Digital defenders: meet the queer activists fighting surveillance and censorship online

The physical and digital worlds are increasingly intertwined when it comes to safety; prejudices that manifest online can lead to physical harm, and marginalized communities, particularly LGBT people, are increasingly prone to security threats like surveillance and censorship. Dating apps like Grindr are being used to locate LGBT hotspots and target human rights activists that form a threat to authoritarian regimes. It’s therefore necessary that the LGBT community becomes aware of the intersection of human rights and technology.

The Everyday Racism You Encounter While Dating as a Person of Colour

As someone with an Egyptian background living in the Netherlands, I'm constantly forced to laugh off poor attempts at flirting that focus solely on my race. "Arab guys make me so horny – I hear you're all very dominant and aggressive in bed," was one example. "You’re quite handsome for a Moroccan," was another. It's clear that, for some people, having sex with me would just be another exotic experience to tick off their bucket list, like wakeboarding or salsa classes. I was curious to see if experiencing racism in the dating scene is as common as it seems to be, so I spoke to seven people of colour.

qaher harhash is the first palestinian male model

Although the fashion industry is increasingly acknowledging the power of diversity, it can still be limiting. We are finally seeing more models of color on catwalks and in magazines, there is still little space for models of Arabic, who also now face border restrictions that hamper an international career, especially in America. However, there are some hopeful exceptions. With his Israeli passport, 19-year-old Palestinian Qaher Harhash, unlike many others of his origin, is able to pass through the country's barriers. With his rare position, Qaher has made it his mission to use the catwalk as a way to increase the visibility of Palestinians globally.

This Anonymous Instagram Artist Paints a Hidden Queer Arab World

At first blush, the Instagram account of Queer Habibi isn’t so radical, or at least it shouldn’t be. There, the anonymous Arab artist posts illustrations and animations of queer people from the Middle East and North Africa being, well, queer. Men exchange flirtatious glances in a restaurant; women embrace on a car ride home. A man bearing a shirt reading “Baghdaddy” teases the viewer with his midriff. The artist’s subjects share embraces, kisses, and mundane moments of everyday LGBTQ+ life. But

Armed police storm Georgian nightclubs leading to a rave outside Parliament

Hundreds of people descended onto Tbilisi’s streets this weekend to protest heavily armed police raids on two nightclubs in Georgian capital. A rave took place in front of Parliament, and protesters demanded the resignation of the prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and the minister of internal affairs. Despite being something of an outpost on the clubbing landscape, Tbilisi has garnered recognition in the global house and techno scenes, mostly thanks to the city’s two dance music focal points

Battling Racism and Homophobia Helped This South African Artist Find His Voice

South African-born writer, actor, and singer Nakhane Touré (30) received death threats last year after he played the lead role in The Wound, a South African queer film. The film tells the story of two men who put their lives on the line for love and criticizes a tribal ritual called Ukwaluka, during which boys get circumcised and initiated into manhood. Because of this controversy in his home country, Nakhane was forced to move to London. His new album is called You Will Not Die.

What It's Like to Be Raised Gender Neutral

In April of 2016, I interviewed two parents who are raising their children gender neutral. It could be liberating, they said, to not have social expectations of children based on their sex. However, many people considered their parenting decision to be a form of unnatural indoctrination – arguing that there's simply a biological difference between men and women; that kids shouldn't be tricked into thinking they can pick and choose. Unsurprisingly, my article inspired comments like: "This is what modern child abuse looks like," and, "Another selfish parent projecting her identity issues on a child."

Meet Jazar Crew, the DJ Duo Bringing Electronic Parties to Palestine

A version of this article originally appeared on Noisey Netherlands. In a region marked by war, tensions between two opposed populations and long-standing military occupation, it’s hard to find carefree clubgoers enjoying the local music scene. But in July 2018, during a Boiler Room broadcast from the Palestinian city of Ramallah, one could see plenty of young people dancing to a set by Jazar Crew. The DJ duo made up of Ayed Fadel and Rojeh Khleif is trying to breathe new life into the regional

The Trans Clinic Run Exclusively by Trans People - YouTube

In Amsterdam’s red light district, a transgender clinic run exclusively by trans people has been operating for two years at the sex workers’ Union HQ. It caters to trans people from marginalized groups, like refugees and sex workers, but increasingly also to trans people who have grown tired of waiting for the vastly oversubscribed services offered via mainstream care. Broadly’s Bo Hanna visits the clinic to find out what state run services could learn from it.

