One Year of Bekhsoos

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I almost can’t believe it’s been a year already. I will not bother you with the tour-de-force that Bekhsoos has become in our movement. I will not tell you how much I love this team, the pride I feel in every one of them, how they have transformed into powerful warriors, how kind and loving they are of each other, what an honor it is to work with them week in and week out. I am always amazed at the energy levels of the Bekhsoos team. Every issue exhausts us – as you can imagine would be the effect of publishing 10-15 stories in different languages every week. The team grows and changes but its pillars are always there because its pillars are not people but ideas and beliefs.

You are relentless, my Bekhsoos friends, you are fearless and unbending and invincible, and you are changing the world. Follow me through some of my personal favorites of Bekhsoos this past year:

September 2009, we kick off the new Bekhsoos with The Evolution of Us, soon after we create a Homophobe of the Month category and award our first honor to Basma Al Nosour. Aphrodite makes her debut with ليلة حب… و لا شيء غير ذلك and, a year later, she is the number one Bekhsoos writer with over 35 articles. Brilliant Ma7ada, contributes her first piece to Bekhsoos and has us all mesmerized with her simple yet powerful Arabic style. We make it through September with 36 articles and our readers, critics, and selves are wondering: can we really make this happen? Publish Bekhsoos every week?

October 2009, Shakibé appears! The popular dyke character turns into a weekly comic with awkward, hilarious, serious, and heartbreaking situations from her life. Lynn writes from (What Doesn’t Feel Like) the Margins of Arab Feminisms and inspires us to assert our radical feminist framework. The Fantastic Homosexual tells a tale of rape at the age of 14 and we understand that we must bring gay men’s stories into Bekhsoos too.

November 2009, we create an Facebook campaign for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It spreads like wildfire and thousands of users join the action. In response to a newspaper article, I write “Pink Dollar” vs. “Purple Lira” and the journalist responds. It will happen again 10 months later.

December 2009, Gholam Abi Nawas joins the team with terrific radical queer writings in Arabic. Joelle writes her best feature yet on the ground-breaking Batroun ruling against Article 534. Kim also outdoes herself with an insightful feature on the secrets we carry: Stories of Molestation, which appears in two parts. Tia sends us لله يا محسنات، بدّي مثليّات one of many fantastic Aswat contributions to come.

January 2010, we publish one special issue that looks back at 10 years of LGBT activism in Lebanon. It breaks all our records to date, and the people’s favorite is Tawaqou3at Shakibé “Hayek” 2010. Our youngest contributor ever (16), writes Voice of the New Generation! We understand even more the importance of Bekhsoos speaking to thousands of young LGBTs in our cities. Phoenix joins Bekhsoos.

February 2010, Aphrodite writes اشتقتلّك (dedicated to me, of course) and it has everyone sappy on Valentine’s. Ran gives it a political twist with My Queer Valentine. We re-publish Pride is a Distraction because it’s so freakin powerful. The same author will come back in August with an equally powerful piece.

March 2010, Phoenix gathers a large fan base with stories from the heart in her Revolving Door column. My favorite is about the revolution. Randa becomes famous. I come back from the CSW and flame at imperialist gay agendas. Sara writes a heart-wrenching piece on Postponing Pain and Other Anecdotes. Joelle contemplates gray matters.

April 2010, theRibz joins Bekhsoos and leaves us with a cliffhanger chapter of his story every week. My favorite is Text Is A Game We Play. Shant tops herself with a Personal Queer Look At The Armenian Genocide written with S. Mir joins the team and contributes one of her funniest entries, Nefra7 Minnik! We publish a political statement by alQaws & Aswat, one of our many articles that stand with Palestine. I write a piece on Queering the Arab Feminist Movement two years after I wrote Bringing Vaginas to the Arab Feminist Dialogue. We realize the years are passing and we’re making great progress. M/M wonders What’s Being Gay Got to Do With It? She is still wondering.

May 2010, we have our most prolific month to date. Zee finally writes for Bekhsoos, and it’s a terrific piece. Mimiscule takes over as our lead cartoonist. Here’s one of her best. We cover IDAHO 2010 events in Beirut. Athena writes a beautiful letter to her mother, ماما، إنت هيك ربيتيني. We publish Truvada, the first chapter in an intense novella by Gitanes Blondes, and the highest ever rated Bekhsoos article (39 votes of 5 stars).

June 2010, shoofs wants to lick a pussy. Like she does every week, rouba diligently contributes her queer news from around the world. Our call not to stand with Zionism gets over 1,000 reads in a few days. We get an awesome submission from the Gulf.

July 2010, Zoie writes !بَكارِة مين والناس نايمين؟ All of us feel really tired and go through a demotivated few weeks. We take a break. Emcee gives us a boost.

August 2010, the team makes a terrific comeback. CL follows up her Alien article with more on asexuality. We start a Fesheh Khel’ik section. The Curious Case of the Disappearing “Tombody” questions our understandings of transgender identities (from the same author of Pride is a Distraction). An Open Letter to Joumana Haddad is shared 109 times on Facebook. Joumana Haddad replies in the comments.

September 2010, we are celebrating one whole year of Bekhsoos. It’s been a terrific journey. Thank you all for sharing it with us. Please join me in wishing us all a Happy Birthday!


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