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Gay in Jordan?


 

The condemning of homosexual behavior by both the Jordanian government and the Jordanian society.

 

 

 

Introductory Video: 

 

 

 

Purpose:

 

LGBTQ+ persons tend to be continuously marginalized in the Jordanian community, both by societal norms and governmental pressure.

The spectrum of gender is nonexistent in the Jordanian mindset. To the Jordanian masses, gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation are all indifferent. There is definitely a lack of education regarding the topic of gender.

As I tend to grow older in this community, I recognize more the faults of my people. I understand more and more that Jordanians do not understand how specific concepts such as gender can change over time, and that must be changed. 

My project aims to raise awareness and provoke realization to the deep-rooted ignorance in the Jordanian society in regards to homosexuality and gender. I also hope to spark a change in the mindset present in the society, which will be conducted through the Jordanian public voice. 

 


A Recent Incident:

 

Controversial image of audience member raising the LGBT flag in a Mashrou Leila concert.

Mashrou’ Leila is a Lebanese Indie-Rock band that is known to be controversial for their lyrics and advocacy on social issues. They are  the first Arabic-speaking rock band to discuss gay rights in the Middle East

 
 

An album release concert for the band, “Mashrou’ Leila” was banned in Jordan. Even though, they have performed in the historical locations 3 times previously. The band was prevented from performing because the concert “contradicted the integrity of the location”.

 

After this incident, the Jordanian public was slipt; some in support for the band, others in rejoicing that the ban was applied. 

An article from the National Public Radio website discussed the ban on the band and mentioned how, “the show was cancelled by the government — and the band says they have been told they can never perform again in the country, because of the group’s politics, religious beliefs and “endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom”.” 

The Jordanian Minister of Tourism had backed these claims saying that the ban was caused by the Jordanian public denouncing Mashrou’ Leila as defiant to the common religious and cultural beliefs. 

 

 


Where does Jordan actually stand? 

 

 

Jordanian sights.

 

For a long while, Jordan was considered to be the most progressive in the Middle East due to its stance on homosexuality, since the criminalization of same-sex relations was eliminated from its Penal Code in 1951.

Jordan is the only Muslim Arab country in the Middle East whose law does not criminalize homosexuality. However, the Jordanian society is conservative and can be defined as a non-homosexual society. There have been many articles in the Jordanian Constitution, like Article 6 in Chapter 1, that push for equal treatment of all citizens and condemns discrimination between Jordanians based on religion, language, or race. Although, all the Constitution and all its articles fail to condemn discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation. It was found in an HRC report that 97% of Jordanians in the Kingdom still reject homosexuality.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordan’s Prince  Zeid Raad al-Hussein, has made a statement on the issue, pushing for the disallowing of discrimination against LGBT people.

He stated in an event during the General Assembly’s high-level session that he understands how this might be a difficult topic around the world, but action must be taken.

 We ask all governments to allow individuals to love whom they choose, to outlaw discrimination, tackle hate crimes and the bullying so frequent in schools, and to protect intersex children from harm – including by banning medically unnecessary surgery on intersex infants. The onus has to be on governments to protect and respect rights – and explain to the public why these measures are needed,” he declaimed.

 

 


 

Interview

 

 

 

I conducted an interview with one of the editors of  MyKali Magazine via email correspondences. I chose to contact the magazine as it might be one of the key aspects of the Arab take on homosexuality. As it self-describes, MyKali is an “online social-conceptual Middle East and North Africa webzine, covers issues of LGBT+, sexuality, arts, music, the underground, the alternative, and gender.” The interviewee here requested that he stay anonymous and therefore he will remain as “MyKali editor”. Below are my questions to him and his answers respectively:

 

1- To what extent is Jordan an overall safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ community?

“Jordan is one of the only countries in the region that doesn’t criminalize being LGBT+ (along with Iraq and Egypt, however, they use other laws in their own countries’ context to arrest, kill…etc.). However, that doesn’t mean being “visibly” or “noticeably” LGBT+ isn’t a major social stigma; which could lead to being ostracized from your community and home, subjected to physical and emotional bullying in the street, workplace, schools… The debate about what safe space means or requires varies from individual to other. Being “comfortable” or “safe” as an LGBT+ person in Jordan comes from a privileged place and is measured on things like, (where you live, your social class, your financial status, your use private transportation or public, hetero-passing, themore heteronormative you are the easier it is).
 
