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Articles tagged "Lgbt"

“Infidels”  by Abdellah Taïa

In the wake of this month’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, pundits from across the political spectrum have argued over the language used to describe and understand the fraught cultural, social, and political stakes surrounding this horrific act of violence. To some, the shooting is an act of radical Islamic terrorism. For others, the Orlando attack is better understood as the zenith of a wave of deadly mass shootings fueled by a gun culture run...

Ney Boulevard: To Translate Before the Text Even Existed

Lida Nosrati knew that some time ago I had started a short story with a gay character in it. So when Words Without Borders asked her to submit a story in translation by an Iranian writer for the LGBT issue, she asked me if that story was finished. This was during the December 2012 holidays, when I was visiting her in Canada. We had a long conversation about what an international readership expects from an LGBT-themed story set in Iran. I suggested writing a story that challenged the...

Two Takes on May-December

In Cristina Peri Rossi's "Ne me quitte pas," a fortysomething psychiatrist finds a patient's romantic anguish reflects his own insecurity about his teenaged lover. As the patient describes the pain of leaving his wife, the psychiatrist broods: how can this gorgeous, indefatigable boy be content with someone his father's age? For a darker take on the May-December theme, see Andrés Barba's wrenching "Nocturne", from our December 2007 Partings issue. The middle-aged...

Ne Me Quitte Pas

“I can’t seem to remember her,” the man said in anguish. “I can’t remember her face or her body or her voice—that voice that I once adored. I have this mental image that her voice was pleasing, but the sound isn’t there. Do you understand? How can you be in love with someone whom you can’t seem to remember? We’ve only been separated for six months.” (The psychologist jotted something down in his notepad that passed unnoticed by...

Death

The day Gianni was killed I’d just unpacked from a trip to Cartagena, where I’d gone to tan my beautiful body because I look flawless tanned. So I called my pilot friend who works for ACES to ask when he was flying to Cartagena next, to see if he could get me on a flight for free, and he—such a charming man and a beefy daddy—called his friends at the airline right then and got me tickets, and I was able to go to Cartagena for a weekend and stay with a friend from...

Snakes, Husbands, Ashalota, and Us

Ashalota’s arrival in our lives occurred when, trying to rescue ourselves from our fear of snakes, we were stifling in the clutches of our husbands. Who isn’t afraid of snakes? Our husbands assure us. They say, “Why are you afraid of snakes? We’re here!” Their words make us laugh. “What brave men!” we say. Excited, they rear up and spread their hoods, display forked tongues as they coil around us. Husbands are snakes, not human. Human, not snakes....

The Christmas Tree

Someone had placed a giant tree in the hotel lobby, a pine made of unrecyclable plastics. We’re in a strange land and Christmas is nearing. We see these things with a particular disdain, a particular apathy of islanders steeped in a system that alternates beauty with politics. Christmas, for us, is nothing more than faint nostalgia, our mothers’ childhoods, the tree in the corner of a color photo from cousins in Miami, the wool purse brought by someone from Russia when the...

The Algerian and the Moroccan

This is my private diary from the year 2002. A large notebook of ninety-six pages with a deep-blue cover. I had lost it. I found it yesterday while cleaning, forgotten, abandoned for I don’t know how long behind my dresser. In the middle of this notebook there was, there is, an envelope on the back of which is written this title: “The Algerian and the Moroccan.” I knew what it contained. Words, words written as a couple, the Algerian and me. The tale of our...

Moving Like Geckos

I study him while he smokes, lying back, arm behind his head. I watch him release the smoke, breathe it back in and out, thinner now. He’s focused on something in the room but I can’t tell what, maybe my family photos—my mother, my father, the twins—or maybe the cubist still-life painting Donatella gave me. Or maybe he’s not looking at anything at all, just as high as his eyes can reach in this room that’s only twenty meters square. I study him, study...

Life without Me

What hurts me in all this is that my parents will be forced to bury me before themselves. I feel guilt gnawing at me. I do not know who vomited out this hypothesis, in between the cheap maxims and philosophies that this world is full of, made out of them this red line, the  extent of how appalling fate and its like are capable of being in what they suggest to us: How harsh it is for a father to bury one of his sons . . . This is what Walaa, who worked the job of a...

