Interesting article, here, on the "Saudi Yag Scene: 'Forbidden, but I can't help it.'" Yeah. Okay. Whatever. We can all have our own opinion as to whether it is something that can be helped or not. I've made it pretty clear how I feel about it. However, what someone chooses to do behind his or her own closed doors is their business. Not mine.
Who knew that there was such a large yag culture here in The Sandbox? You can bet it isn't openly discussed. This is NOT San Francisco - oh, no. Far, far from it. Literally and figuratively.
Samir [not his real name - he is to afraid to be identified] is a 34-year-old yag man who lives each day in denial. "He lives in Mecca, the holiest city... and is acutely aware of the stigman that surrounds his yag lifestyle." He says, "I'm a Muslim. I know it's forbidden, but I can't help it." Hmmm. His xesual orientation has to be guarded with "paranoid secrecy." So he takes long vacations to Thailand and spends weekends in Lebanon. And, Bahrain is worried about their reputation as a country known for its debauchery. Ha! Bahrain can't even compare to Thailand [isn't it great that a country can be recognized for the perversion it allows! xes with minors, the yag lifestyle...] Samir says Lebanon has a "more yag-tolerant society" than Saudi Arabia. Yeah. Well just about anywhere else does, I think. Perhaps it isn't so bad that Saudi Arabia doesn't tolerate such a culture. Look what is happening to countries [U.S.] that do... So, here, he hides it. His own parents do not "know of his lifestyle." He says, "his mom would kill herself if she found out." Wonder how his dad would feel about it. He says his parents "constantly set him up with women they consider potential wives." You can have four, Samir! He watches his words at work, he doesn't want to "arouse the suspicion of colleagues."
There are cafes here, that are known to be "popular yag hangouts." Who knew?! He says he and his friends are "constantly wary of officers from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice... who patrol for and punish men they suspect of being yag." Look at the plus side, Samir. If you are together with another man and you are unrelated to him, you don't get in nearly as much trouble as you would get into if you were with an unrelated woman. Hotsteamymenonmenfornication is illegal in The Sandbox, but like rape, the "charge calls for four witnesses to make a case." How convenient. "Arrests... are far more than arbitrary. In a recent case they apprehended one man at a Jeddah shopping mall, suspecting he was yag from his tight jeans and fitted shirt." Is that how you can tell? Tight jeans? My jeans are tight, too. But I can assure you that I am not a part of that lifestyle. My jeans are tight because I have gained so much weight. I don't think that tight jeans should be the only measure of indicating what someone's lifestyle might be like. Solution: Don't wear jeans.
Samir says he has been "invited to private parties," but he doesn't go because if he were to get caught there would be big trouble. "Unless it's a VIP house -- if the party is at the home of one of the princes or one of the sheiks then you're protected." How could anyone tell if the party was strictly for yag men, here? Men and women are always segregated, even wedding parties are two separate functions - one party for the women, one party for the men. The article says, "In Saudi Arabia, where men and women are strictly separated, there is some space for yag life. Yag men can go cruising -- a term for picking up partners -- and socialize in male-only sections of cafes and restaurants. In line with xes-segregated social norms, yag lovers can often spend intimate time together without arousing suspicion." See? What did I just say.
Apparently there is quite an online community, here, for Samir and his buddies. There are "dozens of emerging Web forums." I had no idea. They would be blocked if Samir had the same internet as we have. [Need to get satellite internet!] Heck, whatever pictures were published with the article have been blocked, for me. Anyway, these online forums... "Some of the users there surf with screen names that specify their xesual role: 'top' or 'bottom.' machismo steers yag men toward the former." Ahmed [not his real name, either] says "The more masculine you are the more likely you are to label yourself as a 'top'." TMI. TMI! And, just like I said, "Web forums like [name of site] and [name of site] are inaccessible in many Arab countries, blocked by state-run web filtering software." [Unless, of course, you have satellite internet, or know how to use "proxy servers." I need to research this option - the whole proxy server thing. Even innocuous sites are often blocked. Like shoe sites. If the description of the shoe includes the word "xesy," it gets blocked.] The men [and many women, no doubt] here are, obviously, much less technically challenged than I am, because they know how to use these proxy servers to "get around the bans to the blocked sites" which connects them with others who choose the same lifestyle.
