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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 16, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 11
Syrian newspaper says Gays 'infest' society
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Syrian newspaper says Gays 'infest' society

by Mike Andrew SGN Staff Writer Gay Syrians are 'social germs' who 'have infested our society and took the opportunity to strike once the first signs of weakness appeared,' Baladna newspaper said. They are 'prospering' because of the mass uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, the newspaper added.

Baladna is an independent, privately owned paper based in Damascus.

In an article published in Arabic on February 21, the newspaper said the uprising 'gave homosexuals a freedom they would've never dreamt of.'

While the Assad regime's feared Mukhabarat secret police would have arrested Gays at popular cruising locations, coping with the uprising is now taking up all their time, the article says. As a result, Gays are 'proliferating' unchecked.

According to Baladna, Gay refugees fleeing areas affected by fighting - Homs, Hamah, and Idlib, for example - have flooded the metropolitan cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

Since March 2011, the number of Syrian members in a popular online Gay dating site has increased from 20,000 to 100,000 members, Baladna claimed.

While the website is not identified by name, it is presumed to be ManJam, which claims to be based in Syria. According to PinkNews reporter Radwan Bassam, who translated the Baladna article into English, the number of members on ManJam does not exceed 10,000.

The three-page article also gives its readers hints on how to recognize Gay people.

'A loose wrist, a noticeable way of using the fingers, sitting and crossing the legs together in a feminine manner, and an interest in gossip and whispers are among homosexuals' main distinctive features,' Baladna said.

The article also describes the slang used by members of the underground Gay community and includes an interview with two male prostitutes describing how their business has flourished since the beginning of the revolt last year.

One of the prostitutes, called 'Dandan' in the article, reportedly agreed to speak with the newspaper for an undisclosed amount of money to get revenge on another sex worker who 'betrayed' him.

The other, identified only by his initials, claimed that he recruits European male models to 'perform' for rich Persian Gulf clients.

The article recounts the story of a Syrian dentist who claimed he turned Gay after he was raped while studying in Russia.

'One night, I was staying with a friend of mine and we got drunk,' the dentist is quoted as saying.

'He and his friends, five of them, locked the door and took turns raping me. At first, I was filled with a destructive, humiliating feeling but the pleasure was overwhelming and I suddenly recognized what I was missing. I then started sleeping with any guy I can get!'

Three Lesbians are also interviewed. Their slang is different from that used by Gay men, according to Baladna. The article says one of them is married, the second was raped, and the third turned Lesbian because she feared her father would kill her - in a so-called 'honor killing' - if he found out she was having premarital sex with a man.

The article includes a survey claiming that 26 out of the 50 Gay men that the newspaper interviewed were raped as children, while 10 lived in a household dominated by the mother or with an absent father, and 14 stated that they were born females in male bodies.

The survey included 23 women, 18 of whom reportedly 'learned' Lesbianism at school, while five were raped as children and had been disgusted with men ever since.

The article concludes with a Syrian Justice Department official stating that marriage rates have fallen to one-third of the previous total over the past year. Besides perilous economic conditions, the increasing convenience of meeting Gays is the cause, the official concludes.

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