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The Queer Arabs Posts

Episode 193 [in English]: Barrak Alzaid

Barrak Alzaid is an award-winning writer of memoir, prose, poetry and art criticism, as well as an educator and organizer of artistic community spaces. His current projects include his memoir Fabulous, about queer coming of age in Kuwait, and a speculative fiction novel grappling with the racial, class, and environmental circumstances of near-future Kuwait City (based on his short story “The Runner”). 

Barrak discusses how he aims to move away from the Eurocentric “single author” model of creating art, including the GCC artist collective, which creates group work around the aesthetics of their upbringings in the gulf, and holding physically-based group workshops as part of developing his upcoming novel. He also explains how he’s given other queer and trans “characters” in his memoir agency in how their experiences are described. 

We also talk about the relative gender freedom that’s sometimes allowed in childhood and how that influenced Barrak’s perspective growing up, the misguided optimism that sometimes occurs in the intersection of privilege and marginalization, navigating shifting family relationships, and more!
Photo Credit: Pern Khamwean, https://www.facebook.com/PERNphotography

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Episode 192 [in English]: Hamzeh Daoud on Presencing Ourselves

Hamzeh Daoud is a trans femme Palestinian researcher, organizer, and tech person originally from Amman, and currently based in Texas. She’s co-lead of the ongoing survey Presencing Ourselves: A Survey of LGBTQI+ Muslims in the U.S. (along with our recent guest Amara, and in partnership with Queer Crescent).

**If this applies to you, you can take the survey here!!**

This episode consists of complete emotional whiplash in which we alternate between serious conversations of queerphobia, family trauma, and settler colonialism, and utter ridiculousness. 

Hamzeh discusses the importance of the survey from their perspective, both identifying and critiquing the ways that quantification and measurability can give our communities more legitimacy in a capitalist-oriented system. 

They also talk about documenting their journey coming out to family and seeking asylum on Tiktok (follow them at @hammyenbywammy), while also questioning Western narratives around visibility. We also discuss the recent attacks on Gaza, why Zionist narratives are so effective on the US public, and the media obsession with illustrating the “perfect victim,” rather than treating life and liberation for Palestinians and other marginalized groups as unconditional.

Also in this episode, Ellie and Nadia make bad puns (which Hamzeh is puntagonistic towards) and Hamzeh tries to say “fuck” exactly five times to meet the podcast’s new community guidelines (listen to find out if she succeeds). 

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Episode 191 [in English]: Amara on Presencing Ourselves

You might remember Amara Ahmed from one of our very first guest episodes–and we were delighted to have her back! Amara is a researcher and PhD candidate based in the CA Bay Area. A trans Muslim of Mexican and Pakistani background, she is involved in queer Muslim community organizing in the area including the organization Queer Crescent

She joined us to talk about a research survey she’s co-conducting in partnership with Queer Crescent: Presencing Ourselves: A Survey of LGBTQI+ Muslims in the U.S.

**If this applies to you, you can take the survey here!!**

We discuss the confidentiality and security of the survey, why other surveys of Muslim Americans have likely underreported queer identity, defining Muslim identity broadly, and why it’s politically and economically important to have quantitative data about a community. 

We also talk about Amara’s more qualitative PhD research on similar themes, the challenges and racial divisions within Muslim community organizing, and cool specialty keyboards (check out her queer Muslim keyboard).

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