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Morocco's First Out Gay Writer Abdellah Taïa Speaks Out

Taia

In 2009, Abdellah Taïa wrote to his family two years after he became the first Moroccan writer to come out as gay in an interview with the Moroccan magazine Telquel. As the journal Asymptote notes, "Morocco's biggest-selling newspaper denounced him, and many of the country's bloggers decried him, saying he should be stoned."

Wrote Taïa in 'Homosexuality Explained to My Mother':

I know I am scandalous. To you. And to those around you: neighbors, colleagues, friends, mothers-in-law... I know to what degree I'm involuntarily causing you harm, giving you worry. I expose myself by signing my real first name and my real last name. And I expose you along with me. I drag you along on this adventure, which is just the beginning for me and for people like me: To exist, finally! To come out of the shadows, head held high! To tell the truth, my truth! To be: Abdellah. To be: Taïa. To be both. Alone. Yet not alone at the same time.

Beyond my homosexuality, which I proudly claim, I know that what surprises and scares you is that I elude you: I am the same, thin as I've always been, with the same eternal baby face; yet I am no longer the same. You no longer recognize me, and you tell yourselves: "Where does he get those bizarre ideas? Where does he get the nerve? We didn't raise him like that... And not only does he talk about sexuality publicly—no, no, that's not enough for him—he also talks of homosexuality, politics, freedom... Who does he take himself for?"

Taïa's 2009 essay excerpted above has been published in English translation for the first time HERE by Asymptote, which also has an interview with him HERE.

(photo jeremy stigter / asymptote)

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Comments

  1. @Johnnie For me, what I don't like about his writings and what irks me is the hint of incest involved in it. And though to some incest might appear fine but they should realise that the way in which he portrays it doesn't even seem to be consensual. He likes his elder brother's presence, he loves to sleep close to him, he likes his masculine scent...I mean really? Dude why do you need to tell all these to us when your brother is neither feeling this way nor comfortable about how you feel about him and to top that the face that by writing such things your're also jeopardizing his privacy and the world he wants to create for himself. It's good, brave and commendable that you're coming out to people, talking about your sexuality but then at least you being a part of the world you belong should also realise what it is like to be there. So, be proud, be happy and say all what you want but at least let your brother live in peace too with the dignity that he seeks.

    Posted by: David | Jul 17, 2012 2:36:02 AM


  2. @Johnnie For me, what I don't like about his writings and what irks me is the hint of incest involved in it. And though to some incest might appear fine but they should realise that the way in which he portrays it doesn't even seem to be consensual. He likes his elder brother's presence, he loves to sleep close to him, he likes his masculine scent...I mean really? Dude why do you need to tell all these to us when your brother is neither feeling this way nor comfortable about how you feel about him and to top that the face that by writing such things your're also jeopardizing his privacy and the world he wants to create for himself. It's good, brave and commendable that you're coming out to people, talking about your sexuality but then at least you being a part of the world you belong should also realise what it is like to be there. So, be proud, be happy and say all what you want but at least let your brother live in peace too with the dignity that he seeks.

    Posted by: David | Jul 17, 2012 2:36:39 AM


  3. @David I totally agree with you!
    @Rick What have women done to you? Poor puppy! :(

    Posted by: John | Jul 17, 2012 5:42:17 AM


  4. I am proud of Abellah Taia anhis stanfor what is right. I hope that other young people in Morrocco an other Moslem countries are able to draw strength from His courage.

    Posted by: Thomas Skayhan | Jul 17, 2012 10:20:26 AM


  5. Alright, enough of the 'privileged' white Americans [or it's various variations like 'privileged' white male] BS. MOST [vast majority] of white men and boys in America or elsewhere are not 'privileged'. This is certainly true in the U.S. where affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws over the past half century actually legally discriminate AGAINST white men and boys. I'm a white male, and I'm certainly not 'privileged', and absolutely don't come from a privileged socioeconomic background.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 17, 2012 10:24:23 AM


  6. BTW David R,

    Abdellah actually appears to me to be *gasp* a Caucasian male. Yes, many North Africans are Caucasian. It's even common to see light color eyes and hair.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 17, 2012 10:27:09 AM


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