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The Queer Arabs Posts

Episode 57 in English: Pillagers and Preservation, a Convo with Leila Khoury

We talked to Leila Khoury, a Syrian-American graduate student who is currently working toward a Master of Architecture and Certificate in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  This was such an incredible conversation about a topic that does not get nearly enough attention: the theft and cultural appropriation of cultural and historic objects from so much of the world by, namely, Europeans and Americans.  Leila has a powerful piece called Near East, which critiques the forced migration of Levantine artifacts into European collections.  For example, at the Louvre, Leila noticed some of these artifacts that were not only completely out of their element, but also not given the care and respect that should be there.  This was such an important reminder of how desensitized our education system, and our society in general (in our case, society in the U.S.), has conditioned us to become about this rampant history of theft and disrespect of artifacts.

Check out Leila’s website to learn more:

Also, as mentioned in the episode, here are some links about some projects and artists brought up:

Lee Bey,, book: Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side

South Side Home Movie Project,

Mona Gazala,

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Episode 56 in English: You Be You!

During this episode, we got to talk to two of the wonderful people behind the children’s book You Be You! Explaining Gender, Love & Family.   We talked to the author of the book – Jonathan Branfman (pictured below) – and the translator of the Arabic version of the book, Aseel Houmsse.  We are very grateful to have a copy of the Arabic version of this important book, and we highly encourage everyone to check it out!  It is offered in many languages and more languages are expected to be added in the near future.  This book will help normalize the spectrum of gender and sexuality for children in their formative years.  We have been told from such a young age that there are only two genders and that there are very specific paths that each gender is “supposed” to take.  This book will help dispel these simplistic and incorrect explanations of humans; it can also be used as a tool for adults to learn how to understand gender and sexuality and how to pass that on to children.  Thank you to Jonathan, Aseel, all of the translators of the other languages this book is offered in, and illustrator Julie Benbassat!

You can find the book in many different languages on Amazon; here are the links for English and Arabic:

Get the book in English here:
The book in Arabic is here:
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