25 May 2010

Waqfet Banat - Personal Narrative

Cover Image of Waqfet Banat (taken from Aswat's website)

There was a lot of commotion and excitement today at Aswat - Palestinian Gay Women's office. "Waqfet Banat - Personal Narrative" has just arrived from the printing house. A small book, with a colorful cover picture, inviting the reader to the personal, often guarded, private spaces of Palestinian lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex women (LBTQI).

The stories are corageuos narratives of individual women who have had to deal not only with the rejection of their families and communities, but with the very journey of self-discovery. While some celebrate their very identities, others describe the all-too-painful rejections they have had to encounter time and again. Some have emerged stronger and are able to live their lives being openly themselves, while others have been broken and have to lead a double life. A few were not strong enough (how strong can one be?!) and succumbed under the weight of patriarchal, religious, or societal oppression.

I want to personally thank the women of Aswat who worked so hard on collecting, translating, editing and making available this important book. I also want to thank the women who contributed the narratives: your strength and courage are an inspiration to me and I feel privileged to be part of your world. Thank you for opening your hearts and sharing with me your most personal experiences, thoughts, pains, losses and loves.

"Waqfet Banat" is an important contribution to Palestinian literature on sexual identity, and I believe it has the potential of changing perceptions among the public. But most importantly, I hope it reaches the hands of parents of young women on their journey of self-discovery, as family acceptance is a major thread running through almost all the narratives.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a closer glimpse and a deeper understanding of sexual identity and its intricate interrelation to patriarchal oppression and societal norms.

The book is available in Arabic and English. To order a copy, please visit Aswat's website at www.aswatgroup.org.

Cover Image from Waqfet Banat (taken from Aswat's website)

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