Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East

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University of California Press, 2006 - History - 264 pages
"I enjoyed and learnt much from Brian Whitaker's book, which is excellent. It was inspirational to me on the challenges to international law, and the uses of nationalism to suppress dissent within countries." - Fred Halliday, London School of Economics

"It is high time this issue was brought out of the closet once and for all, and afforded a frank and honest discussion. Brian Whitaker's humane, sophisticated, and deeply rewarding book, Unspeakable Love, does exactly that." - Ali Al-Ahmed, Saudi reform advocate and director of the Gulf Institute, Washington

"This book is a compelling read. It captures with detail and with disturbing accuracy the difficulties and dangers facing lesbians and gay men across the Middle East. It helps us to understand the social pressure, the sense of isolation, the anxiety and fear and trauma. And through it all we glimpse also the possibility of hope, of remarkable courage, and perhaps even in the longer term the chance of a more open and accepting society." - Chris Smith MP, Former UK Secretary of State for Culture

"Brian Whitaker has given us a moving analysis of the hidden lives of Arab homosexuals. This genuinely groundbreaking investigation reveals a side of Arab and Muslim culture shrouded by the strictest taboos. Arab societies can no longer contain their cultural, religious, ethnic or sexual diversity within their traditional patriarchal definitions of the public sphere. Anyone interested in reform in the Arab world must read this book." - Mai Yamani, Research Fellow at Chatham House and author of Cradle of Islam

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UNSPEAKABLE LOVE: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East

User Review  - Kirkus

The distressing, archaic treatment of Middle Eastern homosexuals is addressed in straightforward, documentary fashion.The persecution of homosexuals, described in Lebanese as "shawaadh" ("perverts ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - librorumamans - LibraryThing

It’s hard to assign a star-rating to this book – could be three stars, or it could be five, depending on the reader. The subtitle (Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East) misled me. Because the ... Read full review


A Note on Terminology
A Question of Honour
In Search of a Rainbow
Images and Realities
Rights and Wrongs
Should I Kill Myself?
Sex and Sensibility
Paths to Reform

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About the author (2006)

Brian Whitaker is the Middle East Editor of the Guardian.

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