July 21, 2016
Jordan-based LGBTQ webzine faces lawsuits and death threats
by Taylor Sperry
Lawsuits and death threats have been volleyed at Jordan-based LGBQT webzine My.Kali, which has just released its first Arabic-language issue in the May/June 2016 edition.
My.Kali went live in 2007 and has traditionally published its “dialogue surrounding LGBQT issues” exclusively in English, part of an effort to avoid backlash from the community at large, which remains overwhelmingly conservative.
One of My.Kali’s founders, Khalid Abdel-Hadi, told Kaitlyn Hayes at PinkNews that when he initially started the magazine, he “was trying not to be noticed in Jordanian society for fear of backlash . . . The change came after so many gay people, who can only read Arabic, wanted us to do an Arabic edition.”
“We’re not challenging religion,” he said in another interview. “On the contrary, we’re challenging the stereotype. We just want an inclusive, non-discriminatory society and we want to be accepted as not rebelling against our religions.”
Still, true to his fears, organizations throughout the Middle East have accused My.Kali of “implementing homosexuality,” promoting a “foreign agenda,” and “[undermining] the traditions and culture of Jordanian society.”
In a statement released on the My.Kali website, the organization emphasizes its intention to offer a platform for marginalized voices and to “convey a sense of belonging and pride in Jordanian identity.”
Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.