In 2007, Meem was launched as a little lesbian support group in Lebanon. At the time, and after 4 years of trying to organize alongside a majority of gay men within the framework of LGBT public advocacy, we had understood that in order to create a strong and empowered movement, we were to create a safe space to ourselves as women first. We had also understood that for women to feel safe enough to explore, share, and experience their relationships with their sexuality, confidentiality and anonymity had to be key elements in our organizing.
Exactly two years ago today, April 19, I went to a meeting in Morocco around resource mobilization for women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa. Over 100 of the region’s top women’s rights advocates were there and it was the first time I meet them. I was extremely nervous about being an out Arab lesbian in their midst, knowing that most of them saw me as diseased or abnormal, and certainly that all of them believed I didn’t belong in a conference like theirs. My experience at that meeting, however, was life-changing [...]