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Coming out in the Middle East

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Hey everyone,

With LGBTQ related issues being swept under the carpet in this region, how would you feel about coming out of the closet to your family and peers? Have you already? .

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  • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
    Comment

    The thought of coming out to my family makes me ill. Does anyone else feel the same way? At the same time I feel guilty about not being true to myself. I live in constant fear and guilt. My parents are too conservative to ever accept who I really am.

    • 17-24_m_w_h2_f1
      Advice

      I don't think you should feel the urge of coming out.

      Well, the most important things is to be self satisfied with you really are, without any negative thoughts of guilt. Second, and secondary thing, is compromising this very private thing. If your parents are cons, it doesn't make sense to tell them! I mean, it's very private thing, and parents have nothing to do about what do you really do on bed, I reckon.

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    • Default-avatar
      Advice

      Reem, do not feel guilty at all. This is who you are, and if you parents cannot understand and would not understand, then you will just have to keep it to yourself. There's no shame in being different.

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    • 25-34_f_w_h2_f3
      Advice

      i agree with zidan
      sexuality is a very personal matter
      you should not feel guilty or pressure to tell your parents
      this is your personal life
      live it as you want
      live it the way that makes you happy
      play by your own rules

      dont wait 4 anyone blessing for anything u do
      you are who you are
      :)

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    • 17-24_f_w_h1_f1
      Comment

      you are what you are and you should be very proud of it. your parents accepting you for this would be a plus but not accepting you wont change anything so fuck it.

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  • I haven't come out to my family, and I don't think I will. I like what Psyfer said about not ever having to feel guilty, but it's easier said than done.

    I mean, the very mention of the word 'gay' has been reciprocated by homophobic statements by even the most liberal of my friends and family, which probably explains why I still don't feel the need to come out. Not yet anyway.

    Reply to MadameOvary
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    Anonymous
    Comment

    It's hard and I don't think I'm going to come out to my family soon. Maybe close open-minded friends, in the not-so-near future. However, I will remain closeted for now because I am so worried that they will reject me and all this shame to the family sh*t. So I am travelling abroad soon to go to university in Europe so I will most probably leave it this way for now. I just can't handle the consequences of coming out right now.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f2
    Experience

    I recently came out to a close friend of mine. I'm glad I did, it just feels better now that she knows who I really am instead of hiding myself.

    Reply to Awktopus
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  • 17-24_m_w_h3_f1
    Advice

    Guys, if you really satisfy yourself the way you're, it's not bad to compromise a little on the social side to sustain important relations, family for instance.

    Reply to Amadeus
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  • Default-avatar
    Advice

    The main thing is to come out to yourself....there are people who still live in denial or will become married and even more unhappy. By taking the step to accept yourself - that is more important then having you mom, dad or sister, brother know

    • 12-16_m_b_h3_f4
      Experience

      Momo, YES! Coming out to myself was more difficult than coming out to anyone else in my life. Very glad you brought this up.

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  • 35-50_m_w_h1_f3
    Comment

    Hello Decent Blog! Finally....
    IMPORTANT ISSUE this, Coming out business. Well I came out to myself around 15 years ago and to the world in stages. Started with close friends I had and knew would not lose if I told. Little did I know that they were too close a bunch and told each other before I could tell the rest. When I did? The answer was "Oh we KNEW you silly man! We've ALWAYS known!" Which was a kind of a damper to my well rehearsed dramatic Finale scene (with tears and tissues and all). Anticlimax of the century!
    Then came the big Outing....PARENTS
    Somehow for a son, mothers always know. In my case and many other people I've spoken to's case Mothers Know, but in Denial. Each due to their own reasons. Again dramatic scene with tears and all but transpired to a very Difficult phase in my relationship with my family. Especially because I am the eldest.
    That lasted until it became the "status Quo". A Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy became the nature of the relationship with them and now after 12 years of telling them, it has become normal.

