Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ghost has become a Shadow of the Past

Dear Lebanese,

The current controversy around the most recent shutdown of another gay club Ghost in a vibrant city like Beirut is sad and discouraging. For a country that boasts its freedom of speech and eccentric way of living, Lebanon is failing to carry that banner. The mayors, parliament and ministers from a municipal level and a broader governmental level are focusing on implementing health laws against smoking indoors, which is failing miserably, and maintaining a law that violates human rights and freedom of sexual orientation, rather than focusing on the current security crises that is ongoing and rampant.

Dubai has outpaced us with every industry; they even have clubs that are gay friendly, like sublime and submarine.  I recently found out about one club has recently opened outdoors and has the gay flag right outside, I haven’t verified that since it has been many years since I was able to visit the city.  But from an economic perspective Gay tourism is a huge industry and Lebanon has just obviously taken another hit to its economy. Ghost is not actually running the economy but the message that gay tolerance in Lebanon is dying.
What Ghost meant to the LGBT community  was a lot of things.  It meant that I had the freedom to go and dance with my partner, to mingle without having to be persecuted for my sexual orientation. It meant that that there are alternative lifestyles in this city. I was a big fan of Acid though, which essentially impacted the man I am today, and when it shut down it broke a little piece of me. I was never a fan of ghost and its stench of sweat and short skirts and hip shaking men but I accepted it as it was. The Lebanese gay society is evidently suppressed and needs a place to vent that frustration and closing a nightclub like this will only lead to a negative outcome and it will not help the Dekwaneh residents in any way let alone build their moral standards. 

The real issue is the indescribable frustration the gay society has towards the government (or a lack of) and civil society for failing to protect minorities’ rights. I am hoping that Helem and other advocates of LGBTQ rights are gearing up for a big fight. Another fight that will get the people of Dekwaneh to reverse the Municipal Mayor’s decision (which had no real warrant in the first place). I hope that enough media gains traction on this issue to wake up the general public. Fight Back in any way you can.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Greek God on the Plane

Dear Adam,

It was late in august of 2010, the day I met Khalil, I was the happiest boy when I did. I was on a thirty hour trip back from the US. If you want to fly for under a 1000 USD then you need to stop at five airports to have a good price. The last leg of my trip was Dubai – Beirut. I was tired I had barely slept, I smelled, I washed myself in the bathroom and changed my shirt twice already, my uncontrollable OCD with hygiene kicked in. I was wearing the worst clothes you could possibly imagine, completely black shoes, socks that went way past my ankles, grey and white checkered shorts, a dark green tshirt and I had my superman looking glasses instead of my irritable contacts. I felt beyond crappy.

The very epitome of a Greek God walks through the gate, he makes brief eye contact and I flush red as I dive into his dark eyes. The brief eye contact lingered  slightly longer than I expected  that ever. His complexion is tanned, he wore a black shirt that hugs his body and outlines a perfect physique, nothing quite too muscular but something extraordinary nonetheless. He is also wearing black trousers. I use any excuse to sit next to him and make small talk about how the flight is delayed. I strike conversation with ease, we exchange first names; it turns out he works in PR and is quite well spoken.  In the 30 minutes to boarding we talk about everything possible the chemistry is electric and the conversation dynamic and smooth flowing. I prayed that time would just stall right then and there. We spoke of the most random things, I kept trying to steer around the conversation to flush out his sexual orientation, a crying baby helped strike the subject , he told me that he would one day adopt a child. Bingo. He’s wrapped in the rainbow flag, I got confirmation.

He boarded the plane, and as he handed in his boarding pass I glance at his last name at keep record of it. I found my seat and hoped he wasn’t too far from where I sat. He was sitting a few rows in front of me, every time he would get up to fumble around the overhead storage area I would be sure to peer.  He would also briefly pass by my seat and tell me how bored he was, I believed it was just an excuse to chat with his new friend.

We landed in Beirut and we gathered our bags, he asked me what I was doing and if I wanted to head over to Hamra with a couple of his friends. I wonder if he was going to Bardo? I politely declined as my friend was picking me up from the airport and I had 30 hours of flight on me. I gave him my number, but in awkward rush of things he never reciprocated.

Weeks go by and I look him up on Google and Facebook, he was nowhere to be found.  I try different versions of his name to see if he might have spelled it differently. No luck. I tried LinkedIn and found his profile, I sent him a message and conversation was short and to the point with weeks before he would respond to a single message. We got to talking and I thought it would a good idea to ask him out. I am not the guy that takes the plunge, but life’s too short what the hell. I ask him out for a drink, he says he has been in a long term relationship with his partner. I sink.

