Tunisia, Tunis. 02 December, 2016. A posted portrait of 29 year old, gender queer person Khookha (+216 52539395). When KhookhaÕs family discovered that he is an activist with Tunisian non-governmental womenÕs rights and LGBTQI+ organization Mawjoudui - We Exist, his mother asked that he see a psychologist to Òadjust my weird behaviour and heal me from abomination and mental disease.Ó The Psychologist said he was adopting female traits to show signs of weakness, a claim he flatly rejects. ÒI donÕt agree with my psychologist, everyone should have the right to experiment femininity and masculinity and every possible way of gender expression despite of the biological sex they were assigned to at birth.Ó Photo Robin Hammond /NOOR for Witness Change.  The Tunisian Revolution, also known as the Jasmine Revolution, was an intensive campaign of civil resistance, including a series of street demonstrations taking place in Tunisia, and led to the ousting of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. It eventually led to a thorough democratization of the country and to free and democratic elections. Tunisian LGBTQI+ community hoped that the revolution would usher in a more open society, and an end to homophobia and transphobia. This has not come to pass. The laws that target LGBTQI+ people remain, most notably article 230 which makes same-sex acts illegal, punishable by up the 3 years in prison. Transgender people are targeted under public decency laws. The general public is no more accepting of LGBTQI+ people than they were before the revolution. Despite the legal and societal discrimination, LGBTQI+ activists are dedicated to campaigning more openly.

Khoukha /

“When my mum learned that I was an LGBTQI+ rights defender, she asked me about my sexuality/sexual orientation, then she wanted me to see a psychologist to help me adjust my weird behavior and heal me from abomination and mental disease. I refused and then after a while I decided to please her by doing that. I thought that the psychologist would understand, but she ended up concluding that I have adopted a feminine position to show my family signs of weakness to avoid conflicts and escape from domestic violence. While growing up, I witnessed my sister getting beated for being a bold girl, resistant and rebellion.

Personally I don’t think women are meant to be weak, I don’t agree with my psychologist, everyone should have the right to experiment femininity and masculinity and every possible way of gender expression despite of the biological sex they were assigned to at birth. Gender is a social construct, individuals should have the right to build and express their gender identity the way they want. I wear make up because it makes me explore new aesthetics, I fall in love with fancy fabrics, glittery textures. Transformation makes me feel free from norms and boundaries make me feel me, a human being experimentally and with beautiful things and trying to satisfy my aspirations and desires. Still a gender-queer person in my country faces daily harassment and persecution and is allowed to have control of his body. Usually feminine males are assimilated to homosexuals.”

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