There are of course exceptions for individual cases of being accepted in their community, but these are exceptions and not the overall situation. Also, we must take into consideration, the more heteronormative you are or conforming to our society, the more accepted you are or safe it is for you to exist. 
As for women; women, in general, are objectified and sexualized, or are also considered property that needs to be protected and concealed. Therefore, many women in our societies are encouraged to hide behind doors, lock rooms, and remain more private, which could offer a safe space to them. 
Yet, aside from all of that, homosexual couples and individuals have it easier when it comes to living alone or renting apartments and houses than heterosexual couples. As heterosexual couples often have to prove their married or restricted/limited from inviting the opposite sex to their accommodation, homosexual couples have many camouflages when it comes to this aspect, which could be considered a safe space. “
 

2- How do you think that the Jordanian policies (legally) discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community?  

“Within the Jordanian constitution or legally, there’s nothing set in stone that discriminates anyone based on their sexual orientation, or gender identity. However, morality laws, in some cases, are used against the LGBT+ community, but in Jordan, it’s not as visible.” 
3- How do you feel that the societal beliefs affect the way people deal with homosexuality in Jordan and discriminate against them socially? 
“This is a multi-layered answer: 
First of all, social beliefs, i.e. customs and traditions, play a huge role in who people deal with homosexuality. In some communities, if not most, homosexuality is not a substantial “life choice” and only revolve around sexuality. There are expectations from our community and society towards us, roles that we have to fulfill, like marriage and having children. Homosexuality simply doesn’t exist within this context, therefore whoever “chose” to deteriorate from this norm will be discriminated against because they refuse to follow customs and traditions and choose to challenge the norm.
Secondly, when it comes to men, our (Jordanian) society, mostly, views homosexuality when it comes to playing a passive role. Which means you “choose” to play the woman’s role in the courtship of homosexuality, which is looked down upon. While men who play active roles are not “real homosexuals” cause they are practicing being “men” or “manhood” which their “natural state”. 
Our societies are deeply rooted in patriarchy, which means being a woman or feminine in our society is looked-down-upon because they view it that you’re basically playing a passive role. While women who adopt “man values” or masculine attitude, gain more respect cause this person is not conforming to patriarchy. There is an article published in My.Kali’s identity issue called, “Mach men only: No space for Femininity in Jordan’s LGBT+ community” might help you understand a bit more or add another dimension to the conversation.

For women, there’s often that debate of who have it easier gay men or gay women… women, in general, are objectified and sexualized (as stated previously). So women are encouraged to hide behind doors, lock rooms, and remain more private, which could offer a safe space to them. Also, for women, it’s different, as anything that has to do with sexuality is limited, controlled and should be repressed. It’s also connected to honor, which could mean endangering the individual and limiting them. This counteracts or solves with the point mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. Gay women face what all women in our societies face: forced and arranged marriages, carrying the family’s honor on their shoulder, and playing a passive role in our societies. In some cases, when their orientation is exposed, they could face “corrective rape”; which is when an individual raped because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The common intended consequence of the rape, as seen by the perpetrator, is to turn the person heterosexual or to enforce conformity with gender stereotypes. “

 

 


 

 

Here is a  Google Form that I sent to about 60 Jordanians, of various genders and ages. Some were family members, some were Jordanian students and others were neighbors. The survey was aimed to answer the question of, “Are members of the LGBTQ+ community accepted in Jordan?”. I chose to send this to all these people in my community to showcase the public opinion of Jordanians as a whole body.

 

Below are the results of the most summative question on this form.

 

 

 


 

 

Personal Statement:

 

One thing that must be made clear on my behalf is that Jordanians do not bash nor commit acts of violence against the LGBT+ community normally. The question at hand is a question of belief and ethical philosophy, and is not to be confused with tangible application. As I worked on this project and read more and more about the topic, I realized that I might be putting my own people under strict scrutiny. Later, I found that this might be the only way for me to provoke the change I want to see in my community.  We must make our community a safer place for everyone, disregarding their sexuality or gender identity.

Reading articles like the MyKali article about homosexual relationships in the Middle East made me even more determined to raise awareness about the situation. The editor that I interviewed wrote, “we’ve learned to adapt to our societies and we’ve learned how to function in the system.” This quotation helped me contextualize the mass of the indifference of the society to these individual’s struggles and the mass of change that must happen when it comes to the firsthand experiences of LGBTQ+ people in our community.

