Che genere di Islam: un saggio che parla di omosessuali, queer e transessuali nel mondo islamico
intervew to Chris Belloni: filmaker . His new documentary is ” I
am gay and muslim”.
about the “identity” of a person, what do they refer to?
refer to someone’s sexual identity if they speak about ‘identity’.
I think that someone’s identity is multi-layered and consists of
many different aspects. In my film I AM GAY AND MUSLIM the guys
openly share their experiences about their religious and sexual
identity. These two identities seem opposed to each other and
therefore it is interesting to hear them speak about it. But the
Moroccan identity is also very important to them.
consider being homosexual and Muslim as a contradiction: in your
opinion, prejudices towards homosexuality derive from culture or from
people condemn homosexuality based on their beliefs of the Koran.
However, I have met the homosexual imam Muhsin Hendricks from
South-Africa and he has another interpretation about homosexuality
and the Koran. Imam Hendricks theological methodology is based on
Loth referring to story of Sodom and Gomorrah. People who entered the
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were abused and raped by its
inhabitants. Muslims often refer to this story to condemn
homosexuality whereas this imam says that homosexuality is between
the love of two men instead of abuse and male-to-male rape.
Arabic-Islamic world, are there any cases of transgender people?
cases are known of transgender people in Arab world but also in
Turkey for instance. One of the most famous singers in Turkey is
transgender. She used to be man and is woman now. However, she
detests homosexuality; she wants to be accepted as woman who loves
bisexuality? Can you talk about some situation you personally know?
80 interviews with homosexual/bisexual guys in Morocco for my
filmproject. Many of them consider themselves bisexual because it
costs some time to admit to be homosexual. Others consider themselves
bisexual because they want to have a normal family life with wife and
children. In other words: they are homosexual because they feel
attracted to men, but call themselves bisexual because they want to
be accepted by society and start a family life.
how is the life of a person who has to hide his own sexual attitude?
What are the greatest difficulties?
Morocco live in very dire circumstances. Most of them have to hide
their true (homosexual) feelings for their whole life. Some of them
have more open and liberal parents, but this is only possible for a
few: 9 out of 80 interviewees had told their parents. Most of them
live half-open; they have told some (gay-)friends or some close
friends. But it is very difficult to be open about your homosexuality
towards family members such as parents or siblings. Remarkably enough
many guys have their first sexual experience with a relative, notably
that documentary movies may be a useful instrument to inform people
about the real situation of Muslim homosexuals and to promote
reflexions and constructive debates about this subject?
think that portraying the lives of people (as documentaries do) have
a positive result on the live of people. Maybe not directly of the
protagonists who appear in the film, but the LGBT community in
Morocco certainly benefits from it. I AM GAY AND MUSLIM has been
screened at numerous international filmfestivals around the world and
in many countries the situation of LGBT people in Morocco in being
discussed. Furthermore, the film has been screened a few times in
Morocco for selected audiences in cooperation with the embassy of the
Netherlands. Many NGO’s, human rights organizations and diplomats
from western embassies have seen the film and try to strengthen
projects fighting for LGBT rights in Morocco. Last but not least:
many gay guys in Morocco are aware of this film and they feel
empowered that some guys dared to share their stories. So yes, I do
think that a documentary like mine does make some progress in the
emancipation process of LGBT people in Morocco.
the reaction of people who have played a part in the movie, when you
have proposed them your project?
met many gay guys in Morocco and most of them wanted to share their
stories with me. However, just a few of them actually wanted to share
their stories on
which is very understandable. The guys who appear in the film are
true heroes and I guess they make significant changes by appearing in
the film. Nevertheless, it costs me a lot of time and effort to
convince them to cooperate in this project. Up until now, the guys in
the film did not encounter any problems. Let’s
keep the fingers crossed.
for the future?
hopes for the future of LGBT people in Morocco. There are some minor
changes in the positive direction. The most important thing is that
article 489 of the penal code which forbids homosexuality (‘unnatural
acts’) needs to be abolished. The country is not ready for this
yet, but one can see the tendency that this law is victimizing less
people. It would be really difficult to have homosexuality accepted
in a Muslim country as Morocco but I think people should be more
aware about the phenomenon of homosexuality and more education about
it that in one day parents can sort of accept their child if they
happen to be gay.