In September 2007, during his visit to Columbia University in New York City, Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited to participate in a debate to address the United Nations General Assembly. It was then when he famously stated “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals. In Iran, we don’t have this phenomenon. I don’t know who has told you we have it”. Although the statement was met with sarcastic laughter from the audiences, it goes deeper than being only a bigoted assumption. It solely implies the nonexistence of a group of people and if you don’t exist, you cannot claim any rights.
Gayrabia comes to challenge this political fabrication and give voice to the unrepresented LGBTQ+ minority in the Arabic region in particular, and in the wider Islamic Middle East in general. The short film aims to raise awareness and correct stereotypes associated with Islam as a homophobic religion. It also attempts to remind LGBTQ+ people around the world that the riots which took place in Stonewall bar in New York City 50 years ago, haven’t yet achieved its full potential.
Director’s Biography – Kareem Sleem
Kareem Sleem is an aspiring Filmmaker from Alexandria, Egypt. He has been calling the UK home since July 2016. He believes in the enormous power of media thus his work centres around raising awareness, giving voice to the voiceless and influencing human behaviour in an attempt to spark flames of cultural and societal change.