My research has led me to think of how the prevailing homophobia in areas such as Jordan can make it especially hard for such identities to even exist. Also, many claim that it is Islam that pushes for the discrimination against homosexual people. But in fact, “There is a strong relationship between a country’s religiosity and opinions about homosexuality.There is far less acceptance of homosexuality in countries where -any- religion is central to people’s lives – measured by whether they consider religion to be very important, whether they believe it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral, and whether they pray at least once a day,” The Global Divide

Another factor that must be taken into consideration when discussing views on homosexuality, is the instability of nations politically, socially, and economically; even if the relationship is not as evident. Another finding of my research is that the LGBT community is only prone to an increase in discrimination due to the current rising instability of the nation. As Mona Alami spoke of how societal standards in Jordan go hand in hand with the discrimination in Jordanian policies in her article. I have also received remarks stating that Jordan, and the Arab world generally, has a long way of modernization to go; implying lack of progression and backwardness. I would like to make mention of a historical phenomenon that lead the Middle East to become the way it is now. The colonization of the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) had set the countries back in terms of both modernization and industrialization. This research paper discusses ‘Homosexuality as a cultural battleground in the Middle East’ through the postcolonial lens.

In the legal scope of things, I have made the argument above that Jordan does not explicitly criminalize homosexuality in its penal code anymore. But Jordan is guilty of having “vaguely defined criminal acts so as to have homosexual interactions fall within their scope,” Ferchichi. This means that if a case of homosexual conduct is taken to court, the judge could rule and back his ruling with articles that homosexual conduct may fall into, but not mention explicitly. Not to mention, that Jordan fails to include sexuality in its articles of justice and equality between all of its citizens.

 

Call for Action:

 

As the youth of today’s world, we must alter and reform the inequalities we see every day. We must have the courage to speak and scrutinize with no one to constrain us. In this case, I have attempted to help people recognize the problem present, but what I strongly hope is that respective action is taken to reconstruct the current situation.  I also note with deep concern that none of the factors that led to the overlaying homophobia in the Jordanian community actually justify it. Therefore, I strongly urge the youth in Jordan to start with self-awareness and understanding of the social construct of gender. I then call for the widespread campaigns of normalization of the concept of homosexuality as a whole; through schools, the arts, or governmental demands. We must take our knowledge and utilize it to modify the ill-mindsets in our society. 

 

 

Works Cited: 

  1. Alami, Mona. “Jordan’s LGBT Community .” IPS, ipsnews.net/2014/08/jordans-lgbt-community-fears-greater-intolerance/
  2. “Constitution.” مجلس الأمة, www.parliament.jo/en/node/150#ch1.
  3. Dalacoura, Katerina (2014) Homosexuality as cultural battleground in the Middle East: culture and postcolonial international theory. Third World Quarterly, 35 (7). pp. 1290-1306. ISSN 0143- 6597 http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/56822/
  4. “How Can LGBTQ Relationships Work in the Middle East?” Medium, My.Kali Magazine, 12 Feb. 2017, https://medium.com/my-kali-magazine/how-can-lgbtq-relationships-work-in-the-middle-east-7812e842de1d
  5. “Macho Men Only: No Space For Femininity In Jordan’s LGBT+ Community.” My Kali, 15 Jan. 2018, storage.googleapis.com/qurium/mykalimag.com/en-2018-01-11-macho-men-only-%E2%80%8Bno-space-for-femininity-in-jordans-lgbt-community.html
  6. “The Global Divide on Homosexuality.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, 4 June 2013, pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-global-divide-on-homosexuality/
  7. The Penal Code for the Year 1960, http://www.ahtnc.org.jo/sites/default/files/penal_code.pdf 
  8.  W., (2011), Law and Homosexuality: Survey and Analysis of Legislation Across the Arab World. Working Paper prepared for the Middle East and North Africa Consultation of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, 27-29 July 2011. http://bibliobase.sermais.pt:8008/BiblioNET/upload/PDF/0576.pdf
Share this project
COMMENTS: 69
  1. April 26, 2018 by Samura Jamjoom

    Great Project!

    • April 26, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you for this!

