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Narratives of Lesbian Existence in Egypt: - Coming to Terms with Identities
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Oriental Languages, Section for Middle Eastern Studies.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This Bachelor thesis deals with the sexual identity of Egyptian women who love and have relationships with other women. I theoretically study the state of existing literature on homosexuality in the Middle East, and I do this from a gender perspective. By looking closer at four recent books on this topic I derive two main, and contradictory, theories. The first is put forth by Joseph A Massad in his book Desiring Arabs, where he rejects the existence of homosexuality in the Middle East, declaring that same sex acts in this region don’t constitute identities, as in the West. The second theory, best represented in Samar Habib’s work Female homosexuality in the Middle East, sees past and present histories of same sex love as representations of homosexuality. The empirical basis for my analysis is five in-depth interviews with Egyptian women having sexual relationships with women. Examining my material I find a negation of Massad’s theory and a confirmation of Habib’s, the women indeed describe sexual identities. I look into these descriptions and see how the women have reached this point of realizing – or coming to terms. I also study their narratives of passing, as heterosexual women, in order to avoid repression. The women’s knowledge of society’s prejudice gives the explanation for their choices of passing, but at the same time the women’s stories show a will to challenge the view on lesbian women and resist the compulsory heterosexuality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Egypt, identity, homosexuality, lesbian, orientalism, passing
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31383OAI: diva2:276780
2009-08-27, 00:00 (Swedish)

Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-11 Last updated: 2009-11-23Bibliographically approved

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