Gay Arab-Americans find room of their own in NYC

“Here in America we have an open heart., in Egypt we hide it; no one talks about it.”

By Salim Essaid - Source: http://www.brooklyneagle.com

In this Sunday, May 4 photo, Bashar Makhay stands for a photo in his apartment in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Makhay, who is Iraqi-American, Catholic and gay, said he created Tarab, a series of parties, beach gatherings and other events for LGBT Arabs and Middle Easterners in New York City. The Tarab program will celebrate its second anniversary with an event May 10. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

In this Sunday, May 4 photo, Bashar Makhay stands for a photo in his apartment in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Makhay, who is Iraqi-American, Catholic and gay, said he created Tarab, a series of parties, beach gatherings and other events for LGBT Arabs and Middle Easterners in New York City. The Tarab program will celebrate its second anniversary with an event May 10. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle


With a loud hiccup and a hand over her mouth in coy embarrassment, Madame Tayoush mimics Lebanese diva Sabah in her performance of the sultry classic “Atshana” — or “I’m Thirsty” — as Arab-Americans hoot and cheer. The burst of a trumpet vibrato sends her into a dramatic swoon, basking under applause and the warmth of stage lights.

The low neckline of her halter gown exposes a hairy chest.

Madame Tayoush is a man in drag, performing at a Tarab NYC event, at which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arab-Americans can celebrate without judgment both their sexual orientation and Arab culture — a slice of society with customs that seldom allow for discussion of sex and gender.

“I was craving community because there was this idea that I could only be one identity at a time,” said Tarab creator Bashar Makhay, who is Chaldean-Iraqi, American, Catholic and gay. He said he created Tarab — a series of parties, beach gatherings and other events for LGBT Arabs and Middle Easterners in New York City — because the community needed to be organized. The program will celebrate its second anniversary with an event Saturday.

Read more at: http://www.brooklyneagle.com

Comments are closed.