#24 2017

The Neighborhood Mirror

>> This morning Angy is sitting in front of Mimi, her beautiful mirror. She hardly ever leaves the tiny room where she lives, down amongst the rubbish at the far end of the shantytown. She’s got a tube of foundation in one hand and an old makeup brush in the other. <<

LGBT and Free Expression

Sarah Clarke from PEN International on the global free expression threat against LGBT individuals,  a growing area of PEN's work. Learn more about how writers in different countries are being silenced, attacked and

The Worst Days of Our Lives

Award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter Anton Yarush on anti-gay propaganda and the alarming situation for LGBT-people in today's Russia. 

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.

My.Kali: 10 Years of a Public Fight

My.Kali was born from the need for expression, reflection and the demand of LGBT people to be acknowledged as human. This is the story of Khalid Abdel-Hadi, the founder of My.Kali, when he was singled out by Jordanian media

My.Kali: A Novel To Remember

Antonia Kreissl meets the writer Saleem Haddad in a conversion on identity, gender, sexuality and on how the novel can be a part of forming a queer, cosmopolitan identity. 


To be silent is to say we are not alive

Romeo Oriogun is a poet from Nigeria, a country where homosexuality is criminalised and can give up to fourteen years of prison. In Nigeria, the publishing of queer texts is restricted and even if voices such as Oriogun's makes the

Lesbian Love in the Land of Fear

“Was is worth your while to go through all this when you could silently love women?”, Dr. Iman Al-Ghafari, ICORN guest writer, about the conditions for love in surveillance cultures. 


Yasaman R. Choube was born in Iran and now lives in exile. For the Dissent blog she has written a moving story about love, oppression and loss.

Homosexuals in Algeria: From Self-Hating to Sexual Apartheid

Anouar Rahmani is writer, activist and blog under the headline ‘Diary of an unusual Algerian’. He writes about the lives of LGBT-people in Algeria and how literature can break stereotypes. 


The City of White Shadows

Anouar Rahmani risks jail time because of what he writes. The Dissident blog publish an extract from one of the texts that is currently being investigated by the authorities. The City of White Shadows is an historical novel

Language and rights in Iranian Queer community

Sina Kiani is a documentary filmmaker and photographer from Iran, with human rights and LGBT perspectives as main topics. For the Dissident blog Kiani gives an analysis of the situation for LGBT organisations in Iran. 

People who love

Some people want to organize the world according to their own longing for order and their own definition of purity, as if there is only one way of expressing love, one way to live, one single way of forming a family - just one way of being human. Some people assume it to be their right to be violent towards others, believing that only one right exists, only one thought is acceptable, only one opinion, one belief, and only one sexual identity. This is inhumane. It is cruel, it is unintelligent and it is also contrary to universal human rights. In this edition of the Dissident Blog, Swedish PEN touches upon this painful reality.


We are proud to present some of today’s courageous, angry and loving voices such as Max Lobe, a celebrated writer from Cameroon, living in Switzerland; Romeos Oriogun, a much loved award-winning poet from Nigeria; Dr Iman Al-Ghafari, from Syria but who sees her homeland in the heart of a woman. We have collaborated with the Jordanian online magazine “My.Kali”, which defines its profile as “LGTBQIA-inclusive”. A magazine that is constantly blocked by the Jordanian authorities. Through this collaboration we are gaining insight into what it's like to be queer and Arabic at the same time. And we publish texts by Algerian author Anouar Rahmani. He is threatened with imprisonment for insulting Islam in his novel Jibril's Hallucination - a crime that can incarcerate him for five years. 


Earlier this year, the Russian filmmaker Anton Yarush´s film “Closeness” was selected to compete at the Cannes Film Festival. On November 15th, on Imprisoned Writer's Day, he came to Stockholm to speak in front of a large audience about his work and the situation for LGBT issues in Russia and in the former Soviet Union. He cried when he held the speech and so did we who listened to it.