August 5, 2021

Hind Al-Eryani, spokesperson for the LGBTQ + community in Yemen

Younger, Hind Al-Eryani was one of those who constantly sought the approval of others. For years, she walked with her head down, hiding her femininity and behaving as one would expect of a woman in a patriarchal society like Yemen. Today, this 42-year-old journalist and activist is one of the main spokespersons for LGBTQ + in her country. His texts contribute to awareness of this community. With its help, several of its most vulnerable members were able to leave Yemen to seek refuge abroad.

“A lot of people from the LGBTQ + community contact me and tell me about their problems”, exhibits this woman with long loose brown hair, met on the sidelines of the Arabofolies festival organized at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris, Sunday, June 13. “With the help of international organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, we have already managed to get three transgender people and one gay man out of Yemen. They are now in Paris and Sweden, and he, in Saudi Arabia, awaiting a visa from another country ”, she explains again.

“An unhappy marriage”

Before becoming a carrying voice, Hind Al-Eryani experienced a fate roughly identical to that of other women in her country. It its married at the age of 20 to a man she had only seen twice. “I wanted to get married quickly so I could have sex, she slips, bursting out laughing. But this unhappy marriage made me understand a lot of things. “

Coming from a rather progressive family, the young woman wanted to study, work and drive. Her husband disagreed. In this marriage without love, with a husband who humiliates her because he judges her “Too dumb” and because she has a congenital one – club foot – deformity, she gradually sinks into depression and tries to find peace in religion. In vain. “I once heard a song about love. It was a shock. I told myself I could never know that. “

She therefore decides to leave the matrimonial home with her granddaughter. In a letter, she renounces all her rights and obtains a divorce in exchange in 2005. Her father is sent on a mission to Lebanon for a few years. She follows her family and discovers a foreign and exciting life in Beirut. “There, I discovered the cohabitation between different religions and I was shocked to see that women were treated with respect., remembers Hind Al-Eryani. People exchanged in a very normal way, so in Yemen, after the weekly family meal, the women clear the table while the men go to another room to talk about history and politics. Me, I always wanted to go with them. “

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