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(Last week it was hacked, the content temporarily replaced with the words "I hope you fucking die.") The site's recent unveiling was a critical step for the group like so many marginalized and secretive communities, gay Arabs found solace on the Internet, which allows them to interact, meet and converse while still retaining the crucial element of anonymity.
One of the most popular sites is gayarab.com, which was started by GLAS, the Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society.
"We don't have a lot of lesbians coming out to bars," Ramazzotti says. While they promote AIDS education (at each event they pass out HIV prevention literature printed in Arabic and distributed by ACCESS, although they're not officially affiliated with the group), their primary goal, for now, is social networking and increasing the visibility of gay Arabs.
"Our long-term goal is to be like a PFLAG-type group," Ramazzotti says, referring to the national organization called Parents Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays.
It's Saturday night and the place is slowly filling up with men of a variety of ages and races but this isn't any ordinary evening.
Tonight, the bar is playing host to Arabian Nights, a series of monthly events designed to validate and unite one of the most closeted communities in the area, and in the nation: Gay and lesbian Arabs.
The smoldering aroma is rising from a series of hookah pipes perched on glitter-flecked tables a rather odd juxtaposition in a beer-and-shot gay bar that's located on a desolate stretch of Seven Mile Road in Detroit.Zakharia adds that international news reports often draw huge attention to the plights of gay Arabs.In 2001, police raided a floating gay-friendly disco in Cairo ironically named the Queen Boat and arrested more than 50 men.Sebastian, 39, has just finished applying makeup to Haifa, an Arab female impersonator who'll be performing later tonight.Despite the darkened environ, Haifa sports rockstar shades on the tip of her nose.
Arabian Nights is orchestrated by AL-GAMEA, a group formed in 2004 by three gay Arab men dedicated to creating a forum for support, socialization, education and awareness, in an area that's home to the largest and most visible Arab-American community in the country.