The Lesbian Scene in Jordan: All You Need to Know
I will approach this subject through the lens of a new comer, who is not a part of the mainstream Queer female community in Amman. Kindly be advised that the views I express here are my personal views, based on professional people watching and limited contact with the community (please do not consider them blanket statements, or take them as unquestionable truths).
What is the Lesbian Scene like in Jordan?
Lesbians have conquered the Ammani landscape, since the advent of ROYGBIV. I have made it through a year and a half as a native Jordanian lesbian; this victory somehow qualifies me to write about the Kingdom’s lesbian scene.
Lesbians in Jordan bear a resemblance to the city’s skyline, with its house-mounted hills, dominating features, and dryness. Those who have come to constitute “Jordan’s lesbian community” often come off as unfriendly to the new lesbian tourist as the dented roads and broken speed bumps of Amman.
As an outsider looking in, the young mainstream lesbian scene in Amman seems hungry and carnivorous; it views every new queer female as fresh meat to be consumed and re-consumed by the entire group of friends, with a side of much expected lesbo drama. People like me, watch it happen over cosmopolitans and long island teas, and think to themselves;
no thanks, I’d rather be celibate and grow
cobwebs in Virginia (pun intended).”
Why is it so Difficult to Break Into Jordan’s Lesbian Community?
True, the LGBT community in Jordan is highly exclusive. Directly approaching a group of lesbian-heads poking a cloud of cigarette smoke and viscous gossip at books @ cafe is ill-advised, unless there’s a common friend stringing you together. However we must all admit that it is offensive for a stranger to self-declare you as gay, while simultaneously attempting to trigger a “get to know you” conversation using your gayness as a foundation. Such an approach can be intimidating to the lesbian comrade chilling at a cafe, given how taboo the subject is. Your direct approach may come off as judgmental, since you’ve simplified this girl’s entire being into who she shares her bed with.
I have been a victim to that kind of approach in Jordan, must I say by straight people, and in all honesty, I did not enjoy being outted (to myself).
As a new lesbian, it is crucial to keep in mind that the community’s exclusivity is more of a defense mechanism against homophobia, rather than an arrogance and simple lack of trust. I find the lesbian scene in Jordan to be very reactionary.
Naturally, years of discrimination, exile and name-calling can elicit a bitterness towards new faces. Human beings, at large, tend to abuse those they categorize as “weak” by using the same methods implemented against them by those they categorize as more powerful. It is a means of self-validation and revenge. For example, domestic abuse against women is more prevalent in lower-income households, because modest men are often “emasculated” by the affluent landlord, the wealthy client, and the government official who shames him into subservience for a petty work permit. Consequently, these men from find the need to replicate the abuse they experience onto groups of people they perceive as weaker; in this case, their wives.
Believe it or not, the same scenario applies to lesbians; intolerance by parents, bullying by schoolmates and unflattering comments by emo-looking hunks on rainbow street is replicated in the interactions between old-timer lesbians and “weaker” new lesbians trying to break into the community. A new lesbian has to “pay her dues” so to say.
Why So Hungry?
Blame it on the unavailability of queer women in Jordan, or the risks a lesbian exposes herself to whenever she outs herself to a new love-interest. One of the most frustrating aspects of being a single lesbian in Jordan is the self-consciousness that your gay-dar should never be trusted, since culture and religion draw a sharp line between a girl’s tendencies (what she likes) and her actions (what she’s willing to admit and act upon).
I’ve come across quite the number of raging homosexuals in denial, banking on their self-control in respect for tradition and God.
As a single lesbian, I admit it’s extremely difficult to identify queer women in Amman, and even more difficult to approach them unless you have a common friend. Naturally, this limits your pool of candidates, and so don’t be surprised why groups of Jordanian lesbians tend to be extremely incestuous.
The Jordanian Online Lesbian Community
When I first got to Amman, I was disgruntled by how difficult it was to meet fellow queer females. There was no “correct” way of doing it. I resorted to facebook groups and other websites, such as afterellen.com, in search of Jordanian lesbians who would have mercy on the new lesbo in town. I found posts by foreign lesbians, who were in Amman for a visit, or a temporary stay. I found a couple of posts by Jordanian lesbians, who offered help. Given the how closed off the rest of the community was, I was suspicious of the Jordanians who were open to meet with new lesbians.
My hesitance was later justified, when I heard stories from acquaintances who did fall victim to the welcoming posts, only to find themselves in a car with two lesbians, and one bottle of vodka to be chugged.
I am not saying you should not reach out to the online community; I am simply encouraging caution.