  2. April 26, 2018 by Ahmad

    I enjoyed reading this research project, specially the lenses that you used to describe the situation of homosexual people in Jordan. However, if you would have added how religion is against the idea of homosexuality because that is one of the major factors that limit Arab-Muslims in Jordan to have peace with homosexuals.

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you for your feedback!

  3. April 26, 2018 by Leen Shapsough

    I enjoyed reading this article because it deals with a very sensitive topic religiously and culturally. I think this is the type of article that should take the role of spreading awareness among similarly strict cultures as Jordan and the Middle East in General.

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks so much for your comment!

  4. April 26, 2018 by Mike Jail

    Coming from someone who has no idea about the Middle East, this was really informational! Great job!

    • April 26, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks for reading!

  5. April 26, 2018 by Ameera

    Wow! I’m so impressed by your project and it is very informative:) Really enjoyed reading it!!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you!!

  6. April 26, 2018 by Sama Alsoub

    Honestly, this is one of the best projects about one of the controversial issues that we deal in, especially in Jordan. I am very impressed and amazed by this great project. This project should definitely win! Great job Banah!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks so much for your support!!

  7. April 26, 2018 by Tara Shawwa

    This is an issue that had needed to be addressed and spoken about and you have done an amazing job in talking about all the issues and problems that are happening in Jordan. Amazing job!!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks for all the support Tara!

  8. April 26, 2018 by Katya King

    Such a beautiful project that touches brilliantly on the inequality in the Middle East! fantastic job!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you for your beautiful words Katya!

  9. April 26, 2018 by Marisa Natarajan

    This is an amazing project Banah! I had no idea about the nuances of LBGTQ acceptance in Jordan. Does this apply to the rest of the Middle East?

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you Marisa! I think that to a certain extent it does apply to the rest of the Middle East, but keeping in mind that there will be a difference in policy and practical application while cultural consensus on the topic is a commonality.

  10. April 26, 2018 by Hannah Szeto

    This is an outstanding project that tackles a sensitive issue in the community! Thank you for speaking out about this controversial topic and inspiring real discussion!!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you for your kind comment Hannah!!

  11. April 26, 2018 by Abdullah Abuomar

    Great work, Banah! I loved how you approached this issue by discussing the Mashrou’ Laila band and I liked the interview!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much Abdullah!

  12. April 26, 2018 by Alison.Meizels

    Banah, this is an amazing and informative project. I could tell you were emotionally invested in the topic, and as someone who doesn’t have much knowledge about the culture of the Middle East, I came away feeling personally invested as well. Great work!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much Alison, I appreciate your comment!

  13. April 27, 2018 by Miza A. Ridzuan

    This project is incredible. As someone who’s lived most of their life in the Middle East, I know how homosexuality is a very taboo subject and looked down upon. I love reading this and hearing you talk about it – raising awareness about this in the Middle East must have taken courage, especially as you sent your survey to your community, but I’m very glad you did it!

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much Miza, this means a lot!

  14. April 27, 2018 by Sara.Hewitt

    This page is fantastic, Banah! I learned so much about Jordanian customs, and I especially enjoyed your personal statement. Regarding your call to action: is there anything that you believe I, or other international activists, can do to help the LGBTQ+ community in Jordan?

    • April 27, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much Sara! I think the most helpful thing is continuing to normalize homosexuality and conveying that normalization through media.

  15. April 27, 2018 by Berta johnson

    This is the best project I have ever seen, it synthesizes the reality of our issues. Thank you!!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks for reading Berta!!

  16. April 27, 2018 by Kayla Hansen

    Even away from the Middle East, we still have a judging society, I think this made me think more about how much acceptance we should give to others in the community
    Thank you so much!!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Well said, Kayla! Thank you for your comment.

  17. April 27, 2018 by Charlotte.Tenebrini Steckart

    Great work! I loved the interview you got and am very impressed with all of your research.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much, Charlotte!!

  18. April 27, 2018 by Savannah J

    Wow! This is absolutely wonderful. You have done great research and you brought it all together with your personal statement. Great work

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you Savannah, means a lot!

  19. April 27, 2018 by Sara K.

    I’m not a big supporter of LGBTQ but I appreciate the aim of this article and I value your opinion, Banah!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks Sara!!

  20. April 27, 2018 by Ali khamis

    Great work, I’m amazed!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you sir!

  21. April 27, 2018 by Rawad

    Spectacular

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks!

