Desiring Arabs

According to historian and intellectual Joseph Massad, Arab cultural traditions
have always included a measure of tolerance for same-gender sex practices, without
recognising a separate socio-sexual categorisation for those who engage in such
practices. Recently, however, there has been an attempt by certain Westerners
and Westernised Arabs to universalise arbitrary and exclusivist sexual identities,
including heterosexuality and (more problematically) homosexuality. This
initiative has caused a backlash in Arab countries against those who identify
themselves as homosexual – an identity associated by many Arabs with Western
cultural imperialism – but also against people who engage in same-gender sex
without considering themselves homosexual.

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