Produced by: Yara Chehayed
Part of the Curated Collection: Taboos & Society,
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Interview Location: Lebanon
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To be honest, I've always struggled with my gender identity. Specifically with all the boxes that society sets and social taboos. I always felt different, or perhaps expressed my gender identity in a different way. This thing was never welcomed by the community around me, so I had to fight a lot. The words I was hearing were hindering my ability to express myself. I identify as transgender; I express myself accordingly because I am no longer concerned with what other people think of the matter.

The steps I took to avoid the topic of these taboos or their impact on my life were actually to spread the information. Because it was a primary goal for me to publish everything I know. It means all information in terms of gender identity and sexual orientation. I have always been a feminist, I mean, I don't remember at all a time when I could define myself with this term, but I was definitely a feminist. What helped me a lot is to pass on the information and things I know to my family and the people around me, and this prompted me to conduct sessions on sexuality and sexual diversity, especially on sexual and reproductive health and rights. I feel that I was able to make people more receptive to these topics.

The social taboos that impede prosperity and peace in the country are related to gender disparity because when we talk about difference from its foundation before social taboos, we have differentiation. We have a difference in the balance of power. This difference in the balance of power is not only between men and women or males and females. It also creates a strong person who is the oppressor and a weak person who is the oppressed. This in itself is for me the basis of instability in society. Certainly, this is due to the regimes, the regimes that encourage this segregation and the regimes that support one sex or gender over the other in my opinion. As for the toxic masculinities, it is the patriarchal masculinities that destabilize the most. These privileges were originally given to people, but these privileges also oppress the same people to whom it was given in a certain way, and they are men of course. Also, the psychological effects of patriarchal masculinities on men can lead to violence in a certain way, especially with our society, where it’s possible to normalize violence. We always encourage punishment in a way that is greater than the crime committed, imprisonment or death. These are all normalizations of violence, and in my opinion, they are all behind social taboos. Of course, homophobia is one of them. Transphobia is a second topic, a second social taboo. I don't know if we can say a social taboo. These things I would like to focus on because they concern me, they affect me personally.