 I was so sure he was the one. After sometime had passed, I realized I might have found the one… in someone else. 



Monday, March 18, 2013

Into the Abyss

Dear Adam,

Time will by so much faster than you expect it to. You were once a little boy playing with a toy vacuum at 2, playing with Barbies with your cousin at 8 to playing football with your friends at 12, to discovering masturbation  sex, work the existential reason to why you were put on earth. No answer to the last one though, still trying to figure that one out, doubt I ever will.

I hate time. I hated that I wasted so much of it crying every afternoon after school, feeling black and hopeless;it drowned all my energy. I wasn't ever energetic to begin with, I was just constantly drained, tired of my life. I never realized that what I had was good;I just perceived things as bad. The glasses I wore fogged up quite frequently and distorted the image of my world.

The thought of suicide swiveled in my mind, and so I thought this day will be my last. It was an easier choice out of things; it was a quicker painless choice. The thought of death terrified me but the thought of living as a gay boy freaked me out terribly.

 I looked to how the world would perceive my death. “Troubled Introverted Teen takes Life” would read the papers, deducing my reasoning and pain. My mother’s shocked face walking in to find me hanging like a limp dead-weight swaying slowly from the taught end of a stretched rope. My father a man with such few words would speak even less. My siblings would weep of the older brother they lost before they truly got to know.  I would get the attention that’s for sure,only for a day or two. Then things will go back to “normal” or whatever normal is. Things will be forgotten, I would not have to care and marry a spouse, to have sex with this woman and bear children. I wouldn't have to fit in the norms of society. I can relax, I can have peace.

I don’t understand why I never went through with it. I thought of many different ways of committing the crime, I must have been a coward  That must be it! I couldn't even do that right. I couldn't find the courage to face the world let alone face the burden that my family would bear.I put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect child, homosexuality was just standing in my way of that. I am relieved the thoughts never carried me away  It saddens me to hear the news with all the suicides that happen over bullying  if only someone was there to tell them it will get better, it sun will shine brighter.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Revolution Progress and Gay Marriage

Dear Adam,

I recently went to the movies with a date; he opted to watch ‘Lincoln’, I resisted at first since I usually prefer mindless romantic comedies that desire no mental strain whatsoever, I chose not to show my true colors just yet and agreed. The movie is based on biographical events that shaped Lincoln’s life in the White House and his proposed 13th Amendment that outlines federal law to abolish slavery in the United States. This was a difficult time in the U.S. as it was going through a lengthy civil war and its casualties where high. The deep portrayal of Lincoln’s passion towards changing the world as he saw it struck me dumbfounded. His keenness to pass a law that abolishes slavery was a stepping stone for African Americans back in the day and was pivotal towards where we stand today, voting for a second term, a US President of African descent. The sequence of events in our world’s history is immense and there are two factors that are genuinely desired for such milestones to take place: Time and the collective will of a group of individuals. Lincoln claimed that the time was ‘Now’ for the United States to abolish slavery. I believe it was pioneers with the likes of Lincoln that will one day push the world to adopt gay marriage.

The entire movie I felt like I was an African slave caught in chains and this white humble man is freeing me. Being gay in the Arab World, as I am sure cannot be compared to the plight of millions of men and women that toiled their entire lives, is somewhat like being in chains. I feel there is a strong message in the winds towards this world’s progress. 150 years after the abolishment of slavery, they got their rights, were able to vote and were no longer second class citizens. Women as well also fought for their rights towards the right to work and the right to vote, the very right to be equal. It takes a very delicate tipping point to put these cataclysmic movements in momentum.

Lebanon as we know it today is struggling with prejudice against other races, marital rape and victims of domestic violence run high. We suffer so many daily ailments that we have shelved topics like civil marriage. Until today! The time is now to build a collective society and break the chains of the priests and imams that speak for God yet do not really hear when he speaks. One day I do see us moving forward, I do see us moving towards a better life, a freer life with more tolerance and acceptation and a life where we celebrate differences. All it requires is a little time and a little fight from the heart. I hope I see gay marriage in Lebanon one day... one day.. its inevitable it might not happen in this lifetime, but it damn will happen.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day - Same Love

Dear Lovers,

A Happy Velvet Valentines Day! I wish all the lovers the best and I hope you spent the day walking in the park, strolling on the beach or bathing in the Sun. Even if you are single, I hope you shared the love of other couples, however hard that may have been.

 I recently stumbled on this video that I wanted to share; I actually heard this song on a Lebanese radio station, and it put a smile on my face. A pro-gay song on Lebanese radio, was it a mistake? Do they not know the meaning of the words? I hope they do, I hope they know exactly what it means. It's amazing and uplifting. 