    NO ONE should attempt to come out without first having the following in my opinion:
    1. Financial Independence from Family means (A controlling facet of Middle Eastern Patriarchal Families, You act as I tell you, or I shall make you Poor!)
    2. Emotional support through friends and/or well-educated and well-read family members.
    3. Understanding that this may cause painful rifts that may never heal between the people you love most

    So if you're ready with the above, and still feel the urge to purge your identity onto the people around you, then go ahead! There are then lots of emotional support groups and therapists. I personally know a Palestinian Psychiatrist that works with this issue in the more closed and sexually repressed communities in the West Bank. Just be wise, as one of the first things I had to endure with my family, is be taken to doctors to be "treated" from my mental illness. Only to go there and argue against the doctor's argument in his own language and show his inability to "Treat" as he is obviously untrained to my family. I was blessed with a degree of verbosity and education which allowed me to do that. I did not argue against seeing Doctors, I argued with doctors. I remember what fun it was to show them off as Idiots...ESPECIALLY once when this ridiculous woman took the Religious card out and played it in my face saying "Don't you feel you're doing an abomination against God?"

    My answer to her was "I did not know that when you are trained in Psychology, you'd need certification from the Azhar University in Cairo Madame! Are you sure your unveiled head was acceptable in those environs? I am not here for a crash course in Religion 101. I was told this was a Psychiatric clinic by my family! I am writing your name in a letter to the American Psychiatric Association. Perhaps they can shed light on the reasons why your American Certification on the Wall here was given knowing that you are using religion to depress me more about a trait that they clearly recognize as Natural!"

    She kicked me out! LOL

    and this is how I cancelled all of the doctors out one by one, until none would agree to see me. Finally, the mind against mind fight was won to my side.

    Basically, Arm yourself with a brain that is unlike others. Knowledge that is parallel to few, and love yourself once you're out to yourself. Respect your wishes as the wishes that even god sanctioned, if misinterpreted by the clerics. Plus, don't forget to forgive society. For they don't have your beauty of soul sometimes nor your strength and knowledge.

    Peace everyone!

    W

    • 51-65_f_f_h1_f3
      Comment

      Wanas, thanks a million for sharing this and for the helpful tips! I respect you so much for having the courage to do what you did.

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    • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
      Comment

      SWEETLY DONE WANAS!!...u played the doc well.lol...i wish am out n living my life the way i want with whom i want,but no! Am still so young to break up(cause that's the scenario am expecting here!!) with my family and live on my own and defiantly not in my country i cant so i got to do lots of stuff before i can manage to come out n actually make out her on my own.

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    • Sorry RonZ that being apart from your family is the first scenario that comes to your head. I'm sure many here can relate to that. It's such a tough experience to have to face at a young age. Stay strong and try to be yourself as much as possible without giving too much away.

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    • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
      Comment

      i did,, and they didnt accepted ,, iam not sorry for that cuz i cant live with the lies and maskes,,but its choice between being myself and comeing out and may lose many things and live with lining life ,and i did chose the important.

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    • 12-16_m_b_h3_f4
      Experience

      You did the right thing. I only wish I can have the courage to do the same one day, regardless of whether or not they would accept me. Sick of living a lie!

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    • Default-avatar
      Comment

      I i am dreaming of the day when Middle East will not be homophobic anymore!!keep up and hope for the better

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    • 17-24_f_w_h3_f1
      Comment

      Me too

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  • 25-34_m_w_h1_f4
    Experience

    not out yet. maybe soon. family comes first.

    Reply to 6a3miya
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  • 17-24_f_w_h2_f1
    Comment

    I don't think I'll ever come to my family, at least my mother.. My father passed many years ago so I live only with her.. It'd only cause her pain and suffering, and she comes first.. The only really headache thing is that she keeps on telling me that she wants to carry my children, see me married with a decent man, and I have to come up with things to take her mind off of that topic. Guess I'll travel outside as soon as I can to get away from these lies.

    Reply to BlackSun
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  • My experience in the Middle East as a somewhat-openly gay westerner...

