Jordan can be considered as one of the more liberal Arab countries. There is no sharia law and unusually homosexuality is not illegal. The gay scene such as it is is low-profile, subdued, and much less visible than that of Israel and Lebanon.
Basically, the only gay life you will find is either out door cruising or at the men only hot springs and hammams (traditional baths). We understand that in Amman, there is cruising near the Roman Amphitheater at Hashemiya Square and the bars of the large international hotels whilst in Aqaba gays meet along the Corniche. Ther is no gay rights movement at the time of writing.
Legal status of homosexuality:
Same-sex male legal age 16
Same-sex female legal age 16
Jordan has no sodomy laws; the age of sexual consent is 16 for all. It punishes sexual intercourse with persons under the age of 16 (male or female) with forced labour for three to five years, while the punishment for sex with a male or female under the age of 13 can receive no less than five years imprisonment. (from Gay Rights Info website)
I have read the GME pages for Jordan: I’m a Jordanian 23yo guy and I’d like to tell you how it is like in Jordan.
Jordan is a free country with a very well-natured people, basically, you do not hear about crimes or arresting any gay guys. he most interesting point that sits Jordan ahead, that we have a “community” and we call it so. But we do not have any league, a club or some specific place to gather in but we define ourselves as one community.
The existence of gay females is a highlight in our being, for they are being accepted in a better way than gay males.
Gay sex is said to be everywhere, so it is not a local issue that guys want to have fun only, everybody wants his share of joyness, and things do not have to be serious and/or complicated that everyone must have someone all the time. So it’s about friendship and having fun, and yes, we have parties and fun gatherings, mostly, held privately.
But there have been some parties who have been held in public places! so it was ok, as long as everybody held to normalities!
For hang-out places, yes, Books@cafe had its reputation as a gay hang-out but not a gay place, precisely, we do not have any gay place! but there are places where gay guys would gather. On the other hand, if Books@cafe is totally a gay place, then the new manager wouldn’t put a firm strict policy about gay scene!
People here don’t treat gay scene well, even with normal environment! But it is safe say to say about the Jordanian sexuality tendency that most of the people are bisexual but they would deny their desires for the same sex. The good part is that they would do it if they kept it undercover! There are so many people who are so discreet that they wouldn’t let you know anything about them and you don’t know why!
We don’t hear so much about people being scandalized unless they seek that! Finally, the gay scene in Jordan is a real mix! starting from discreet seekers online and ending with transsexuals and cross-dressers! So we have a healthy gay environment here.
By ‘Just me’, GayMiddleEast.com
Well, I think I was looking for guys since I was a child. Back then I thought that something is wrong with me and that I was sick person, until I realized that there are many guys like me around the world.
When I think about it, I can’t remember my “first time” with a guy, I just know it was with my neighbor when I was a little kid. My family doesn’t know about me being gay, but I think they starting to feel it a little.
Most gays in Jordan are looking for one night stand, if you are looking for love and long relationship you will have to wait to find your man.
In Jordan you can talk about everything except the king or the royal family, talking about anything else will not make a big problem…I never had any problems with the police in here and I never heard about any gay that had.
You can say that gay in Jordan are not totally free to do everything, as in most Arab countries, even that its free to open sex websites in the internet or even chatting with other gays. The only illegal thing is doing sex in public places.
So when you meeting any gay be sure that it is not a big problem.
There are many gay places in Jordan but I think that you should be careful and know how to control the situation.
Some of these places : books at cafe, zokak al madak café, barKah café, cupid café, the Jordan International hotel, Amra hotel, Navertiti hotel, and many hotels in Aqaba. You can see gays in these places too: Al- Sahah Al-Hashemeay, Shmasani, Makah Street, Safeway Shmasani and Abdon Moll.
But the most easy way to have a safe meeting with gays in Jordan is chatting or ad by Internet; you can find about 200 guys waiting any message from you in many websites.
