“Back in 2015, I came across Where Love is Illegal. I decided to share my story then…During the years after, I became involved in queer rights activism and became more open about who I am with those I love.”

Jordan copy


“I had my first kiss when I was 17, I was not experimenting.. I was in love. We stayed together for 9 years and struggled by keeping our love and relation in the shadow”


The Veiled Truth/

“My mother calls me gay when she wants to tell me that i am sick, and then after it she asks if i am ill or if there is something wrong with me, as if her remark on me being gay is not enough emphasis for her that i am -in her opinion- sick and got something wrong going on in me.”

A posed portrait of Khalaf Yousef Ibrahim Abu Khalaf. 40 year old Khalaf from Amman, Jordan, is a gay man who has been living in Beirut, Lebanon since May 2014. “I came here escaping my family. After I came out, my older brother came to my house with three of my other brothers. He showed me a gun and said ‘you destroyed the honor of our family, be prepared to die’. They beat me – they kicked and punched me, I lost a lot of blood from my nose.” Khalaf is from the Bedouin tribe where family honor is considered very important. His brothers went downstairs to his parent’s house and started talking about how they plan to kill Khalaf. Their plans were overheard by Khalaf’s wife and mother who were next door. His wife came upstairs, pale and sobbing: “Your brothers want to kill you – wait until they have left, take your passport and papers and leave!” “I was really afraid. I thought my family would have a bad reaction, but not to kill me!” Khalaf’s wife knew he was gay, he had told her five months previously. But he came out publicly in April 2014 “I came out on a channel on YouTube. It was an interview with an Egyptian guy. They interviewed me and uploaded it on GooglePlus. All my family and everyone who knows me saw the interview. For the first time I accepted myself, for the first time in my life the real Khalaf was talking to the world. Before I had two faces, the secret one, and the one I used everyday.” “When I was 30 I told a Sheikh (Imam) about my sexuality, and he advised me to get married – that this is the devil doing this stuff - so I got married.” “I thought I was alone. I used to have these feelings for men but I thought I was the only one. I had no idea that there were other people who had the same feelings. I had no idea about even the name of this thing.” “My wife knew I was gay, but she still loved me, even now we are divorced she still loves me. The worst part of the story is I feel I was unfair to her.” Khalaf


“my older brother came to my house. He showed me a gun and said ‘you destroyed the honor of our family, be prepared to die’.”