She

The single kiss That made the worlds freeze With bated breath, tasting of a tear’s salt Is all hers.   Love sowed its blue stars On our private night Covered by a phallic sky. The blood-river that flowed once the body opened Wet the sky through. Wearing pieces of moon, Invisible in light on our bodies, We left for our habitual nests In the final seconds of darkness . . .   Peals of laughter Lie scattered on my bedspread This early dawn.   What is...

The Story of a Homosexual: An Interview with Ni Dongxue

I met Ni Dongxue in 2006, in a quiet and nicely decorated gay bar through two musician friends who played in a band there. The bar is located in the city’s Moziqiao region, a popular nightlife spot. A pioneer and recognized leader in Chengdu’s gay community, the then-thirty-six-year-old Ni graduated from Beijing Teachers’ University with a master’s degree in psychology. Ni wore heavy makeup and a bright yellow shirt. He said he visited the place every week to...

Sergeant Garcia

In memory of Luiza Felpuda I “Hermes!” The whip cracked against the worn wood of the table. Louder, almost shouting, almost angrily, he repeated: “I called Hermes! Which of you numbnuts is that?” I stepped forward from the back of the room. “I am.” “I am, Sergeant, Sir. Repeat!” Naked like me, the others were watching. The only sound was of the rusty ceiling fan blades turning, but I knew they were laughing quietly, nudging one...

from “Inside a Girl Like You”

October 27, 2006 Tamara, I’m writing to send you my new address. In case you’re still getting mail for me, you can forward it here: Katina Mela, Erodiou 8 (off Euripidou), Athens. I’ll find out the zip code and send that, too. The apartment here is smaller than ours, the main bedroom is more or less connected to the living room. Well, it’s separated by a sliding door, but you can hear everything if someone’s in the living room. (Not that there’s...

from “The Fool”

The Fool (Głupiec, 2005) is set in contemporary Olsztyn, author Ewa Schilling's hometown in northeastern Poland. Alina is a thirty-year-old high school teacher and the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, who taught her that   " feelings are dangerous. " Dangerous, indeed: She falls in love—  "without sense, "   " without a chance  " —with her dynamic young student, Anka. While exceptionally mature, Anka is still months from graduation. With precise,...

from “Man Angel”

Endless, the levee. Endless, the dead straight path. Endless, the whirring of the bicycle tires on the asphalt, the whistling of the wind in their ears and the high, bare, immutable blue of the sky over their heads. Endless, the blazing hole of the sun, the shimmer of the heat over the fields and the cruelty of midsummer in the afternoon, when the greasy coating of sweat, dust, and sunscreen begins to drip from their faces onto the handlebars, and each revolution of the pedals climbs with...

from “Diary”

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The following article contains scenes depicting nudity and sexual situations. Reader discretion is advised.

from “Baby Jane”

The office building across the street lit up like a Christmas tree every morning. The fluorescent lights chased each other pling-pling-pling, lighting up from one room to the next, pulling the people along after them. I watched the same performance every morning while smoking a cigarette in my robe at Joonatan’s unpleasantly sun-filled window. I only woke up that early if Joonatan was going to work. I didn’t have to wake up, but I did anyway, got out of bed, put high-strength...

from “Soul Mate”

My father-in-law, Feibush, arrived unannounced at my doorstep in the middle of the week. I was writing out a mezuzah and so, fortunately, my cabinet of secular books was closed. Feibush’s eyes brightened when he saw the parchment, the quill in my hand, and the large yarmulke upon my head. Only when his gaze rested upon the closed book cabinet did a kind of cloud descend over his face. I suspected that he knew full well what trials and tribulations hid upon those shelves. And though...

Just Gone to Bed

Just gone to bed Oh well, not turning the light on Barefoot Jerking the shin back from the cold rim And nothing Something gripes inside and However I strain doesn’t come Remembered in horror M.P. telling how adenoma they reach it with a cutter through the urethra good gracious to the bathroom not feeling the pain hit the toes against the door jamb okay okay here’s a toothbrush with aero- dynamic handle squatting push it furiously into the rear up and down...

Damned Spring

Before Vanessa, I had other girlfriends, but none of them was memorable or worthy of appearing in my scrapbook. Actually, I never needed a confidante because I had an imaginary one. Sometimes I talked to Tatum O'Neal, a redheaded actress I admired for her role as a precocious adolescent capable of falling in love with Richard Burton, who was old enough to be her grandfather. Vanessa was the first girl, and possibly the last, who earned the right to be a part of my world. She began to...

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