Gayted Communities : Marginalized Sexualities in Lebanon
Abstract: This dissertation offers a unique examination of Muslim masculinities and marginalized sexualities in Lebanon, and is a contribution to the growing body of gay and lesbian studies with a focus on Muslims living in The Middle East. It contributes to the theoretical and methodological development of Islamic studies by introducing and using a queer approach to study marginalized sexualities in relation to Islam. The work presented is a product of an intimate personal experience with the field (the gay community in Beirut). The analysis is based on material gathered through participation, observation, conversations, and especially interviews with eight young men. Three kinds of intersecting orientations are investigated: those of being gay, Muslim, and male. The young men studied struggle with the expectations and stereotypes about sexual and gender identity, of what masculinity and being a man is all about, and with what is expected of them as being Muslim. One of the main arguments is that by separating the orientations and seeing how they interrelate as parallel lines, a clearer picture of the tactics that the young men studied employ when negotiating their different, and sometimes conflicting, orientations and identifications, emerges. This dissertation advocates that marginalized sexualities should be studied and understood as provisional, discursively produced, unstable, performative, and decidedly partial identities, formed in relation to seemingly stable, normative, natural, and hegemonic identities.
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