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The Queer Arabs Posts

Episode 182 [in English]: Samer Ghrawi

Samer Ghrawi is a Palestinian/Syrian-American musical artist based in California. With musical influences including Gospel, Soul, RnB, Arab pop, and older Arab music, his work sheds light on emotional struggles that are often swept under the rug.  

Samer tells us about growing up gay in a strict Christian environment and Arab in an overwhelmingly white school, falling in love with RnB music as a “guilty” pleasure, experiencing conversion therapy, and eventually repairing his relationship with his parents. He also discusses the unspoken prevalence of alcoholism and addiction in both Arab and queer cultures, his own to sobriety and recovery, and running BIPOC-centered AA groups. We also talked about the particular difficulty of friendship breakups, recording zaghareet in Ikea, Americans not knowing geography, and why heteronormativity is actually kinda gay.  

You’ll also hear Samer’s most recent track “I Ain’t Got No Time.”

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Episode 181 [in English]: House of TT

Tarek Mohamed (TT) is an Egyptian activist, scholar and writer currently pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at UC Irvine. We were thrilled to have Tarek back after his first episode in June 2020!

Tarek discussed the time he spent in Egypt since our first conversation, and his concern over the shift in the political climate there. He noted a rise of military nationalism and American-style neocolonialism, and how pandemic conditions have helped fuel this trajectory.

Tarek mentioned several projects coming up under his creative studio House of TT, including a graphic novel called “36 Love Letters to my Dead Abusive Mother” and “Furtunate Tails: The Pet Friends Who Saved My Best Friends.”

We also talked about how heteronormative biological family unit functions with the state as a tool of control, and the difficulties of getting effective mental health help as queer people in SWANA or in diaspora.

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