and Rwanda. Cesar Chelala Edward Said: Remembering a Palestinian Patriot. Charles R. Larson Review: For those who are not attracted to the opposite sex, this presents a major problem.

Some give in to the pressure and accept a marriage for which they are ill-suited. A few of the more fortunate ones find a gay or lesbian partner of the opposite sex and enter a pretend marriage. Some bite the bullet and decide to come out. How families respond to a coming out depends on several factors, including social class and their level of education. In the more extreme cases, coming out results in the person being ostracised by their family or even physically attacked.

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Following the Orlando massacre — perpetrated by a man from an Afghan family background — it has been noted that all the countries where the death penalty for sodomy still applies justify it on the basis of Islamic law. But to blame this entirely on Islam is an oversimplification. In Egypt and Lebanon — predominantly Muslim countries with a large Christian population — attitudes towards homosexuality among Christians are not very different from those among Muslims.

Pressure to act the part

So far, though, there have been only a few Muslims willing to reappraise it. The key point here is that while the words of scripture are fixed and unchangeable they are always subject to human interpretation, and interpretations may vary according to time, place and social conditions. This, of course, is something that fundamentalists, whether Muslim or Christian, prefer to deny. The patriarchal system plays a major part in this too, with strongly defined roles for men and women. Gay men, especially those who show feminine traits, may thus be regarded as challenging the social order.

Although state law and traditional Islamic law view the penetrator and penetrated in anal sex as equally culpable, popular opinions of the penetrator tend to be less hostile: The receptive or passive partner, on the other hand, is viewed with disgust. Traditional ideas about gender roles cause particular problems for transgender people, especially in places where segregation of the sexes is more strictly enforced and cross-dressing is criminalised.

Within a couple of weeks at least 14 people were thrown into prison for the new offence. Since there is no mechanism in Kuwaiti law to register a change of sex, even trans people who have had surgery are at risk of arrest for cross-dressing. As it happens, Islam has case histories in this area which make it accommodating in some ways, though not in others.

There were eunuchs castrated men and mukhannathun effeminate men to whom the rules of gender segregation did not apply: Eunuchs often acquired influential positions administering wealthy Muslim households. The mukhannathun were less respectable, with a reputation for frivolity and loucheness, though they seem to have been broadly tolerated during the earliest years of Islam. A third type — the khuntha , who today would be called intersex — proved more complex theologically.

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The question this raised was what to do about children born with ambiguous genitalia since, according to the doctrine, they could not be sex-neutral. The issue then was how to discover it, and the jurists devised elaborate rules for doing so. In that connection, a remark attributed to the prophet about urine and the differing inheritance rules for men and women proved especially helpful. On that basis, operations have been carried out in Sunni Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The case became public when Al-Azhar University refused to readmit her either as a male student or a female student. There were also many who found the concept of gender dysphoria difficult to grasp and some characterised her as a gay man who was trying to game the system. Basically, this left the question of surgery for gender dysphoria unresolved, allowing both supporters and opponents to interpret the fatwa as they chose.

In practice, however, obtaining surgery is not necessarily the biggest hurdle — those who can afford it often go abroad. Gaining social acceptance and official recognition of a change of sex subsequently can be more difficult. Theologically, Shia Iran seems to have fewer problems with gender dysphoria than the Sunni Arab states. There have been repeated claims that Iran now performs more reassignment operations than any country other than Thailand.

Although at first sight the Iranian approach to transgender might look remarkably liberal, it does have a darker side. One concern is that people may be pressurised into operations they do not actually want. Organised activism for gay rights began to develop in the Middle East in the early s. Both of those are based in Israel but have connections in the Palestinian territories.

These are not the only activist groups. Others have sprung up in various places — often disappearing again fairly quickly. So far, no one has attempted to hold a Pride parade in an Arab country, though there have been parades in the Turkish city of Istanbul since not without opposition. Non-governmental organisations working in Arab countries often face government restrictions, and those working for LGBT rights face the additional problem of social stigma.

How the Middle East views the entire gender spectrum

The development of social media has also created space for a more informal kind of activism which seems to have proved successful in a couple of instances recently. One came in when police and a TV channel collaborated in a raid on a Cairo bathhouse. Such was the outcry on social media that the authorities rescinded their decision 24 hours later — though too late to reorganise the concert as originally planned.

follow link On the religious front, prevailing Islamic views of homosexuality have been challenged here and there, but not on a scale that is likely to make much difference.