  22. April 27, 2018 by Banan

    Omg Banah I’m so proud of you!!.its really important to talk about the LGBT+ Life in the Middle East.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks, Banan!!

  23. April 27, 2018 by Matti Horne

    This is such a great project!! I loved reading your interview with the magazine editor.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you!!

  24. April 27, 2018 by Max

    Your project is very articulate!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you!

  25. April 27, 2018 by April carter

    Preach! I am so proud to see the young generations talk about such topics and show how much they care about it. This is done so professionally and very well. I see how much effort you put in this project.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you, April!!

  26. April 27, 2018 by Claire Budzik

    This is great! Amazing job tackling an important but difficult topic–you should be proud 🙂

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much Claire!

  27. April 27, 2018 by Julia Huds

    One of the greatest projects that push for change!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you Julia!

  28. April 28, 2018 by Farah

    Loveed reading it …great one !!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thanks Farah!

  29. April 28, 2018 by daleen saqer

    great work banah ! keep it up !!

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you Daleen!

  30. April 28, 2018 by Omar Abdelaal

    You’ve put in great effort mashAllah. Indeed it is powerful conduct to see someone commit themselve to some work and finish strong.
    You bring up a topic that faces controversy in the Arab world. Jordan, a country that is popularly Muslim, does not agree with homosexuality. The reasons are due to religion and culture, culture being tied to religion and vice versa. In the opinion of many, homosexuality has not been scientifically proven, and therefore sort of lacks the basis in justifying its cause. Some may argue that it’s not natural for someone to like the same sex, and in doing so attempt to justify that is it natural and not a choice. For this reason, it can be seen as a questioning choice so to say. There must be a reason why for the presence of females and males in the world ever since prophet Adam. And since Islam is the religion that Jordan runs by, as mentioned on the Jordanian US embassy page, “Jordan is a tolerant, Islamic state that welcomes all religions,” there should be some values respected here. That does not mean you oppress everyone who goes against you. For Jordan is one of the regions most stable countries in the area of Muslims and Christians having stable and tolerable relationships that it ever seems to be a problem. In comparison to places like Saudi Arabia where a strict way of life is present, or in Egypt where inhumane terrorists blow up churches; Jordan’s tolerance between its people is amongst the best in the Middle East. Now, since Jordan is an Islamic state, do you not think it’s values should be respected? Since being gay in the US is allowed, they are free to practice it there. In Jordan, shouldn’t it be allowed to convince people being gay is not acceptable? Please do recognize the word convince is used instead of force. As a Muslim talking to a Muslim, there is the example of the people of Lut. They were warned. Here are verses to be exact:
    The people of Lut rejected (his) warning. We sent against them a violent Tornado with showers of stones, (which destroyed them), except Lut’s household: them We delivered by early Dawn,- As a Grace from Us: thus do We reward those who give thanks. And (Lut) did warn them of Our Punishment, but they disputed about the Warning. (Surat al-Qamar:, 33-36)

    Therefore, it is agreed that Islam does not agree with homosexuality -and Jordan being an Islamic state, being gay is not allowed here.
    Again, you’ve put in great work in finishing a project. Yet, normalizing something that is not allowed in a country like Jordan is going against what the country advocates for.

    • April 29, 2018 by Harry Shi

      I disagree. First, there is a very strong correlation between biology and sexual orientation. According to a report titled “Sexual Orientation and Adolescents” published by American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence, exports overwhelmingly favor biological theories for explaining the causes of sexual orientation, which involve genetic factors, the early uterine environment, and brain structure. Also, Scientific American has found cross-cultural evidence for the genetics of homosexuality: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cross-cultural-evidence-for-the-genetics-of-homosexuality/

      The problem is not because homosexuality is not scientifically proven, it is because you are so indoctrinated by religion that you willfully ignore scientific evidence. You care so much about what you believe in that you cannot accept the truth or why your belief is inapplicable to our modern societies.

      More importantly, the etiology of homosexuality, biological or otherwise, should have no bearing on gay individuals’ right to equality. You used a cultural relativist argument to justify discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in Jordan. You invite us to follow this kind of reasoning:

      1. Different societies have different understandings of homosexuality. The understanding of homosexuality of a particular society determines what is right or wrong to do within that society.
      2. There’s no objective standard to judge other cultures or their understandings of homosexuality.
      3. The US outlaw discrimination against gay people, while Jordan allows for such discrimination.
      4. Therefore, discrimination against gay people is neither objectively right or objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture.

