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Our name is 534.

After the feedback I got, I realized that what felt right for me was to open CCL even more and to focus as much as possible on our international standing as lesbians and women. I am pleased to announce we have a new writer. I will let her reveal herself to you as she wishes. The following is her first submission for CCL. I introduce to you, Aïda;

lebanon-syria-map

534.
This is the number I’ll start my story with.
It means nothing to you and a lot of people. But it means a LOT to me, my girlfriend, my exes, my friends and a whole lot of people living here in… Lebanon.
It’s not the number of people I’ve slept with.
It’s definitely not the number of orgasms I’ve had or given (… I think. I don’t really count).
It’s not the number of lesbians we have in this country.
It’s not some sexual position we invented in Beirut.
It’s not the name some women’s club we all go to.

It’s far more important.

 

Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code prohibits having sexual relations that are “contradicting the laws of nature”. And in Lebanon, being with a person of the same sex is “contradicting the laws of nature”.
You can be gay for all they care, you just can’t act upon it.
But meanwhile, they can threaten you, accuse you, abuse you in oh-so-many-ways. And if they know you have been sexually active, they can arrest you and send you to prison.

 

I am a woman in my mid twenties. I am a US citizen but also a Lebanese one. I have always lived in Beirut and swore I would never leave this country. But I’m having second thoughts about a land that does not accept me for who I am. People who won’t protect me for being myself. A government who will torture me for love.

New York has always been a dream for me. Since I was sixteen and far before I realized I was attracted to women. New York was an escape, dreams and music. It was my vision of it which resembles a lot of NY visions. It is now Freedom and Rights. It is the place where I’ll be able to hold my girl’s hand in the streets without fearing someone will actually run down and punch me in the face for doing so.

 

Aïda

4 Responses to “Our name is 534.”

  1. Le January 20, 2014 at 8:44 am Permalink

    Even though you and I come from both a different country and continent Aïda, our situations are so similar! Especially the line: the place where I’ll
    be able to hold my girl’s hand
    in the streets without fearing
    someone will actually run down
    and punch me in the face for
    doing so. That really hit home for me.

  2. cazza January 20, 2014 at 11:31 am Permalink

    Thank you for your post, in a time where many of us are stressing about our economy etc. You have made me stop and be thankful that I live in a country (Australia)where I am free to love and show love publicly to whomever I choose. May you stay safe and happy

  3. Natty in Miami January 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm Permalink

    I am from labanese and colombian heritage. Not able to truly claim either because of the lack of my parents presence in my life. But I am grateful for one gift they gave me. My birth in the US. I am a teen mother who would grow up to become a professional who would marry her wife in Boston. None of my accomplishments would be possible if I were in either country. I am grateful for my freedoms. I am proud to be American. Your story is brave. I hope you do obtain the same freedom. Because you would truly appreciate it. Believe me when I tell you I know many people here that do not put themselves in your shoes and take their liberty for granted. Its not perfect here. There are still many opponents. But my freedoms are not wasted on me.

  4. Sandy March 25, 2014 at 10:26 am Permalink

    I recently blogged on a similar topic because many of my blog readers are from countries in the middle east and Africa where our lesbianism is far from accepted and can result in imprisonment, stoning and death. It made me realize that though I am in the closet to family and friends I still have the ability to enjoy the company of another woman and not have to worry that we will be caught. It’s a very sobering thought to understand that I could be in prison for my sexuality. I worry about losing friends or family because of coming out but others simply fear for their lives. I admire you for being brave enough to try to make a difference.

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