Rachel’s Team Pick: A Gay Girl In Damascus

This week a reader sent me an email that said “A friend recently sent me a link to an out lesbian Syrian-American blogger currently based in Damascus, and I thought her work might be of interest to some of you over there. Even if not, this is a really great post that you should probs read anyway.” She was right! Amina’s blog is of interest to me. The post in question goes, in part, like this:

Abu Ali, our doorman, had been awakened by someone ringing the gate, and stumbled there to look out; he thought everyone was inside, but it wouldn’t be the first time that some family member or other had stayed out far too late at a cafe … instead, he saw two young guys in their mid twenties, clad in black leather jackets, muscular and both smoking. He knew immediately who they were and rang the alarm to wake everyone up. He was surprised when they stated who they were here for … me … Meanwhile, I had a pretty strong notion when I woke up exactly what had happened. So, I pulled on my clothes as fast as I could — the ones I have had laid out for such a moment; simple cotton underwear and t-shirt (no underwire or anything like that), jeans, loose fitting pullover … put on my glasses and stumbled downstairs to the courtyard. My father was already out there; he hadn’t bothered to get dressed at all and was wearing just a nightshirt. He was already in animated discussion with them. When I appeared, one of them nodded, “That’s her.”

From her introductory post:

…I’m also aware of the winds of freedom and change blowing from one end of the Arab world to the other. And I want that freedom wind to bring with it our liberation, not just as Arabs and as Syrians, but also as women and as lesbians. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won’t.

But if I want it to happen, I have to begin by doing something bold and visible. I can, because I’m a dual national and have benefits of politically connected relatives, be more visible than many women here. I’m already out to my family … and I want to be an example to others.

In conclusion, this lady is awesome and you should probably be reading her blog. That is all.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. This story was unbelievable. Being part-Syrian myself, I read it last week and was amazed and particularly pleased with the style. Now I’m stalking the girl and reading whatever she writes. Cool blog and thanks for giving it visibility!

  2. thank you for sharing this with us. i feel emotionally stuck right now with like no words to express the enormity of what I just read.

    i’m just going to share this link with everyone I can.

    Autostraddle, there really is no other way to understand the diversity of our GLBTQ community without you.

  3. “I have to begin by doing something bold and visible. I can, because I’m a dual national and have benefits of politically connected relatives, be more visible than many women here”

    Wow. If only we could all do such brave things with our positions of privilege. I am in total awe.

  4. Wow, as a muslim lesbian I was really happy to read her work. I admire her! Thanks for sharing this!

  5. I just read the entire “My father, the hero” post, it gave me chills. Looks like I will be reading the rest of this blog for the rest of the afternoon.

  6. If everyone in her position would stand up for themselves, and the countless others that do not have such privilege, the world would be a radically different place.

  7. This is exactly the kind of blog I’ve been looking to find/read/bookmark/follow/love. As a Lebanese gay girl from a Muslim background, I am all about feeling these sorts of connections. So much respect.

  8. Um, judging from her latest entry, I am really concerned about her safety! I mean… I don’t know.

  9. I really love it when someone points me to a blog that ends up being really excellent reading. This one’s going right to my google reader.

  10. My free-time for the next little while is set. This is so, so interesting on so many levels.

  11. Wow… That’s really all I can say. After reading a number of her blog posts, she sounds like an amazing person. It takes courage for someone to be out as a lesbian and vocal during a revolution, and that’s perhaps what I admire the most. Thank you! Great read.

  12. Holy shit, I am tearing up after reading just the “my father, the hero” post. Wow. She and her father are so unimaginably brave, in the face of such hateful intimidation and cowardice. I wish them luck, safety, and freedom…

  13. Wow. I’m in awe and can’t think of much to say besides “WOW!” What a brave woman and what a wonderful father she has!

  14. This is so incredibly brave that I’m not even brave enough to watch her be that brave.

  15. (Because Autostraddle introduced me to her blog)
    The blogger from A Gay Girl In Damascus was abducted!! Her cousin updated her blog. :-(

  16. Now that we know that this was all a hoax, maybe Autostraddle should add a note to this article in case some future reader stumbles across it?

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