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The Queer Arabs


Some queer Arabs run a podcast together!

Some queer Arabs run a podcast together!


United States


Some queer Arabs run a podcast together!




Episode 167 [in English]: Play a Video Game

This week Ellie, Alia, and Nadia discuss some of the lesser-known dealings of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, such as his massive investment in the video game company SNK. Why does this matter? These “soft-power” moves ensure that international corporations will pressure their governments not to sanction Saudi Arabia – despite the state’s human rights violations and destruction in Yemen. We also discuss MBS’s serpentine rise to power and his history of associations with American...


Episode 166 [in English]: Angie Assal

This week we’re catching up with Angie Assal (who you might remember from previous episodes) Lebanese-American artist, dancer, aspiring musician, and creator of Sound of Mazzika, a line of jewelry and more inspired by Arabic music and culture. Angie explains why she got started studying Arabic percussion, and how it also led her to practice the martial art Bagua. She also talks about recovering from injuries and COVID hospitalization, and dream collaborations for her jewelry business (Haifa...


Episode 165: Mizna: Queer + Trans Voices

Zeyn Joukhadar, author of The Map of Salt and Stars and The Thirty Names of Night, joined us to talk about the process of guest editing the Mizna: Queer + Trans Voices collection! Zeyn also talks about the writing of his novels, the importance of a space for queer folks in SWANA communities, and more. Nailah Taman, Program Director of Mizna, also joined us for this episode to talk about the process of making the Queer + Trans Voices issue come together. They discuss the work that Mizna does,...


Episode 164 [in English]: Taüs Jafar

This episode features Ṭaüs Jafar, formerly Tamara, who was born in Troy, MI to an Iraqi-Muslim immigrant family. Ṭaüs’ music and songwriting has played on the radio, been featured in pop songs, in the scores of feature films and TV shows, and been part of experiential design in museums and large-scale public installations. Jafar’s work and experimentation as an artist, musician, and activist eventually led them to a practice and pursuit of knowledge around healing, meditation, and dharmic...


Episode 163 [in English]: Breaking Fast

It was such a pleasure talking to Mike Mosallam, creator of the film ‘Breaking Fast’ (on Hulu). The film follows a gay Muslim man looking for love during Ramadan (the film is best described as a Ramadan rom-com). (See more here: We discussed the importance of media portrayal of the fun and sense of humor shared among Arabs, as this is not often the side of the community that gets focused on. We talked about the ways Arab actors are often pigeonholed in...


Episode 162 [in English]: Jillian York on Unraveling ‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’

Photo by: VampKitty/Nadine Barišić This week’s episode features Jillian York who, like Liz Henry (featured last week) played a vital role in 2011 in unveiling the hoax surrounding the blog ‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’ — the fictional character Amina Arraf had become a beloved figure by many around the world at the time. To many, Amina represented a key shift in conversation surrounding the LGBT community; finally, there was an Arab lesbian voice reaching folks internationally. In this episode,...


Episode 161 [in English]: Liz Henry on Unraveling ‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’

Photo source: We were joined by Liz Henry who played a vital role in 2011 in unveiling the hoax surrounding the blog ‘A Gay Girl In Damascus’ — the fictional character Amina Arraf had become a beloved figure by many around the world at the time. When Liz helped discover that Amina did not actually exist (and a catfisher in the UK was behind the scheme), many people who had been invested in Amina’s story experienced various levels of grief. To many, Amina...


Episode 160 [in English]: Creating (Dis)content & Coalitions with the UC Davis MENASA Student Resources

Huge thank you to the UC Davis MENASA Resources Center (@ucdavismenasa) for having us as guest speakers! Following our presentation on the (brief) history our podcast, what we’ve learned along the way, and an overview of queer organizing in the SWANA region, we recorded a live Q&A with some awesome attendees. Our discussion included pre- and post-9-11 racial perceptions of us as Arabs in the US, finding queer SWANA and Muslim community (in various locales and online), what brings us Queer...


Episode 159 [in English]: Brilliant Mind

Denmo Ibrahim, a first-generation Egyptian-American actor, writer, and entrepreneur, joined for this week’s episode. We focused on her upcoming work, Brilliant Mind, which is a participatory digital experience that will be presented through Marin Theater Company. In this work, the two main characters (siblings Dina and Yusef) learn of their estranged father’s death, they return to their childhood home to bury a man they never knew. The story explores the bond that forms between the two...