A blog out of Syria, "largely considered a repressed society" [more so that Saudi Arabia? is that even possible??] gives a "tourist's guide to yag hangouts in Damascus and Aleppo." All you need to have is good "yagdar." There is a great episode of The Office that deals with this, where Jim sends Dwight a "yagdar detector" [which, of course, is nothing more than a screening wand like they use at airports], and I tried to get to some of the quotes from that episode, but it is, of course, blocked, here. Oh thank you Websense, for once again protecting me from myself.
There are four hammams in Damascus where you can "play safely." Hmmph. Who knew! Hammams are bath houses. In San Francisco they are notorious for the same thing, playing... The Safwan Hotel in Lattakia is, supposedly, "the most famous yag-friendly hotel in the region." What did the hotel do to become known for that particular recognition, I wonder.
Samir surfs "the web forums and Facebook groups that connect him to the yag Arab world. But he does so with care, rearing that authorities will follow and flag yag activity online." A risk he, obviously, is willing to take. He doesn't seem to much care that "the government can track everything." Does it seem like he's paranoid? I don't think so. If he was so paranoid he wouldn't be surfing those sites, right? His paranoia, however, is "conditioned by horror stories of harsh crackdowns by Arab governments." Like I said. A risk he seems willing to take. "In Egypt, where police have systematically arrested and tortured [I thought only Americans tortured other people!] suspected 'yags,' vice squads have logged on to chat rooms posing as yag men." Ah ha. Entrapment. Hasn't everyone heard of 20/20? And, John Stossel? Guess not. "I was waiting for that guy I chatted with on the Internet... when I found four big guys [isn't that what you wanted in the first place - if not, then what were you doing in that chat room?] surrounding me, says one victim of police brutality, who was "set up on a false date." Awe. Isn't that too bad. He says, "I was dragged, almost carried to the police car... taken to [the station], the 'Adab Section,' which takes care of prostitution, raping and, recently yags." Human Rights Watch has "documented dozens of Web-based entrapments [see? what'd I say...] -- men arrested by Egyptian police then tormented [them] with beatings, electrocution and anal examinations." The article says that Egypt is "the San Francisco of the Middle East." I had no idea. The area has, since, lost much of its luster in that regard. "The pivot point was a mass arrest known as the 'Queen Boat' incident." Nope. You just can't make this stuff up.
The Queen Boat arrests "was a show trial -- forced confessions, some extracted under torture and a media circus designed to amplify public fear and maximize the government's political gain..." Sounds like something eerily familiar -- exactly what is happening in the States, right now, with the jeja at the helm and the pathetic group of minions working in the guise of reporters for the main stream media who worship the jeja's feet.
It is a lengthy article. Whatever pictures accompanied it were blocked for me. Once again, Websense saving me from myself. Oh, thank you. [Sarcasm, off.]
Commenter Linda was kind enough to provide me with the comments that were left at the site of the article; Websense didn't want me to hurt my own eyes and, once again, protected me from myself. Here is just a sample of the comments that were left:
"Hitler treated yags the same way. Assuming someone is yag because they wear tighht [sic] jeans and T-shirts --- and then arresting and torturing them -- is the sign of a very paranoid fascist society. Religion, the root of this prejudice, is an awful force for evil."
"What a HOOT! It only goes to show that people will be people regardless of how much of a thumb is placed on them to keep them in check. Total control is not possible and after all these centuries the Saudis still haven't learned this."
"If you feel sorry for these people because of being gay and not having their freedom given to them, then we will send them to you so they can get permit to get married and have their freedom here, let the US embassy issue them visas to stay here indefintely [sic], we do not need such people living in holy places..." [Umm, no. The U.S. doesn't want them, either.]
Plenty more there, at the site of the article.
Thanks a lot, Linda!
And, special thanks also to Tariq, who e-mailed me the article and brought it to my attention.