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Being LGBTQ+ in Kuwait

"Enta Khaneeth?"

That was the first time it became official, when my father asked me if I was gay after a report card meeting. You see my father had this weird way of enforcing the importance of anything with violence. He was so violently in love with me and so very obsessed to the point where he generated, a prophecy. In doing so, one way or another, he ensured its fulfilment.

I grew up in Kuwait in a Bedouin sector. Just like the whole of Kuwait, it is a bipolar mob of a society that has you experiencing cognitive dissonance in almost every encounter, and moments were always badly timed. Whilst I detested the narrow aspect of beauty and ideology, I adored the sense of safety, of being good and doing well by God. However, as time passed, I realised my biggest problem in all of my relationships, personal and otherwise.

People antagonise anything they don’t understand and being ignorant is actually scary. The more aware of yourself you become, the more vicious society gets. Statements expressing your liking towards things would be interrupted and turned into a homosexual act, not because its gay to do so, but because you are viewed as gay. They can’t say it, so they beat around the bush and hint about it.

For example, it was gay to play the piano, gay to go to the gym, gay to dress nicely and to cook. I found those attributes very masculine, as men should play the piano, must exercise and how can you not look your best?

This all started in kindergarten. You're so soft I heard. I heard it in my own household from one of my uncles as we lived in this massive house you see, where small families of 2-7 people lived. All were brothers from one grandma who lived in this house and it was my eldest uncle’s house. My grandfather was married to four women who all had a lot of children.

In total, I have 14 uncles and 18 aunts. All of them are emotionally stunted, vindictive sweethearts that are too exuberantly messed up. So you feel that you are always conflicted: do you hate them or love them? Or even worse; outgrow them and feel indifferent?

Elementary school was so bad, so was middle and high school. I was beaten up almost weekly and some weeks, it was almost every day. If it wasn’t at school, it would be at home, and on my ‘lucky’ days, it would be both. I really hated being alive, and one weekend, I drank a shot glass of dishwasher soap, but to no effect. Since elementary, I was seen as too soft, too white, too happy, too smart, too clean, too polite, I must be gay, and if not, let’s all scream it and beat it into him. One more thing, while we do that, lets molest him, grab his ass, talk about his "hole” and everything merry we would do to it. It was so confusing, do you you all wanna dig a hole and burn me using dirty gasoline or **** me? My aunts and uncles were as bad as the boys at the school and everything I liked was gay, everything I liked was haram, until one day, I embraced it and became myself.

This toxic way of thinking carried onto my personal relationships. I got into a relationship with a guy when I was 16 and he was in his early thirties. I hated how he ended up both partially raising and parenting me, and it destroyed me when he was incorporated with dialogues about me with my father. He exposed so many family secrets I didn’t know, resulting in such a shaken image of what love and respect should be. That guy was married, and I stayed of course because who would ever consider me? It’s a chapter that I am not equipped to talk about right now.

I had people that liked me, but it is such a cliquey gay scene in Kuwait, so things never worked out. So many dinners for schmucks, so many moments where I was put under the test without knowledge of the answers and of course, failed miserably. This was not for being a bad person it turns out, but, what do you expect an 18-year-old to think about life and to know what these answers were supposed to be? Why does a group of 30+ year old gay men get to decide your fate forever because of the answers you give?

I gathered my senses and decided to move on. I found that the important things in life turned out to be respect, peace and education, so I wanted them and to get out of the mess I was in. Except I didn’t. Even when I moved to study, it was a mess. I was in another Arab society that didn’t know who to please; God, the nation or themselves.

I was attractive to a lot of people I suppose, but that didn’t end well for me. When a lot of people are interested in you, know each other and almost communicate daily, dating is a bit of a pickle. Dating anyone, having it work out or not, has such butterfly effect on your social life. When it went well it was paradise, but when it took a turn, man, such isolation, and in a small town, it’s almost like getting locked up in a car trunk. You know there's life outside, but you can’t access it.

I hated how beautiful the boys are in Kuwait, and it got worse when I travelled the world and just had that rubbed in my face. I hated the language, the dialect, it got me in so much trouble, and I assure you my face doesn’t lie, I always react. I left Arabic for English, lasted a whole decade, yet came back memorising and reciting poetry and music. It is a land of beautiful people, a delicate language, amazing food, abrupt flirts and morose goodbyes, even if you're meeting in the parking lot for three minutes. That land of sand and salty water is so sweet.

I wonder how I remained happy.

You might not guess it from reading this, but I am a happy man. I am chronically depressed, but with the experiences I had, and even going back through memory lane, I can still say that I am now happy. I still do my song and dance as time goes by and it looks like I will always will.

Article by: Svxxo

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