My.Kali: Open Letter to Jordanian MP Dima Tahboub
Right now the site My.Kali is being blocked by Jordan authorities. My.Kali is a magazine and one of the most important LGBTQ+ platforms in the MENA-region.
Dear Madam MP Tahboub,
We would like to take this opportunity to formally introduce ourselves: We are the My.Kali family.
My.Kali is a shared blog — or as we like to loosely call it, a magazine — featuring contributions from MENA writers, photographers, bloggers and artists from all walks of life. The group includes a number of living, breathing Jordanian citizens who care about issues of human rights, social justice, and feminism. LGBTQ+ issues of course fall under this umbrella. Contrary to what some sources claim, we are not a political news source. We don’t report on the domestic or international politics of the Kingdom. In fact, our material encompasses alternative topics ranging from art and music to gender and social minority issues.
That said, we take all issues of human rights very seriously and hope that this ongoing dialogue can result in a positive outcome for various segments of Jordanian society, including LGBTQ+ members. Along with voicing our opinions through the magazine, we vote, pay taxes and electricity bills, work normal boring jobs, spend time with our families, and complain about the weather and traffic, just like all Jordanians.
As a woman representing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Action Front, your position is important to all women in both the private and public spheres. With that in mind, it’s your responsibility to respectfully consider the opinions of other Jordanians, especially when they don’t align with your own. The state of freedom of speech in Jordan is among the worst on the planet, and getting worse. In 2017 Jordan dropped to number 138 on the World Press Freedom Index. Rather than promoting opportunities for open dialogue among our diverse population, the Jordanian Media Commission unfortunately contributes to this decline by allowing itself to be dragged into emotionally charged political campaigns.
With regard to your efforts to block My.Kali, we felt you might be interested to know that the magazine has been blocked in Jordan since July 14, 2016, due to the incitement of sensationalist media. My.Kali didn’t speak out about the incident at the time, preferring not to stir up an international media storm or challenge Jordan’s Media Commission at the time. But now that the storm has found us, we welcome the opportunity to clarify that recent inquiries had zero influence on the blocking of our magazine.
As we’ve seen before, public demonization of the LGBTQ+ community will undermine public health and safety, encouraging physical violence against a vulnerable group of Jordanians. As we all aspire for a Jordan that is safe for all — a country governed by the rule of law, justice, and pluralism — we believe that we must begin to live and let live, thrive and let thrive, accept and be accepted.
Democracy gave you the seat to fight for the things you and your constituents believe in. We only ask that you give all Jordanians the space to exercise our opinions in the same way. We are all unique and bound to be different (just like all humans in any functional society), but we must all be free to express those differences regardless of what we believe in. Diversity makes nations stronger, not weaker.
We hope that your time in Parliament helps Jordan become a better and safer country free from extremism and intolerance.
The My.Kali Family