      However, this argument is invalid, and I will refute it using ethicist James Rachels’ reasoning in the Element of Moral Philosophy. The premise of your argument does not logically follow the conclusion. The premise concerns what people believe—in some societies, people believe one thing; in other societies, people believe something else. The conclusion, however, concerns what really is the case. Does it follow, from the mere fact that the US and Jorden disagree, that there is no objective truth in the matter of discrimination against gay people? No, it does not follow; it could be that discrimination is objectively wrong, and one of the countries (Jordan) is simply mistaken.

      To make the point clearer, consider a different matter. In some societies, people believe the earth is flat. In other societies, such as our own, people believe that the earth is a sphere. Does it follow, from the mere fact that people disagree, that there is no “objective truth” in geography? Of course not; we would never draw such a conclusion, because we realize that the members of some societies might simply be wrong. Your cultural differences argument is simply flawed.

      The implication of your argument is dangerous and ultimately self-destructive. If we agree with your argument, we can no longer say the customs of some other societies are morally inferior to our own. For example, in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Chinese government slaughtered hundreds of peaceful protestors. But now we cannot condemn such practice simply because the legal code regarding political oppression in China is simply different than ours. By the same token, if we agree with your argument, discrimination against gay people can be immune from criticism.

      Also, your argument implies that we cannot criticize the code of our own society. If I’m a gay in Jordan, I would simply ask: Are the discrimination and brutal treatments I face in line with the cultural code of my society? Then the discrimination would always be morally permissible. Your argument bars us from seeing why our society is flawed. Ultimately, what is more significant than cultural codes is human dignity. Our individual rights should not be sacrificed upon the altar of group interests.

  31. April 28, 2018 by Anas

    Phenomenal! Great work, not surprising from the hard working and tenacious scholar you are. Defy the norm and remain persistent.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you Anas!

  32. April 28, 2018 by Balqees Al-Shorman

    Amazing job Banah, you have done an amazing job researching. However, it would have been nice to voice the opinions of the other side. Writing this to a global audience might give the wrong impression about Jordan. I think it showed Jordan as a semi-barbaric or nomadic country and that sort of fit into the stereotypical image of us. Comment’s like Omar’s show the reasons an logic for the way things are and demonstrate that it is not “backwardness” but an actual belief. I do belief people must not be rejected and abused for their identities but that does not mean you can force a society to accept them.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Hey Balqees,
      My intention through this project was in no way to “give the wrong impression about Jordan”. I stated the way Jordanians view the topic, as a society and as a legislative power. I understand how the othering of people due to their sexual orientation might stem from cultural and religious beliefs, but I also believe there must be a change in the way we think. I do not think that the justification of such exclusive attitudes should be accepted in any way.
      Thanks for your comment!

  33. April 29, 2018 by Ashley Sammann

    This is a great project! Living in liberal Los Angeles where homosexuality is widely accepted and gender is seen as a spectrum, I find myself forgetting that the rest of the world is not necessarily in the same place regarding acceptance and normalcy. Your project really opened my eyes to Jordanian culture and reminded me how important it is to not get sucked into a “bubble” of ignorance. I especially enjoyed your personal statement – it was so powerful for you to acknowledge your biases and share your own personal experiences.

    • April 29, 2018 by Banah.Khamis

      Thank you so much for your comment, Ashley! I find it really important for us to recognize the various rates at which our societies progress.

  34. April 30, 2018 by Haley Kost

    Wonderful self-reflection and nuanced research. I admire your ability to engage with multiple facets and perspectives of the LGBTG+ experience in Jordan, as well as look to solutions and ways to spread awareness and understanding in your community and beyond. You are truly an agent of change in your community!

  35. May 01, 2018 by Madeline.Burke

    Banah, this project is amazing! I love how you went into depth about not only the legislative disadvantages of being gay in Jordan but also the social connotations. Very well done!

  36. May 03, 2018 by Kathleen Ralf

    Wow! Banah this is amazing work! So cool to see how you have taken the issues of Human Rights into the next semester in Gender Studies. I love how you are always trying to empower those who are powerless. And I so appreciate your critical eye on issues that face your country. It is so important for us to love our homes, but also look to see how we can improve the lives of those living in our areas. Keep speaking out on the things that are important to you. 🙂

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