Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gay novelist stands up in Morocco

Moroccan Novelist Abdellah Taia is the first writer to come out as something that he is but is not accepted by his country.

A homosexual.

As a country run by Islamic law, Morocco bans homosexuality. An offense that carries a punishment of six months to three years in prison. Like alcohol consumption, which is also banned by Islamic law, offenders may not face persecution if the behavior is not outwardly flaunted.

Taia, who knew he was gay from age 13, grew up poor in the coastal city of Sale. He was educated in French literature at the University level in Morocco before moving to Paris to pursue a doctorate degree.

His second book "Le Rouge du Tarbouche” (The Red of the Fez), was the first one to mention his homosexuality. It is his autobiographical account of his life in Paris.

In 2007, when Taia openly expressed his homosexuality in an interview with TelQuel, an independent Moroccan weekly, he became notorious at home.

He still spends much time in Morocco, despite the scandal and attributes his lack of persecution to the fact that he is a writer published by big French houses.

He feels his country is slowly moving toward more tolerance.

Taia says, “Despite some regression in Morocco, over the last 10 years there have been extraordinary things in terms of declarations of personal freedoms by many parts of Moroccan society.”

It take people like this who are not afraid to stand up for what they are to make changes in a society.

Especially when what those people are may not be accepted by the some members of that society. Change can happen when people start confronting issues of a changing world.

Read more about Taia in the full post.