Jordan’s only LGBT publication caught in online war following closure

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The only LGBT publication in Jordan which was shut down for “promoting” homosexuality has become embroiled in an online war with government officials.

Government authorities shut down My.Kali, an e-magazine that provided LGBT media to large parts of the Middle East and North Africa, in June 2016.

After it was shut down, an MP in the country launched a complaint against the site.

MP Dima Tahboub said that the publication was not properly licensed, “promoted” homosexuality and was “sexually deviant”.

The MP is notoriously anti-LGBT, having recently said that gay people are not welcome in Jordan.

She explained that she didn’t want to deal with homosexuals “as criminals” but that LGBT people “should respect what is normal in Jordan”.

She said: “We regard gays from a moral and religious perspective, that they are a community who is completely rejected, alien to our religion and tradition and the Jordanian people’s cultural norms.”

She insisted that My.Kali should face punishment for its LGBT coverage.

To align with laws in the country, the magazine was not published in print.

It also did not receive any external funding from foreign organisations or governments.

Since pledging the complaint, former My.Kali staff have begun to argue with the MP online.

Jameel Jones, a spokesperson for the outlet, said that the editor of My.Kali, Khalid Abdel Hadi, had faced death threats since the MP launched the attack.

Jones said: “The fierce and inciteful media attacked the webzine and all what it represents, along with frightening comments on social media, which were centred around hate, death threats and physical abuse by people who could identify Khalid Abdel Hadi, editor-in-chief and the founder of My.Kali.”

The magazine also released a statement in which they clarified that their intention was not to “spread homosexuality” or “underestimate the culture of Jordanian society”.

“It is the pure product of a constantly changing group of youth activists who are straight, LGBTI or the Mim community of the Arab World and North Africa, interested in representing marginalized voices to express their problems, interests and sharing their creativity,” they said.