Khookha McQueer, Tunisian drag artist (second in a series)

Tunisian trans woman Khookha McQueer, formerly a prominent figure on the Arab queer scene, is one of the people highlighted in the exhibit “Habibi, The Revolutions of Love” currently on display at the Arab World Institute in Paris. (Second in a three-part series).


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Khookha McQueer autoportrait 3 (Photo courtesy of Khookha McQueer)

 

Khookha McQueer autoportrait 5 (Photo courtesy of Khookha McQueer)

An excerpt from an article on “Being Queer in the Arab World”, which reviews some of the exhibited works by 23 artists from the Arab-Muslim world, Afghanistan and Iran:

Khookha McQueer’s militant hashtags

Hashtag “drag”, “feminist”, “non-binary”. A few metres away from [Lebanese photographer and director Mohamad] Abdouni’s works, Khookha McQueer takes over, with prints of her Instagram publications and hashtags in 30-point font as captions.

Sometimes dressed in a corset, sometimes adorned with long blue hair that matches her beard, sometimes naked under a jewelled ensemble, the Tunisian performer is also navigating between the genre’s territory. And she does it from her country, Tunisia, where the LGBTQ community is marginalised and mistreated.

“She is one of those artists using digital technology to dematerialise the physical and political relationship to space, who create another space for encounters,” says [Élodie Bouffard, the exhibition’s curator]. Beyond national laws, social networks offer artists a wider space for expression, a place to archive memory – a parallel world.

“Khookha McQueer is an iconic figure on the Arab queer scene. She is very well known in the Maghreb and beyond, and has even worked on a dictionary of queer language in Arabic,” says the curator.

Khookha McQueer autoportrait 4 (Photo courtesy of Khookha McQueer)

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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