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Zaafaran

in CANADA, 12/06/2008

Lesbians, bisexuals, transvestite, transgender and transsexual of the Middle East and Maghreb

Montreal, January 25th, 2008
When we come out as lesbian, bisexual, transvestite, transgender or transsexual (LBTTT) the whole world seems set against us. We discover our difference, where this difference can get us killed or persecuted in many countries of the Middle East and Maghreb. It seems that our lives comes to and end.

What about those who live their differences in spite of everything in their countries, or sometimes in their adopted country, far from all possible friendly support? What happens when these women are in marginalized and isolated communities? Where can they go? Who can they talk to? Where can they find answers given the fact that more often than not women, and more specifically lesbians, are invisible and ignored?

LBTTT women from the Middle-East and the Maghreb are often closeted for many personal and political reasons. They live with sexism both in their communities and society at large, as well as racism and prejudice and fear of being found out, which increases their sense of isolation. They are not always able to network or meet other women like them.

We decided to organize in order to address these important issues of fear, isolation, prejudice, sexism and racism. We organized a meeting on May the 18th, 2007 and launched Zaafaran. The purpose of the group is to create a safe, confidential space for social, cultural and political activities for LBTTT Middle-Eastern and Maghreb women.

In Arabic, a poem describes how women used to rub saffron between their palms to grind it thus evoking the sex act between women and designating lesbians as "rubbers". We chose to reclaim this part of our tradition, without the prejudices of our patriarchal society. We wanted something that reflected our origins and our uniqueness.

Zaafaran, a mythic spice with the color of the sun over the Mediterranean on a summer afternoon, of a sunset over the desert…

Zaafaran, a new group by and for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual women from the Middle-East and the Maghreb.

More information on www.zaafaran.orgbr>
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