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The Queer Arabs Posts

Episode 149: Omar Sfeir

Image: “Lovers in the Times of Revolution” 

Omar Sfeir is a Beirut-based photographer and filmmaker. His work documents human intimacy as a means of questioning social norms. His photographic journeys tell the stories of non-conformists in the context of their respective societies, inspired by the taboos of sexual expression in the MENA region, especially towards the LGBT community. 

We discussed his recent photography projects, which represent the Lebanese Revolution, the Beirut explosion, and the COVID-19 crisis through visual symbolism, and his new documentary “Album,” which follows the relationships between three queer Lebanese individuals (including himself) with their mothers.

We also talked about the different ways that Arab and US cultures regulate emotional expression, and how we’ve been releasing our repressed emotions (whether by making art or by crying/screaming in our apartments). 

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Episode 148, part 1: Sivan Battat

Photo by Dasha Landa

Sivan Battat (she/they) is a queer Iraqi-Jewish artist & organizer based in New York City, focused on new play and new musical development, and Arab-Jewish cultural organizing. Sivan’s work is across genres – in the theatre, in community, in ritual celebration, and beyond. 

Our conversation with Sivan was so rich, we decided to make it a two-parter! This week’s episode focuses on Sivan’s recent work organizing ancestral storytelling workshops and what it means to connect to our (biological or otherwise) ancestors as queer people. Sivan also discusses her process of finding community across intersecting identities.

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Episode 147 [in English]: Amina Shareef Ali

Amina Shareef Ali is a trans, Oakland-based singer-songwriter, therapist, mom, and punk of Egyptian, Turkish, and Filipino descent. She discussed the challenges of retracing cultural heritage lost through her father’s passing and her mother’s assimilation, and the complex pressures of passing identity to the next generation. We also discussed lies we’ve been told about “making it” as an artist under capitalism, the audience base she found after embracing her queer, trans, and mixed-brown identities, what it means to be (folk)punk, and more!

Amina’s new album ‘In the Dark (Awake Of Course)’ is coming out Monday March 29! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for more updates!


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