The singer's uncle is gay and he hopes that his uncle and his partner can marry and live together and build a family without prejudice and without judgment. I showed this video to a straight guy friend of mine, Yussef. He paused a few seconds after watching it and turned to me and said "I hope you can get married one day, and I hope I am at your wedding. "


Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Birds and the Bees

Dear Adam,

I am sure you remember it better than I do, it was almost 2 years younger than you are today. It was a pivoting point in your pubescent life.  

A classmate approached me and asked me  “Do you know where babies come from?”

“Yes” I uttered with certainty “…from their mommy’s belly”

“Yeah –  but do you know how the hell you get into your mommy’s belly?”

I  paused, “Um… I think when they kiss they make a baby” I flush like a ripe tomato. How am I supposed to answer such on the spot questions, I was still playing with my Ninja Turtles back then!

“Hahahahah, you are such a kid Adam… to get a baby the man puts his penis in the vagina”

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard; I know it is horrible being the youngest in class. It is horrible, when everyone discovered the truth about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus first and you’re still a firm believer. It was impossible to grasp, your father’s penis goes into your mother’s vagina EWWWWW. I couldn’t wait to get home to put this lie to rest.

“Mom, where do babies come from?” It was her turn to blush…“Ask your father, Adam” I grumbled, I knew something was fishy, I have had my mother memorized, and she was certainly hiding something. Why would she wait till we got home? She only did that when my brother and I were in trouble, I felt in trouble just asking the question.

“Dad, where do babies come from?” He sat me down and we had that man to man talk. “Well Adam, when a man and a women love each other, and decide they want to start a family they get married and –”

“But some guys at school said that the man puts his… thing into the women’s va –… thing. Is that true??”

“Yes it is true, but it happens out of love and that is a part of nature, it’s how things move forward, all animals do it, even the birds and the bees” excuse the irony. “You will understand a bit more when you are a little older”

“But why?” Oh, I had so many whys and buts and what ifs. An hour passed and I kept on asking questions. I loved that my father sat me down and explained things like an adult but this took me off guard. “You can’t talk about this stuff in front of your brother and sister; they are younger than you are.”

“Fine…” I walk off to my room, I pass my mother’s room and see her reading on the bed, she stares up at me and knows the conversation with my father must be over, I continue off to my room and hear her scurry over to the living room to find out “how it went” with Dad.. I lay on my bed and I stare at the ceiling, my world just broke a little. I couldn't imagine myself putting my penis in a girls vagina.


Monday, January 21, 2013


Dear “Anonymous”,

Hate is a powerful word. It’s filled with venom, spite, and self pity. I do not address everyone in this letter; I address that one gay boy, out of the 97 people that read the previous post; whom I know looks at himself everyday and hates the demon that stares back. He calls it demon, I call it gay.

I just cannot fathom the depth of hatred that one expels on a daily basis. Or even more worrisome, is the vile amount that piles on inside of you. It consumes you, day in and day out, and you can never run away from yourself. Food for thought: smile and be productive, be happy, be constructive, be uplifting because your mark on this earth is measured. Do not belittle people to feel superior, you will go nowhere with tormenting others/yourself.

I am not saying I am perfect for being ‘Out’ nor do I think every man should be. But I strongly believe if you are given the chance to do something with your life,  then do it. Do not cower behind your skinny shadow, because we all know that everyone is watching. Do you feel envious because I was able to do it and you are not? Admire my bravery.

 I am here to articulate my thoughts, just like you express yourself to the world. I have had a lot worse threats in my life; I will tell you more of one in a future post. I apologize in advance for not quitting. I live these threats all the time, the difference between you and I, is that I choose to make something out of it. I shape things around me, and you let life consume you. I reiterate that I am not perfect, but it is obvious that we are beyond different levels, so where the hell do you stand?

Just like Ohmyhappiness was an anonymous blog for some time I choose Adam to be my project. You are not obliged to read something you do not like. There are plenty of other better blogs out there that might satisfy your unquenchable thirst to hate.  I love myself and you can do nothing to change who I am. It is sad that not only do I have to prove myself to the straight community but I have to prove myself to the self-hating homosexuals!

You call me spoiled. My father toiled for 35 years to be labeled “well off”. I do not ask anything of him, I work just like you do every day. I toil just like you, nothing is handed to me. I believe what you misconceived as spoiled is veiled love -- something you evidently lack from society. Are you telling me that if you were loved by your parents, for whom you truly are, and had a stable normal relationship, that you would have the same time and attitude to tear yourself down on a continuous basis? If it helps, I love you… I love you because you do not have the capacity to love yourself.