    I've only been here three months (before that I was in Turkey for 2 1/2 years), and I'm out to almost everyone in my office, which is admittedly small and made up of other westerners. I've decided it's neither essential nor wise to come out to the Arab workers in the company, as they actually have all the control (over residence permits, exit visas, salaries).

    But, when I go out and socialise with friends, I pretty much come out to everyone I meet, regardless of their nationality. Let me clarify this statement - when I say "go out", I mean to some kind of disco, restaurant or house party. I don't talk about my sexuality with anyone who is a native of this country where I live and work. Why not? Well, I really don't think my position would stay secure if this knowledge was known by someone in a position to do something about it. But, I knew that before I came here, so I had to accept that before I arrived.

    I've been out to my family in my homeland for about eight years now, and I'm very fortunate to have an open and wonderful, loving family :)

    So why am I posting here? Just to add another voice, to reflect what is happening to someone who lives in the M.E. but isn't actually a native.....I'm out to a degree, but compared to the life I had back home (which I chose to leave, I know), I am now in a semi-closeted exsistance.
    Some days, I want soooooooooooooooooo badly to tell a local about my identity, because I believe that it is sometimes easier to accept differences that come from someone who is already quite different from you (in this case, me being a foreigner). My hope would be that, in coming out to someone who lives here, and (hopefully) by exposing them to a real gay person, that in the future, if perhaps their brother or aunt or best friend came out to them, they would have at least met me first and (hopefully hopefully) would have had a positive reaction to me.

    But...as I wrote, I haven't come out to any locals yet. Why? Fear - the fear of loosing my job, the fear of deportation and trouble for my company. But who knows? I still have many more months ahead of me here...

    • 17-24_m_w_h3_f1
      Comment

      Hi Archipelago,

      I think if there's a string of ideas in all my comments on Ahwaa since the first day, you've attached them all in your realistic, brief and consistent comment.

      I guess this is the aim of us living in this life: survival, with the whole word meaning. This includes a minimal level of compromise, yet a maximal level of consistency and integrity. Full integrity with yourself is an essential component of a healthy life, and I think you've achieved that pretty well.

      However, if you've chosen to declare to your surrounding or not, or even roughly half of them as in your case, it's totally up to you; because it's your own private life, and no has has control over your private life under any label; whether family, sect, religion, state, or any entity rather than yourself.

      Enjoy your life buddy! And keep us posted of your promotions! ;)

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  • Default-avatar
    Comment

    My family found out and I didn't deny it. My close friends know as well. It was very hard but I have to say I would rather live authentically than living a lie.

    • 25-34_m_w_h1_f4
      Comment

      family finding out is hard i would always rather say it myself but good job on standing your ground on this. hope your relationship with them is ok now.

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  • 25-34_f_b_h1_f3
    Comment

    well personally I only come out to close friends and people with tolerance for it, as for family I don't think I'll ever come out to them, unless I want to face living hell in the process

    Reply to JuJu
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  • 25-34_m_w_h3_f4
    Experience

    I was outed to my family, nuclear and extended since I was 17. It was brutal and had many turns. Now I am 28, I have lost contact with my parents. I feel indifferent to them, which is worse than hate. They feel disgrace for what I turned to be and guilt for how they treated me. However, on the bright side, my connection with my 3 siblings is very strong, 2 sisters and a brother. They are accepting me and who I am and actually challenge people sometime. Some distant relatives are completely fine too, most are of the younger generation. Although, I got a couple from the older generation too who are loving me, not just accepting.
    Going through that, sooner or later, friends, colleagues came along. I am not waking waving a rainbow flag or tying a gay emblem on my wrist or forehead. But actually facing your fears and people makes us strong and force people to respect me/ you/ us, if we turned to be a good example.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f1
    Comment

    i am not homosexual but i have friends who are. one of them is a kurdish young man (i am kurdish too). i had known him for almost a year before he told me he was gay and that was only after i had written an article about how kurds are hypocritical when calling for freedom yet at the same time deny the kurdish LGBT community their rights.

    i wasn't exactly surprised. i felt i had known from the start. but really i didn't think about it. i don't go around thinking: he's straight, she's straight, he's gay etc.