After Beirut Pride’s Cancellation, LGBTQ+ Lebanese People Fight Back

While queer people have always faced oppression and social stigma throughout the Arab world, the past few years have marked a string of particularly frightening instances of persecution. Last year, at least 76 LGBTQ+ people were arrested after Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly gay lead singer, played a concert in Cairo where some attendees waved rainbow flags. In 2016, two lesbian teenagers were arrested in Morocco after they were photographed by a passerby while kissing on a roofto

it's hard to get a haircut in the netherlands if you have an afro

i-D Hair Week is an exploration of how our hairstyles start conversations about identity, culture and the times we live in. This article was originally published by i-D Netherlands. For Hair Week, i-D Netherlands delved into the local situation for people of color who want to keep their hair natural, and found it seriously lacking. There is a dearth of hairdressers and haircare products that are right for their hair. Amsterdam-based writers Bo Hanna and Ruby Cruden know this struggle well, and

This Is What It's Really Like to Raise a Gender Neutral Child

On a recent visit to Stockholm, I met Miranda – an LGBT-activist and mother of a two-and-a-half year old child. I use the word "child" deliberately here, because Miranda chose to raise her baby gender neutral, which means she is trying to bring it up in an environment free of gender stereotypes. It seems like a very Swedish thing to do – what with the Swedish government handing out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists to every 16-year-old in the land, and encouraging Swedish da

The Cops Banned Pride, So Istanbul’s Queers Got Stronger Than Ever

Since 2003, Istanbul Pride has stood as one of the biggest LGBTQ+ events in a region where queer people face overt oppression and social stigma. Though it is far from an ideal place to be LGBTQ+, queer people from throughout the Middle East seek refuge there due to its relatively liberal attitudes — homosexuality is legal there, and the city features a sizable LGBTQ+ cultural and social scene. Last month, it was announced that the city would move to ban Istanbul’s annual Pride celebrations for

this young moroccan designer is reclaiming his arab identity

Even though the fashion industry is increasingly acknowledging the power of diversity, the world can still be limiting for marginalized groups. There is rising Islamophobia and an amplifying cry to reject immigrants in the West. Across the world, nationalist and far-right parties have made significant electoral gains, resulting in more division and tension between population groups. Anwar Bougroug (28) studied fashion in Oslo and has decided to leave the West, recently relocating to Morocco to

Activists Aren't Backing Down After Egypt's Massive LGBTQ Crackdown

Fans of the Lebanese group Mashrou Leila show a rainbow flag at their concert in Cairo on September 22. Photo by Benno Schwinghammer/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images On September 22, Mashrou' Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly gay lead singer, played a concert in Cairo. Some who attended waved rainbow flags—an innocuous act in the West, but one that's far more political in a country like Egypt, with a deep history of anti-LGBTQ persecution. In the days that followed, seven people, including s

Young Gay Men Talk About the Dangers of Having to Hide Your Dating Life

On the night of 18th February, 17-year-old Orlando Boldewijn disappeared in the Dutch city of The Hague, after a Grindr-date he hadn't told his friends or family about. The student's body was found eight days later in a pond in the Ypenburg neighbourhood of the city. It's still uncertain what exactly happened to Orlando Boldewijn, but the case has started a conversation in the Netherlands about the safety of gay teenagers exploring their sexuality through secret meet-ups. Apps like Grindr are...

What It's Like to Be the First Person in Your Family to Go to University

All photos courtesy of the interviewees. If you're fortunate enough to be raised in a financially stable home with parents or older siblings who went to university, your options after finishing school are often fairly simple: continue straight to university, or strap on a heavy backpack and explore a distant continent. Then, upon returning home, after finding yourself via several questionable haircuts, go ahead and secure that degree. But the choice becomes considerably more complicated if no

Is This Georgian Club the New Berghain?

Much like Berlin, Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is a city shaped by its recent war history. Georgia has been involved in several wars over the last 25 years, which has caused poverty to run rampant. It seems like the youth of Tbilisi want to forget these events through dancing and fully losing themselves in local clubs, which is fueling the growth of the city's underground dance scene. Clubs like KHIDI and Mtkvarze opened in Tbilisi a few years ago, and there's the gay-friendly hangout Cafe

These Women Market Their Bar as Queer-Friendly to Keep Out Sexist Bros

The hospitality industry can be quite a macho world. As a woman working behind the bar or waiting tables you often encounter and have to deal with sexist remarks or other inappropriate and embarrassing things. Marjolein Brouwer—who set up her own bar called Bar Brå in Amsterdam two and a half years ago—knows what it's like. Marjolijn's strategy is organizing events via social media that are specifically aimed at the LGBT community.
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