Online Resources For Lesbian Women in Jordan
MyKali is an invaluable source to the LGBT community in Jordan. If you have ever googled Jordan LGBT, then you have probably found yourself surfing through this online magazine. Although the magazine –and all other Jordanian online resources for that matter- cater mostly to gay male audiences, I am of MyKali’s columnists (my articles go under - “Lesbo and The City”. No I didn’t pick the name), and I’ve been trying my best to focus on lesbian topics. MyKali is putting in much needed effort into involving queer female writers nonetheless, the deficiency of lesbian-specific information and resources can be frustrating. The limited information is what compelled me to start my own blog; Queer Girl’s Ink - Jordan(www.queerink.tumblr.com).
One thing I realized as a consequence of my experiences as a lesbian in Amman, is that you should be proactive, if something does not exist in Amman (and many things don’t exist in Amman) then you must be the one to create it. Call it proactive.
The lesbian scene in Amman is hard to crack. However, I realize now that being a gay woman in Amman is not as terrifying as I first thought it would be. You may have to rely on coincidence, common friends, or the internet to meet your first lesbian in Jordan, but once you do, you’ll witness a small community germinate around you.
Believe it or not, this society is making strides. To say “I have a gay friend” is not as suicidal as it used to be.
I have noticed that straight friends, near strangers and family members, who have been suspicious of my sexuality, try their best to signal their suspicions, while letting me know that “it’s okay”. The way they their sentiments are expressed is extremely politically incorrect, but that’s beside the point. I find their sincere effort to be a step forward. Straight people are confronting my sexuality, instead of blocking it out. Straight people are learning how to co-exist with my gayness. Perhaps, they are even beginning to like it.
So to the new lesbian in Jordan, I will say; Amman is a harsh city, but don’t be disappointed. It takes a little bit of patience.
Alyah Al Aswad
- 6 notes
- middle east
- women's health
- human rights
- Alyah Al Aswad
- gay community
- lesbian scene
- social equality
- Arab LGBT
- jordan LGBT
- jordan lesbians
- Jordan Lesbian Scene
Day 14 Writing Prompt: 30/30 Challenge
Write a poem that describes a walk through a house from the perspective of a child.
Day 5 Poem: Flowers for Ann - Alyah Al Aswad
The way life ought to be, through the lens of people who decide what life ought to be about,
flowers are apologetic.
It is easy to lose people to guilt. I cannot say I had ever lost anyone other than myself.
It was a waste of my time, it still is.
You are not ready to vase the hypothetical scenario of receiving flowers from me;
Flowers in our circumstances would not be apologetic,
just a funeral bouquet for the “casual” in the thing we got going.
I am not ready to give you any flowers either,
because of my history with flowers.
I had grown wild fields of weeds on my palms because I had touched quite the number of people who needed apologies from quite a number of people.
I do not talk about it, because I do not like to talk about myself.
It makes me seem to have known struggle in my life; except I am privileged,
and my stories are mundane.
For what its worth, I do have a passion for flowers.
Aside from the fact that they remind me of vaginas,
Their stance in beauty in a world so broken by its people consoles me.
Makes me think it is still okay to love,
I mean okay to love regardless of being loved back.
I drive by a flower-shop on my way to your house on those evenings that I do come by.
I never remember to stop,but one day I will,
and when I do, I’ll park my car on the busy highway.
I’ll pick the yellow and purple tulips. I’ll pick violet mesh for my friend-flower-boy to wrap them with.
Once I get to your house; I’ll either have grown the guts to give them to you
or I’ll just leave the freshly picked bouquet in my car, until you ask me about who they’re for;
and then,I’ll either tell you I’m a coward or I’ll be defensive and answer;
they are flowers for Ann.
Day 3 (30/30 Challenge) | Alyah Al Aswad
The distance between two points increases with time.
Your warmth is an expanding universe,
that mushroom clouds upon me.
In a parallel universe, my mother sets a pot of soup on my kitchen table,
in repentance for the distance we have lodged between us,
I swallow warmth in spoon-fulls.
I may well be a black hole for lunatics and tabula rasas,
but what it is about you is that I have not come across such a pair of cracked irises
in my entire 1988 miles of looking for a place to nest.
Their outliers remind me of homegrown almonds dripping from trees my parents tended in the backyard of their first doll house.
All I had kept from that memory was the serenity I used to pluck out of strings sunlight on Friday mornings.
I have matured.
I enjoy chemistry over physics and its gravity crashes.
I have undressed in the most inconvenient of places too,
and apart from the smiles behind a crust of uncanny accomplishment.