    from the family & peers' point of view: we have a great responsibility to help. we need to speak with other family members and friends about homosexuality in general without necessarily talking about the friend who is gay.

    i feel we who are heterosexuals should help lead the dialogue in the middle east. in a way it is easier for us because we are not at risk of losing family, friends and jobs for defending and explaining homosexuality.

    i read that some of you live in constant fear and i hate it. i wish you all strength to go through this hardship caused by an ignorant and narrowminded world.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f3
    Deleted
    Experience
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  • Default-avatar
    Advice

    Coming out is a mere impossible in the middle east and some times it reaches to be outcasted from your home unless you're financially independent and you can offer your own place lol and you know the rest, but I told my eldest brother and sister and I come from a big family from KSA they were in shock at first of course they're gonna be but with time they're accepting and I'm proud of them a lot for supporting me and some times they wish to change to have a better life here in KSA.

    What I'm trying to say is choose carefully who you want to know, we as middle Eastern have it hard to come out since in religion, especially Islam, we can be killed.

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  • 17-24_m_w_h3_f1
    Comment

    like 3 of my friends know..they said they don't care

    Reply to soloman876
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  • 17-24_m_w_h3_f1
    Comment

    It's something u need to do... & after u do it! u will see life totally different and u will love urself cause u will find acceptance by everybody! & at last u don't have to put any kind of masks... u will just be urself :)

    Reply to Mina
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  • 35-50_f_w_h3_f4
    Experience

    Still not out, never is a good time! It's such a small announcement but it's significant and can change your life and your family's life forever.

    Reply to Joon
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  • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
    Comment

    no way just for my families sake

    Reply to Askim3was
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  • 17-24_f_w_h1_f3
    Comment

    My family will never accept that fact , that's why there is no need to tell .

    Reply to tokaliz
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  • coming out.. if a miracle happened and my family accept that i am a bi , what about friends ? , in "guy groups" when anyone listen em talking about " shawaz =LGBTQ " , you will just realize that it's a nightmare to come out in middle eastern society . in egypt -and i am talking about the majority is egypt , not that "high class" community- male and being a member in a LGBTQ is sometimes a "RAPE" ticket , because you are not " man " anymore ..

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  • 17-24_m_f_h4_f3
    Comment

    well im pretty proud about who i am so i always tell everyone i know from the moment i meet them so im pretty out and proud but still i cant tell my family or strangers so i still think you cant really be out in the middle east too much risk with the hate and the laws and all that stuff

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  • Default-avatar
    Comment

    Very difficult, impossible!

    Reply to yasmin2000
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  • 25-34_f_w_h1_f2
    Comment

    No, and hell no.

    Reply to Dee
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  • 25-34_f_w_h2_f3
    Comment

    im out,, need a bi-gfriend, preferrably hot nd pretty, xD

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  • Default-avatar
    Comment

    I suggest not to come out..it's too risky

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  • 25-34_m_w_h3_f4
    Comment

    for me my family is very religous and if they know i am gay my family will be hurmed badly ,so i am far of my family, but still feel not enough i need to go out middle east for sure

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  • wow its so cool to see that some mom are do accept it and just want their daughters to be happy even when they are hijabis. my mom would definitely kill me.

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  • 25-34_f_w_h2_f3
    Comment

    i opened up with my mum, its cool shes fine with it, not all parents qn easily adapt this kind of situation ,i risk half of my life,,

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f1
    Comment

    never gonna happen though

    Reply to BerryLu
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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f1
    Comment

    egypt sucks

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  • 25-34_m_f_h4_f4
    Comment

    I am gay and I came out to all my friends, out of 10, I lost one. But the feeling is beyond amazing, just being myself infront of them, I mean I can finally breath. My mum is suspicious, since I came out to my friends, I became braver and would reveal what I am doing to my body at home, like shaving my legs, using cosmetics, .. etc. She always tries to open the subject of marriage and I just escape it. So having a son with shaved body and ankle bracelets pretty much delivers the message. I know she will confront me soon, and I won't deny it. BUT you all can imagine what happens to me on the streets.

