Khalid Abdel-Hadi told Gay Star News a desire to bring accurate representation to the Middle East was the motivation behind the cover.
“We believe that the trans community is the least heard, the least reflected, and the most needed of attention. We also believe that the courage he showed in sharing his story will bring hope, positivity, and awareness to the issue: We are proud to project Rashed’s voice.”
The co-creative of Rashed’s shoot, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, shooting Rashed topless was important.
For the first time, a transgender man is featured on the cover of an Arabic gay magazine, the model is breaking the stigma and showing his scars and nipples with pride in a strong cover.
“Trans people are almost always kept behind-the-scenes, dismissed as “not marketable” or “too controversial. We wanted to show the support we have for each other. Because we know that it hurts to see our creativity praised while our bodies are co-opted and full selves disregarded in the media. It’s time we focused on the body in itself”, the photograher told Gay Star News.
“We wanted to emphasize that Rashed’s transition allows his bust to now be shown freely because he falls into the binary and the irony of the media politics! Many media will allow images of men’s nipples but not women’s nipples.
“To love your body is a struggle in a world that insists on you being ugly, undesirable and perverse!”
My.Kali is a webzine published by the Jordanian model, and gay advocate, Khalid ‘Kali’ Abdel-Hadi. The English language version launched online in 2007, but it was first published in 2006 in Arabic.
The bravery of creating a gay magazine in a place where being gay can get you prosecuted has been spreading attention and criticism in the Middle East, the founder received even death threats as a result of his work in favour of the LGBT+ community.
“One major issue the LGBT+ community faces in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region is misrepresentation by local media,” said Abdel-Hadi.
“Dehumanizing and sensationalist stories that dehumanize us as a community lie at one end of the spectrum, and the lack of acknowledgement or of objective/neutral stories lie at the other.
“A second and related issue is the lack of personal stories of lived experience. This is why Rashed’s story is so significant!
“To recover the ownership of your body is a mythical work that must be highlighted, and for Rashed to own his body despite all the difficult circumstances that he went through and telling me so while smiling as if it all happened to him in a dream, a dream he woke up from winning!”
Abdel-Hadi managed to avoid censure and prosecution of My.Kali because it is only available online. The Jordanian authorities have the requisite for any print publications, it must be registered with them, however, the webzine is free of the requirements that could censure its content.
It is not the first time that a trans person is featured in My.Kali’s cover, the webzine featured a trans woman before, boosting the trans representation now with a trans male on the cover.
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