I’d like to make a few memories with you.
The distance between the event and its memory increases with time too,
until the two are unrelated.
Its what they call Alzheimer’s,
so why think twice about what happens,
why hope everything ends well,
when I’m not even going to have a recollection of it.
All the Remains ~ by Phuti (Submission - Day 1: 30/30 Challenge)
After the door shut, and the footsteps died
All that remained was the still dead image of prostitution;
The thought of killing myself, hating myself for having given in to earthly lust;
As he left, the sound of the footsteps dying down the corridors, his cologne left a memory of our sinful act;
Once again i found myself regretting everything, an everyday routine;
I should give up this job…;
But the money is good…;
But the risks are higher…;
i reason and battle with my mind and body;
HIV and pregnancy with a stranger’s baby, but then again the money is good;
Everyday opening the doors of my temple to men, strangers who couldn’t care less about the interior decor;
All they care about is the satisfaction of their money’s worth;
Everyday going back on a deal with God to let him rest in my soul, forever allowing strangers to disturb and annoy Him;
These men don’t care about me and my God, all they care about is their bellies squashed between me and them, their penises penetrating deep into my cervix, their bums squeezing and hardening with every throb;
It must feel good; it must feel real good;
Their faces light up, glow like a pregnant teen that hasn’t learned of her state;
They always say stupid stuff, some same say they love me, but i know they don’t mean it, coz afterwards they can’t even look at me;
These men don’t care about me, or about the fact that every time they pay up I count my worth to the devil;
I count the height the devil jumps as i commit yet another sin;
These men don’t care about me;
I bet they don’t even know my name, they might have me on speed dial, but they don’t know my name, they might fantasize about me blowing them during that boring board meeting, but they don’t know my name;
My soul reduced to blowjobs and doggies;
Yet I’m forever repeating how great is the mercy of God;
Hoping my offering prayer every morning and every night might be enough for me to get saved on that day;
After the door shuts and the footsteps died;
All that remained was the still image of prostitution
DAY 2: 30 / 30 Challenge - Prompt
Alright, here we go, Day 2 Use the following phrase as a focal point to write from: “The stain will not come out…” I was very excited to have Alysia Harris contribute a poem to the blog today. I say you should submit too… Alyah
Alright, here we go, Day 2
Use the following phrase as a focal point to write from:
“The stain will not come out…”
I was very excited to have Alysia Harris contribute a poem to the blog today. I say you should submit too…
DAY 1: 30 / 30 Challenge - Prompt
My 30 pieces in 30 days challenge will begin tomorrow.
The prompt will be the following
Write for 15 minutes using the following phrase as your first line.
“After the door shuts and the footsteps die…”
Please be encouraged to submit your pieces.
I’ll be in your hip bone
Rattling side to side with you
Every time you take a boys hand and dance
Remember you promised me that waist once,
I would’ve asked for your womb, if I didn’t have wide hips too,
But I do.
The rise in your voice
Under the tent of my flat sheet is speechless.
Give me the ribbon in your goodnight
So I can tie it around my pride
You’ve talk my chest into a tambourine once.
My woman is an ak47
And together we took shots at things that aren’t meant to be ours
I’ve held her
strapped shoulder to waist
Like a seat belt for a patriot
Like my baby.
Murderers, as much as we are in love.
took a bite from her curves
never needed a cannon between my legs
to take her hand and dance.
She believed in me
The touch of black hair
Smooth alcohol as the last Saturday night we spent
I apologized for failures as heavy as baseballs
When she gazed at me through cracked window pane eyes
We are Arab
As much we are people.
I’ve felt for the sand grains
In her roots
Come home with me
Make home in my posture
Give me more of you until
Like old men with time
Because if you cant grow old with me
Grow the old in me
get old in my jaws
until no one wants to hear of you no more.
I have crimes in my baggage.
I know the rhythm in her back when we reenact sunsets between her legs
Too well to unpack in my mother’s presence
That last night we spent
new york city had no mercy on me
slow dancing in a room of burning flower pots
seducing the breath out of me
got moist laying naked on top me
felt her wet on my thigh
That night she broke my fire hydrant of a libido
the ash under my skin was witness
that we had too much fire inside
People speak liquorish,
White truth center coated by black sweet lies
Maybe I know this only when I’m high but
Black sweet lies drip from their mouths when they talk
Under all this sugar, I know they wonder…
Do we get wet?
Do I taste you well?
do we fuck right?