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  • 25-34_f_w_h2_f1
    Experience

    I'm a lesbian and I only came out to my sisters and a guy best friend. The three of them were very understanding. I wish I had the courage to be openly lesbian one day..

    Reply to YZF
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  • 17-24_f_w_h1_f4
    Experience

    I have ALWAYS known I was third gender and bisexual, ever since childhood, but being in Egypt and being a female that means you can NOT play with boys as a child, and your gender expression is confined to the religious restrictions forever. I just grew up expressing only the feminine side of me to the public but keeping the more masculine side to my closest of friends. I only come out to fellow LGBT members because coming out to anyone else is too risky, especially when you're not financially independent.

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    Anonymous
    Advice

    https://www.facebook.com/LGBTREVOLUTIONINEGYPT

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    Anonymous
    Advice

    https://www.facebook.com/LGBTREVOLUTIONINEGYPT

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    Anonymous
    Advice

    dont do this

    Reply to Anonymous
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  • 12-16_m_w_h4_f1
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    Comment
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  • I came out to my friends and it's so amazing. But if i tell my parents. I think they'll disown me.

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  • Default-avatar
    Experience

    Every experience is different. During high school, I was very unsure about my sexuality and truly discovering myself. My friends all had ideas and had guessed it. When I came out to them, none of them were surprised because they said it was obvious. Coming out to my friends was super duper easy. Nothing has changed between us, infact it was brought us closer. When I came out to my brother, he just said "okay". My brother has many gay friends so he was totally chill with it, it wasn't even a big deal for him. I talk to him about girls all the time haha. When I came out to my parents, the response surprised me. My mother was very amazing about it and said she loved me no matter what. She said she wants to learn more about all of this and educate herself. She told me she wants me to earn well so that I can live in a country where I can openly be myself and that she will help me get there. My dad was upset and I still don't know how he feels about it, we don't really talk about it but I know he loves me and always will. He needs time but I think he will get there. A few of my cousins know and they are all totally chill about it. I don't think I could come out to my family more than that but I've come out to everyone important to me and I've got some great support

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  • 12-16_m_a_h4_f1
    Comment

    coming out can be a really hard thing. just know that if you don't want to or don't feel the need to you don't have to come out. but if you choose to come out, just make sure that you are safe and not putting yourself in a dangerous position because you always need to remember that your safety and wellbeing comes first.

    Reply to ray
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  • 25-34_f_b_h1_f4
    Comment

    i don't think i will ever come out, being in the closet seems safe when considering the family dynamics! but yet i want to live a parallel life which aligns with my core self.

    Reply to Rapunzel
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  • 17-24_f_w_h2_f4
    Experience

    I was a a social sloth growing up so I never had to consider romantic ideas because i needed friends first

    Reply to BiTrash
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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f3
    Comment

    I personally would never do it. I know for a fact that my family wouldn't accept it.

    Reply to Gaygirlshj
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  • Only came out to my best friend. There was another friend who's super liberal (for an Arab) and not religious at all...but he's quite homophobic. I was only hinting that I might not be into girls but he quickly dismissed it and tried to change the subject. I was devastated because I trusted him and felt that he'd understand...but alas.

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  • 25-34_m_w_h4_f4
    Experience

    I have no connection with my extended family but three members of my immediate family seem to have accepted me for who I am after years of struggle. It was only 4 years ago that I came out to them and I'm almost 30. I have been actively dating since the age of 17. Coming out is a relief because you no longer have to live a double and troubled life. Coming out to my co-workers is a different story though which I am not quite prepared to do yet as it's likely that I will risk my job.

    Reply to Samir82
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  • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
    Advice

    if your family is very religious stay in denial for as long as possible because it will harm you in the end than do you any good. if they find out it can be a real disaster. trust me because i had to learn this the hard way.

    • 17-24_f_w_h1_f1
      Comment

      I'm sorry about your bad experience, skyflake. I wonder if there is anything that we can do to help parents or siblings of LGBTQ individuals become more tolerant and accepting

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    • 35-50_f_w_h3_f4
      Comment

      Experiences like these is what keeps me closeted, to be honest. Too much at stake.

