Women and Folk Talk Life after Migration
Date(s) - 03/06/2021
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
About this Event
Join us in ‘(Be)Longing: Queer SWANA Women and Folk Talk Life after Migration’ for an open and safe conversation alongside a panel featuring queer and trans women, agender, and non-binary folks from South West Asia and North Africa as they share their unique experiences navigating their identities and relationship with faith, family, and migration.
The struggles of being LGBTQIA2S+ from the South West Asia and North Africa region cannot be downplayed; while no single identity experiences the exact same hardships, it often leads to the same forces of violence and marginalization against our communities.
Structures of intergenerational misogyny and homophobia that dominate our society render us as outcasts, and deviants. This attempt to other and alienate us makes it immensely difficult to find belonging and community, which remains true even in our interconnected world.
This event aims to challenge these very forces–we wish to create a space together that paves the way for support and healing to catalyze hard conversations while also leaving participants with a sense that a better future is possible. Our panellists are trailblazers who foster digital communities built with trust for queer folks from SWANA*. They have navigated immigration, healthcare systems, their relationships to faith and continue to contend with what it means to belong, in a world that questions their right to exist. We invite you to join us as we approach these challenging subjects that dictate our lives, while we imagine what it means to live in a better, more just world.
*The reason the team behind (Be)Longing has chosen to use the term SWANA is because other categorizations of this region often fail to encompass the huge diversity of ethnicities, religions and cultures that reside here. They also often are derived from Eurocentric and colonial attempts of conquest. To learn more about this, check out the information provided from the SWANA collective–we thank the folks from SWANA alliance for their work and further information on this term.
This event will be hosted on Zoom as a Webinar. Attendees identity and names will not be visible to the public.
Introducing our Panelists
Dalia is an Egyptian LGBT+ who grew up in Saudi Arabia and was raised Salafist. Her journey in activism started in 2012 as an editor of a LGBT platform called Ahwaa. Dalia worked both, independently and in collaboration with other feminist organizations on ground to help lgbtq+ individuals as well as doing advocacy.
Together with other activists, she started a digital initiative/project called Solidarity with Egypt LGBT+ that mainly focused on highlighting the lgbtq+ struggle and shedding the light on it from socio-political angle. Dalia is also one on the members of NoH8 Egypt Initiative, which is a creative content page that focuses on human rights in general and minorities rights in specific.
In 2017, Dalia was featured on a Buzzfeed video after coming out publicly under the headline “Most Hated Lesbian in Egypt”.
Dalia is one of a very few outspoken Lesbians who come from the SWANA. She continues to do her work as an activist and advocate despite living abroad (Stockholm, Sweden).
Lama is a queer Arab nonbinary writer and activist based in Toronto. They graduated from the University of Toronto, where they studied English literature, Philosophy and Bioethics. They are currently working as a Data journalist doing work on language access. When they’re not at work they’re volunteering as one of the operations conduits for Marginalized Majority a Queer Migrant/BIPOC community based organization or writing poetry. They are a community builder and organizer, they believe art and language are some of the major ways we create space for ourselves and our stories. Lama is dedicated to creating space for the QTBIPOC community and amplifying their voices.
Iman Le Clair
Iman Le Caire is a Transgender Artist and Humanitarian.
She was born Ayman Kassem in Cairo (Egypt). She was enjoying a career as a Contemporary Dancer at the Cairo Opera House and a Choreographer when she had to flee Egypt in order to avoid persecution. She moved to the US in 2008 where she was granted political asylum.
She got married in 2014. She lives with her husband in New York City, where she is an artist, dancer, actor and LGBTQ+ and Asylum activist.
She is a beloved face in the New York City, Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove LGBTQ+ communities.
2019 was a pivotal year when Iman got her first on-screen acting part as Layla in The Shuroo Process movie, written and directed by Emrhys Cooper, currently in post-production.
The pandemic, the death of George Floyd, the months of protests Iman joined in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter movements, however put on hiatus what she had been dreaming of for such a long time, a 100% dedication of her time and energy to become an actor.
Instead, in the midst of the turmoil this country had to cope with and a global pandemic, Iman got herself embarked on the humanitarian mission to save Trans women and men who are persecuted in their home countries, help them escape and find refuge in a trans-friendly country where they will be granted asylum and protection.
Norma Lize, a transgender activist and advocate from the Middle East. Her activism started when she was studying journalism and communication arts which led to her involvement with the LGBTQIA2S+ organizations in the MENA region and around the world. Her lived experience, work in Media and in the Non-profit sector helped her to raise the voice about LGBTQIA2S+ issues around the world. Since her relocation to Vancouver, she continues to fight for the rights of the trans* community. She is the Sponsorship Coordinator at Rainbow Refugee, a Peer Facilitator at Mosaic and a co trainer at QMUNITY. Norma worked on developing training materials to help raise awareness in work places and communities.
This event is co-created by ArtLink and Women Transforming Cities
ArtLink is a women-led community-based organization with the goal to build a stronger arts + culture community in the city of Vancouver. We work to tackle cultural silos in Vancouver by empowering existing local arts and culture organizations and amplifying their impact. We work towards this by facilitating programs and events that work to foster collaboration and build capacity within the local creative community.
This event is supported by UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning’s Chapman Grant.
We acknowledge that our work takes place on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Wherever you may be tuning in from, we encourage you to think about the land on which you are situated and your relationship to it.
About Women Transforming Cities
Women Transforming Cities is a nonprofit organization based in Vancouver, Canada that works to educate, promote awareness and take action on issues such as affordable housing, violence against women, leadership, electoral reform, aboriginal women’s priorities, and the environment. We examine the impact different public policies will have on women and girls using an equity / intersectional lens that includes sex, race, gender, and income.
We advocate for collecting and using gender-disaggregated data so that policies, programs, budgets, funding, staffing, and governance are developed to reflect our diverse realities. We want women and girls to be engaged as decision-makers, as elected officials, workers, planners, mothers and informed citizens to transform our cities to be more equitable and democratic for all.
We ask: what changes can cities make to improve the lives of women and girls?