Squeezing Identity Out of “The Box”

My.Kali Reports on the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO-T) – Jordan




By A.W. Rahman*


Active members of Jordan’s LGBQTIA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender/Transsexual Queer/Questioning Intersex and Asexual) community met for a 3-hour intimate gathering on the 16th of May to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at a local art space. A small crowd full of hope for a better and safer future for the LGBTI community in Jordan participated in this session organized by a group of activists, an Informal Jordanian group advocating and protecting LGBTI; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex in Jordan, in cooperation with My.Kali magazine.

The session mainly highlighted the problem of homophobia in Jordan, and viewpoints on the main challenges LGBQTIA members of the Jordanian society face including their legal status, challenges of LGBTQIA business owners, challenges of transgender individuals, and challenges of heterosexual members who support the LGBTQIA cause in Jordan. Also the U.S. Ambassador in Jordan, Her Excellency Alice G. Wells paid us an unexpected and highly appreciated visit supporting this noble cause and sharing her personal experiences. “As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at the UN in 2011,” she said, “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

“The importance of such events cannot be overstated” an activist said, “we have to reach to a dialogue and a common language in which we can challenge societal norms, and achieve a safe Jordan for all members of its society” he added.

An editorial and support staff attended the event in representation of My.Kali, who seek to adhere to a continuous presence of this constructive dialogue.


Squeezing Identity Out of “The Box”: Creating a Language, Activist Hasan ,

Language plays a significant role in this dialogue process, it is important that as a community we agree on the lingua-franca that shall be used to describe who members of the LGBTQIA are in a non-patronizing way in Arabic. This allows us to spread awareness targeting a larger audience in Jordan, and empowers us to challenge social norms. .


Finding Legal Support, Lawyer, Researcher and founder of HIV & Law Mr. Mohammad Al Nasser,

Being a member of the LGBTQIA community in Jordan is not punishable by law, yet the law might not always be clear on where it stands in regards to preserving every human’s dignity in Jordan. A full research paper is published with details on the legal status of LGBTQIA members and HIV on the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality’s website.


Challenges of the Transgender Community in Jordan, 21 year old Transgender Activist Dana,

The biggest challenge that transgender members of the Jordanian society suffer from today is that the government of Jordan does not recognize them. “If you are a transgender you cannot change your name, ID, driver’s license, or passport” Dana says. These challenges become evidently straining when for example, you are applying to universities, when your face and gender expression on the outside does not match your name on your ID card. Facing society, family, and friends is even harsher as being born in a different body is not something that you can hide or is easily accepted.


In Jordan one can only change their name on an ID card if they can prove they have physically changed themselves, but such transforming surgeries cannot be done in Jordan. The Transgender community in Jordan needs to have more support and must achieve their full rights as dignified citizens of this country.

What is Identity? And Where Do We Start?, Actress Jana Zeineddine,

Our understanding of what femininity and masculinity are has been dictated to us as humans who live within a society. “It is most essential that we start at schools and educate children on sex, gender, and identity” Jana said. Identity is not black and white, there are many shades of gray that must be acknowledged and accepted. Jana believes that drama education is very important especially that gender is a “performance”, what we wear, how we carry ourselves, the tone of our voice, and the way we view the world around us is a performance based on an identity box that society places us in.


As all good things come to an end, this pleasant and eye opening gathering came to a close. But the fight against homophobia in Jordan will not stop until every Jordanian indiscriminately enjoys the same rights as every other member of this great society.




  • This is the 2nd IDAHOT event, as 2014 was the first. You can check it out  (here)
  • IDAHOT is on the 17th, but we held it a day prior to release the report on time, and to insure the convenience of the speakers and participants.
  • People from the Swedish Embassy in Jordan also participated but were not speakers at the event.
  • You can follow IDAHOT on their Facebook page (here)


The End


استناداً لبعض المقالات التي تم نشرها في الصحف الالكترونية في الاردن بخصوص “اليوم العالمي ضد رهاب المثلية” و الذي تم تنسيقه من قبل نشطاء منهم مجلة ماي كالي My.Kali نريد تصحيح ما ورد في هذه المقالات من معلومات غير صحيحة:

– نرجو التنويه على أن السفارة الأمريكية و السفيرة الأمريكية لدى الأردن لم تقم بدعم الندوة أو منظميها أو مجلة ماي كالي My.Kali على عكس ما تم ذكره في بعض وسائل الإعلام، الندوة لم تكن مدعومة من أي طرف من الأطراف بل هي منسقة بمجهود شخصي من النشطاء و مجلة ماي كالي My.Kali لنشر الوعي بخصوص المثلية الجنسية و التحديات التي تواجه المثليين و متحولي الجندر في الأردن، حضر الندوة مشاركين من عدة سفارات دول أوروبية من ضمنهم السفارة الأمريكية بصورة غير رسمية لإيمانهم بهدف الندوة.

– الندوة لم تكن “احتفال” أو “المطالبة” بحقوق المثليين بل كان مخصص لزيادة التوعية عن المثليين و متحولي الجندر و الجنسانية و الجندر بالاضافة للوضع القانوني و الوضع الإجتماعي للمثلين في الأردن.

– الندوة لم تكن حصراً على المثليين أو متحولي الجندر بل كان أغلبية الحضور من أشخاص مغايرين من مختلف الأيدولوجيات و الخلفيات الدينية و الاجتماعية عندهم الرغبة بالتعلم عن المثلية الجنسية و الجنسانية و الجندر.

– المقال لم يتم حذفه من موقع ماي كالي My.Kali و هو متوفر على الرابط أدناه:http://goo.gl/2WcL05

– لم يقم أي من الصحف الإلكترونية بالاتصال بمجلة ماي كالي أو المنظمين للحصول على تصريح في ما يتعلق بالندوة قبل نشر ما كتب .

متوفرة على الفيس بوك: https://goo.gl/oynRzc



With reference to recent media articles regarding the 2015 Jordan edition of the ‘International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia’ (IDAHOT) event co-organized on 16 May by an advocacy group and ‪‎My.Kali‬ magazine, we would like to rectify a few details that were incorrectly reported.

– Contrary to news reports, the US ambassador and the US embassy did not sponsor the event. IDAHOT Jordan 2015 is a non-funded advocacy event organized exclusively by a group of activists and My.Kali magazine to spread awareness on the social, cultural and business challenges faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Intersex and Agender (LGBTQIA) community in Jordan. Members of several EU embassies, including the US embassy, unofficially attended the event as a show of support for LGBTQIA rights.

– The event was not held to “demand/celebrate LGBTQAI rights” as reported. It was purely organized to raise awareness on the broad spectrum of sexual orientation as well as the legal situation and social status of LGBTQIA individuals in Jordan.

– The event’s attendees did not only consist of individuals from the LGBTQIA community, but mostly comprised non-LGBTQIA individuals interested in learning more about sexuality and the LGBQTIA situation in Jordan, as well as people from different ideologies, backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientation.

– None of the media entities that published the news report contacted My.Kali or the organizers for a statement, and many were inaccurate in their titles and content.

– The article was not removed from MyKali magazine, it is currently online and accessible.