Episode 158 [in English]: Randa Jarrar

Randa Jarrar is a Los Angeles-based Palestinian-Egyptian writer, actress, and more. She joined us to discuss her recent and upcoming work, plus virtual kink parties, tattoos, tatreez and tea! Randa is the author of the forthcoming memoir Love Is An Ex-Country, the novel A Map of Home, and the collection of stories Him, Me, Muhammad Ali. She is also a performer who has recently appeared in Hulu’s RAMY, as well as the short films GOT GAME and FINJAN. Her essays have appeared in The New York...


Episode 157 [in English]: The Kingdom’s Sandcastle

Luai Qubain is an author and engineer born and raised in Jordan and currently based in Denver. His book The Kingdom’s Sandcastle revisits his experiences as a young man in Jordan hiding his sexuality, losing his mother, and surviving an abusive relationship. Luai recalled the challenges of writing and reliving trauma, and why he felt compelled to do so. He also discussed the particular risks of relationship abuse within heavily persecuted queer communities. We also talk about the various...


Episode 156 [in English]: Lena Harbali

Lena Harbali is an LA-based Syrian-American multidisciplinary artist working in fashion, writing, music, visual art, and more. Lena discusses how growing up in various places – Michigan, Belgium, and Japan – shaped her perspective on the world. She recounts her journey into designing, and eventually modeling, with the goal of making fashion for all body types and gender expressions. She also talks about recording her recent EP, embracing her voice, and releasing the throat chakra. We discuss...


Episode 155 [in English]: Spirit Swapping with Alex of SoftNotWeak

Alex (Lebanese, pronouns they/them) co-founder studio SoftNotWeak discusses with Ellie their new game currently in development called Spirit Swap: Lofi Beats to Match-3 To. It is an action-puzzle game set in a lush, narrative-driven world of witchy demons. Everyone is non-binary in this one. Ellie and Alex discuss killing ourselves for a white audience, white education by minorities in corporate America, hating on trash representation, Call of Duty, QPOC joy, business structuring, the over...


Episode 154 [in English]: When We Were Arabs, part 2

Massoud Hayoun is a Los Angeles-based journalist and writer. His book When We Were Arabs recounts his grandparents’ lives in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Los Angeles as a decolonial reclamation of Jewish Arab identity. In part two of our two-part conversation, Massoud explains his decision not to include his queer identity in the book–with the intention of focusing on his grandparents’ stories and the anticolonial message, but also with some concern about making himself a singular voice on...


Episode 153 [in English]: When We Were Arabs, part 1

Massoud Hayoun is a Los Angeles-based journalist and writer. His book When We Were Arabs recounts his grandparents’ lives in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, and Los Angeles as a decolonial reclamation of Jewish Arab identity. In part one of our two-part conversation, Massoud explains the process of conceptualizing and writing this book alongside his grandmother. We discuss the challenges of balancing our cultural focus on the past with the need to imagine a better future, and how claiming an...


Episode 152: Mloukhiyyé

Mloukhiyyé is a Beirut-based artist working with pixel art, text, video games, drag and more! They discussed their past and future projects, including illustrations of performers in and around the Lebanese drag scene, video games that reflect social and environmental issues, an illustrated book about Lebanese queer slang, and a piece involving Tatreez and Lebanese herbs. We also talked about their journey into queer identity, why they chose the mloukhiyye leaf as their namesake, pronouns in...


Episode 151: Tasneem

Tasneem is a producer, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, newly based in Toronto, with East African and South Asian roots. Their recent album “Just Before the World Ends” captures a sense of raw punk authenticity with a third-culture-kid spin. We talked about Tasneem’s experience growing up in Oklahoma in a Muslim immigrant family, the influences and inspirations that have shaped their music, a story about dates, Palestine, and Portugal, and more!


Episode 150 [in English]: Intersectionality & Survivorship

Claudia (she/her) is a queer, mixed Lebanese-American, disabled sexual and domestic violence preventionist, advocate, survivor, and social justice organizer, based in Fredericksburg, VA. She joined us to talk about her work as Community Services Specialist at the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA) in Fredericksburg, VA. RCASA’s services include a 24/7 hotline, counseling, hospital accompaniment, legal accompaniment, case management, prevention education. As part of her...


Episode 150: What’s Up in Greece

We were joined by AUThors founder and coordinator, Anthony; AUThors is a Greek initiative focused on gender and LGBTQI+ issues and rights. Apart from the initiative’s activist work, they have a news site for LGBTQI+ people and women. (Side note: Anthony interviewed us for the site, and the feature will be up soon!) During this episode, we talked about queer activism in Greece, Anthony’s process coming into his identity, and about the work AUThors does. We also touched on the societal...


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,...