By Mido, MiddleEast.com
How related are we to our own past? the good memories, the wild dreams and the childhood sweetness are all part of what we do daily in our lives. but the fact that there are true real precious moments that we can not pass or even get over easily is what that matter. For such moments, I recall my very first experience that considerably gave my current life a new curve, not thinking that what would it be like unless that story had taken part of my life then! for what I can still remember and carry it on for the rest of my life is that 15 year-old boy who was a good teenager somehow, who enjoyed life with his school mates and video games, who wouldn’t mix with people as much as he was supposed to do.
I recall myself then that I was an innocent untouched angel that did not know that life has some definitions for such things as : sexuality and passion. 8 years earlier, winter night, that boy with his casual looks and big fat smile was challenging some fighters on some arcade machine when suddenly some cruel tough late 20 something guy showed up to interfere that innocent electronic game! he insisted on fighting against me claiming that he’s the best in this game. Not considering the minor touches during the game nor the fierce looks that he gave to me everything else seemed normal till I felt like going to the toilet room.
Without any excuses, I started to walk to the nearest public bath room, it was cold and dark in there, such a matching environment for any horror movie! it was when I got done and heading to wash my hands when someone whispered to me from the dark corner of the room, I got deeply scared! I was just memorized at my own place not knowing what to do next, what the next best move would be, until I recognized that he was the same guy at the arcade center, my fears grew up and down for no reasons but childhood fears, he came closer with his bulky ugly look wearing that long black coat which then indicated some “strength” figure, he kept on coming closer while staring directly to me and I just couldn’t move as he castl a spell over me!
The next thing that I could remember then is me running in the street terrified and not knowing where I am going to, fearing that whomever will see my face will know what happened in that place! Like a computer memory, when it gets so consumed once it halts to no exact point in the memory chip!
So that’s what happened, that guy who was much older than me grabbed me with his powerful hand inside a cabinet in the bathroom and closed the door quietly, he touched me, kissed me which really felt like nothing then because it had not precedents before, i wanted to scream, at that time i was a very smart and talented teenager who was popular and loved by all his mates and friends, who won contests and was the first in his class who knew all the facts of life relatively, who knew that was a sexual harassment but he did not ever imagine it would be like this. No resistance, was my action, so there was no actual rape! no anal action, he just forced me to do him things like touching his genitals, kissing and sucking it hardly!
He was moaning and telling bad words which scared me the most, and that all ended at the moment I heard someone entering the toilet I dashed through the door and kept on running with tears.
Denial was the nest stage! denying whatever happened in that toilet that night, but in my deepest dreams I knew it was true and it was not a good thing to do especially when kids at the school was talking about some “nasty” people who would enjoy such things and they pointed them at the recess time with laughter and mocks. But who knows! some things come twice in a life time.
The curiosity took me again there in few months, not sure of what I’m looking for, another chance maybe! that was when destiny dropped that guy again for me, he was hanging around when he spotted me, he remembered me, but this time he preferred to talk more, so we had a walk and did, a 15 year-old boy and some 27 or 28 guy talking about sexuality!
That was odd for me, for him too I think. and with my full deliberance, we found some empty space and had another chance! with the exact fear that I felt before and with all the occurances coming again! It was amazing, how I kept myself locked deep inside for 3 years, fearing to think about those sexual imaginations.
Joining the university later, living away from the family for a while studying, having a part-time job during the university time, all of those situations helped in making me exploring more, new faces, sex encounters, stupid affairs ..etc.
When I though I grew to be a less innocent person during that time i was mistaken for being taken advantage of me for being so naive and pure, people would only be interested to drag me to bed, which i did not refuse at the “exploring” time of my life. A new curve in life had appeared, friends, gay friends, the ones that you can talk openly with about everything, the ones that you’d laugh with about the same stupid experiences or tell them your pains and fears, the ones who supported you in your first real dates! who chose me what to wear or where to go, what to do or not.
A total bliss, a critical change, a better thinking of people, whenever you meet a new friend he then introduced you to another.
Now, I’m 23, it’s been 5 or 6 years since I’ve been seeing people and I was considerably out of the closet, I wouldn’t say that I changed completely, but I grew aware, I passed many ugly situation, awful people, irritating people, disastrous relationships! and from all the people that I met, I became relatively famous in Amman.