My baby, jet plane, smashed
She leaks jet black scars sometimes
Jetfighter seducing ground
Is how I fell for her
The straight in me exploded,
I’ve been conquered since then.
Girl, I’ve been waiting on your curves to get me twisted
Baby I know the flat in your foot
is the straightforward nature of yours
nothing bent about the way you sway
in my arms like a willow tree when things get hard.
Well, things get hard sometimes…
I wish we could have a pregnancy scare once
I wish it could be a mistake not using a condom once
I wish I could get her on birth control to avoid the mistake next time
Give me a mistake once
That shits on itself,
And that I can sing to sleep sometimes.
Sometimes I like to sing things other than anthems and sirens.
People like me can change diapers.
Just give me a next time.
Read My Nagging Post: I think it will make me feel better en
My weekend has been a roller coaster. I drank until I vomited, twice, something I can check off my Life’s To Do List. I am glad I have finally done it. For a while I thought my stomach is immune to alcoholic regurgitation. Thankfully I proved my guts wrong, and I love it when I’m right.
I had a rough week at work. My boss is a woman, and since I happen to love women and be a feminist I will engage in some self-control and refrain from calling her names. I had mentioned earlier that my girlfriend and I work in the same place, of course no one knows we’re dating, but they do know we’re close friends. Recently, my boss has been treating us unequally -for lack of better words. You guessed right, I am the one treated like an orphaned child under a railroad bridge. Some bullshit…i am at work right now, during MY fucking weekend, and my boss is in a damn boat in the sea, sailing in the sea. Fuck capitalism.
Either way, this inequality in treatment can be explained by the fact that my girlfriend’s acquaintance is funding my boss’s private business. So now she’s kissing my girlfriend’s ass at my expense. This makes me angry, and naturally, I take it out on my girlfriend. Which is undeserved, because she carries me like pillars under a lake house. My girlfriend is amazing, she really cares about me.
So I saw my girlfriend yesterday to talk about how big of an asshole I am. I felt so anxious, I needed alcohol. So I ran to the liquour store, as she prepared us a homemade hookah. I got rum, thats what she wanted, I was thinking something along the lines of whiskey, but she doesnt like whiskey. Whiskey reminds me of my best friend in college. It was our tradition.
Then I drank, a lot. And smoked. At some point I began breaking down and nagging about how much my life sucks. I was crying because I want to be a writer. But, I cannot move to America and marry her if I am a self employed writer. Unless I do it illegally, but that not smart because I wanna have a normal life, i wanna be fair to my children, get married legally. So I have to go to grad school, get stuck in a job where I make a lot of money, until I get the citizenship, hopefully. So basically, I have to wait 10 more years to do what I love. I want to write a book. But I dont have the time, because of work. I dont know, its rather confusing. Whenever I try to have a real job, mid-way through it I realize I’m not meant for this. I’m meant to be a poor beggar sitting in a cheap cafe writing stuff about this God damn world on a rusty old type-write. But being an artist is so inconvenient, so unrealistic, these days.
I was also crying because I’m so fucking privileged. I live comfortably and have to see people at work every single day struggling through life. It doesnt make it easier that my programs cater to disadvantaged youth. Hey please justify my luck? Thats some bullshit, it makes me so angry. So I’ve decided that I’m a socialist. People assume that because I have a good education and because I speak english well that I am somehow more of a source of authority than they are or that my opinion matters more. Wrong. I am only working where I am working so normal people can teach me something about life. People like me dont know shit. People like me will never be vegetable sellers in Tunis setting themselves on fire because they are so tired of hunger. People like me are so out of touch with reality. People like me are assholes honestly. I dont know man, the world is fucked up.
I was also crying because my family has given me everything I know, they were the first people to ever believe in me and yet my future happiness is so in conflict with their future happiness that it drives me crazy. Why do I get to be queer, maybe you can justify that one? Thats not fair to me. It isnt. Please dont convince yourself that this is a choice I’ve made. I choose to be happy and no one has the right to deliberate that with me. I deserve happiness as much as the next person. I’m so confused about whether I should feel lucky or unlucky for being who I am. For one, I can buy food, but I’m also an Arab Muslim Lesbo. Its hilarious isnt it. So, which one matters more? Food or love? I have no idea, whatcha think?
Alright, I’m gonna save you the trouble of reading more of my nagging. I know not a lot of people read posts till the end (i dont read posts till the end), so if you’re someone who read this post till the end, thank you i guess.
I feel close to everyone here; assuming that there is anyone, for all I know I may be talking to myself right now, not that I mind that, but its just awkward.
Anyways, have a great day people!