Woman off Colour
The (in)visibilised is politicised


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"To call Arab lesbians mus¯ah.iq¯at is culturally meaningful: it places Arab lesbians within their own cultural context, reconnects them to their heritage and solidly anchors the present to the past. This past ought not to be associated simply with violence and persecution, but ought also to evoke a sense of lesbian pride among contemporary Arab lesbians. Let us recall that in medieval Arabic literary writings as in adab literature, s¯ah.iq¯at (lesbians) were associated with love and devotion, and at times were known to form exclusive and reciprocal relations. As a matter of fact, the origin of lesbianism, according to popular anecdotes in the Arabic literary tradition, is regularly traced back forty years before the emergence of male homosexuality to an intercultural, interfaith love affair between an Arab woman and a Christian woman in pre-Islamic Iraq"
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From “Naming to Empower: Lesbianism in the Arab Islamicate World Today” by Sahar Amer

"Suhaqiyya" (derived from the word sahq - to grind) was used in medieval Arabic literature, but is now considered highly derogatory. I’ve encountered people who would love to reclaim the word ‘shadh’ (pervert) in the same way queer has been reclaimed, but have yet to encounter a person who believes that suhaqiyya should be reclaimed. 

But by speaking of reclaiming and pride, aren’t we still stuck in a Western narrative of sexuality?





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