People I don’t even know would just know me because they would hear about me sometimes. That was what I chose to be, the man I am now, the one who looks at himself every morning at the mirror and smile for knowing that he passed over many terrible times alone or with the help of true friends.
The innocence that somehow was lost in the way, the growing fear of meeting someone that he can be the “one”! the broken heart stories, all the experience which would seem considerably well for a 23-year-old guy now! it made me strong, label-hater, stand-offish with many people, loud for my own opinions, proud of myself for whatever I am.
The best thing that I got from all those years is when my straight friend judged me badly when I came out to them. Then I realized what it would be to be different! Then I really decided to stay different whether people accepted it or not, for I know who I am regardless of my sexuality attribute. I know, that there are many things in life to say about anyone rather than gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual. I know that those are just conditional statements for most of the people, I know it is not for me, and for sure, you!
By Mido, Gay MiddleEast.com
For many generations and over hundred of years; people would enjoy the pleasure of classifying other people at their own societies, and labeling them regarding their level of power and authority, wealth and classes, which led for so many paradoxes and dilemmas in a very strict male-oriented atmosphere in the Arab world mostly.
Moreover, the very classification methods had expanded to include varied “labels” surfacing a new issue namely homosexuality. compared to any ordinary prison life anywhere on this planet same cases would feel the same: Male-oriented, discreet, dark and taboo-wise world, going further more into the religious beliefs which are thought to be untouchable in any religion, all of those factors misled to one statement for a whole nation: Gay people are Filthy people!
But, is not that a paradox when we say that gay people are bad or filthy and at the other hand people would respect any rich man even he explicitly exposed his Bisexuality?For a fact that bisexual people are ordinary and just trying to experience new “situations” that they have never tasted before, but for the gay world it will always connects the other people to prostitution, drugs, night life, money and cross-dressers and that’s a real dilemma.
Taking simple examples of the discussed issue :
– Well-known characters in our daily lives, celebrities and politicians sometime reveal both in direct or indirect way their true homosexual nature to the public knowing that WE will say nothing because we had already classified those people as “good” people according to their positions and grades and they are now in charge of classifying the others in their own way!
-Foreigners, who we have in our countries as tourists, friends, residents or even trade dealers do not have any complaints or bad cases in smoothly telling everyone around about being gay or lesbian because -as earlier mentioned- they have been classified as “good” people already because they have gotten the acceptance passport of being superior over the local people anywhere they’d go to, and that’s shockingly true!
So, we can remember by now many of our acquaintances and figures that we have passed by or known for being outstanding in some particular fields in our lives knowing that they were “gay” but we took them as they were, and rejecting anyone who would be suspected to be a “pervert” for having a different sexual “trend” as the society people would define the “normal” way!
People did not learn anything in the past two decades of taking people as they are especially when it comes to differences that they can not and do not have anything to do with naturally! people are being so alert for whomever deviates of their own line and FREELY choose to be or not to be someone he/she wants to be. that issue had terribly affected our daily life, I’ve known people who did not have any choice but running away of the Arab world mentality to Europe or the States, sometimes they were forced to, other examples of suppressing the reality is the issue of the new troubled generation of homosexual people, who hates the echo of the word “gay” anywhere whenever they hear it ringing!
The lost people who are looking desperately for love and affection, and trying their best to show other people that they can not be labeled according to what they do not what, they are!
Finally, I know many gay/bi people who are brilliant, adoring and more successful than the so-called ‘straight people’, and in most cases, gay people have had high achievements in many fields. They also have a fingerprint for being affectionate, sensitive, humanitarian and well-educated people before being any sexual member of any taboo cult or group!
PEOPLE are PEOPLE , now or in ten years ahead, the Arab world will keep on locking itself to its taboos and we all -gay/bi- people will keep on resisting and changing rules and ideas, many of us will be the victim of a forgotten world … but what I’m sure of that most of us will have the lead, eventually.