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    • 17-24_m_w_h4_f3
      Comment

      I agree with Joon, coz it will b like a suicide! take care

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    • Default-avatar
      Anonymous
      Experience

      I wish people where more tolerant to this topic because it does exsist. I came out to my muslim father almost a year ago... It was pretty dificiult & scary...

      Flag
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  • FIND THE OTHERS , AND KEEP GOING

    Reply to divineandrogyne7
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  • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
    Experience

    family is always tricky. you can have a good relationship with them but is it good to be dishonest or is it better to take a risk? i chose the risk. not always the best choice but i dont regret it. better honest than being sorry for living a lie all my life.

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  • 25-34_f_w_h3_f2
    Experience

    I totally relate to this. And the lying does get exhausting after a while. I'm on and off with feelings of guilt about this whole grandchildren thing.

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  • Default-avatar
    Anonymous
    Comment

    yes same, never coming out. it will be harder than lying, i choose lying over pain.

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  • 51-65_f_f_h1_f3
    Experience

    Good for you Diab. Although I wouldn't know what to do with myself if my mom found it :( I wish I was strong enough to live with that kind of pain and the idea that I'm a disappointment to her after all that she sacrificed to raise me.

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  • 25-34_m_w_h3_f4
    Comment

    You have been through the hardest part of being out to family. You got over the fear of losing your family. The risk of loosing your job, your source of income is big, but not as big as your family. It really depends on where are you working, but challenging your colleague's thoughts is always nice and you are up to it.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h2_f4
    Experience

    I came out to both my mother and father and grandmother. It's no real secret at school that I'm pansexual, but no one at school really cares. Maybe because of the social background of a lot of the students...ma 3lena.

    When I told my mom, she was making some sort of soup or sauce or something. She didn't even look up, just shrugged when I told her and said, "I've always known. Mothers always do." When I asked her how she felt, she just said, "Well, I'm not thrilled, but it's your life. I just want you to understand that it may be near impossible to live comfortably with a woman in Egypt, let alone marry one." When I told her I did understand she just said, "I just want you to be happy." Only then did she look me in the eye and smile at me, a little sadly. She is religious, and wears the hijab. My grandmother couldn't care less, she just said, "REALLY? Oh. Okay. So who's your new crush? Is he/she hot?" She actually said that. "Mozz? Bnt wala walad?" It was hilarious. My sisters knew for a while, and my father was a little less thrilled. He just said, "Okay." When I asked him how he felt, he just said "It's like college all over again!" (When he was in his first year of college, he got a scholarship to Oxford University in England. He had gotten news that he was going to be rooming with two other girls who were there. He was thrilled and went around bragging to his friends that he was 'gonna sleep with two hot English chicks'. When he got there, the minute he stepped over the threshold, both girls looked at him and said, 'Before you try anything, you should know that we're both lesbians and we're dating.') I hugged him and he hugged me back.

    The strange part is that they're both very religious. So is my grandmother, but she's at that age where she's a little...ahem. You know what I mean. :D But you have to understand that no matter what they say, no matter what they do, they always thaw out eventually. It helps if you're from a higher social class or background though...I won't lie about that. I've told my parents before that I was agnostic, which actually bothered them more than me coming out.

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  • 17-24_f_w_h1_f1
    Comment

    I dont really think that in egypt coming out is the problem, its the lack of lez girls that is the real problem.

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  • But isn't the lack of lesbians the result of so few women daring to come out.
    If 5-15% of the population over the world is gay, there shouldn't be a problem with the amount of lesbians?

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  • 17-24_f_w_h3_f1
    Comment

    I Agree Em

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  • 17-24_f_b_h1_f2
    Comment

    the common scenario is that you actually get accused of being one, which is the fear that many straight people have when it comes to advocating for our rights.

    it's good to see more people joining the struggle though specially in the kurdish community. good job on this and wish to see more people like you.

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