Positive Lesbian Character on MTV’s “Sarah”

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“Yalle 3am titihimne fi mish 2ittihem, haida 5ayar.” That’s what Lina, played by Nada Abu Farhat, stated in reply to an accusation of homosexuality on the Lebanese drama series “Sarah” that aired recently on MTV Lebanon. Aside from the fact that the show brings up several issues regarding women, their rights and their conditions, almost covering them entirely, Sara, written by well-acknowledged Claudia Marchalian, took a stand supporting just one more cause: Lesbianism.

As you watch through the beginning of the last episode of the first season, Lina and her friend Sarah, the star of the show played by the breath-taking Cyrine Abel Nour, are accused of homosexuality by her husband. Considering the fact that Lina lives alone, her husband and his attorney figured it was smart to accuse her of being in a relationship with Sarah and that she forced her to leave her husband and family to come live with her. That was the plan so that Sarah would lose custody of her children. That implied that a woman would be denied custody of her children if she is proved to be gay. During the first minutes of the episode, it is obvious that everyone is offended by the accusations against the two women, especially Sara’s brother who becomes very defensive. Just as you start to think that the show has now proved to be disappointment, despite its earlier feminist aspects, Lina, who on the show is a known writer, calls for a press conference to clear things up.  During her moving speech, she doesn’t mention the accusation of being a lesbian as an offense but only tries to refute it. Towards the end, she addresses the husband and states that what she was accused of is not an accusation; it is a choice, a choice that she respects.

It probably won’t be useful to describe the entire scenario because those of you who watch the show, and I hope many do, already know it. Those of you who don’t will not understand it thoroughly.  This piece is just to acknowledge such a brave initiative to take a just stand regarding the issue of homosexuality on national television so openly as it probably reached thousands of Lebanese viewers or maybe even more. It was very simple, not involving the many controversial details of religion or societal norms. “Sarah” is indeed a breakthrough in Lebanese drama series, raising attention to how a woman can suffer in Lebanon because of absolutely anything, from constitutional laws to merciless men (and women). It is a serious show, with eminent talented actors, a distinguished writer, and a talented crew. “Sarah” went beyond what we were used to from most commercial Lebanese series, as it took many stands and supported many causes. Television is such a strong part of the media that can reach out to a vast audience in a very entertaining way; it is about time we start using it efficiently in Lebanon. Hopefully, other  writers would consider involving Lebanese women’s issues progressively in their scripts to, hopefully, start making a change in the rigid minds of a huge segment of our society. I nominate “Sarah” for a “Murex D’or” and to Claudia Marchalian and Nada Abu Farhat: Chapeau!

Contributed by Farah Shamas

Guest Contributor

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