I know I am scandalous. To you. And to those around you: neighbors, colleagues, friends, mothers-in-law... I know to what degree I'm involuntarily causing you harm, giving you worry. I expose myself by signing my real first name and my real last name. And I expose you along with me. I drag you along on this adventure, which is just the beginning for me and for people like me: To exist, finally! To come out of the shadows, head held high! To tell the truth, my truth! To be: Abdellah. To be: Taïa. To be both. Alone. Yet not alone at the same time.
Beyond my homosexuality, which I proudly claim, I know that what surprises and scares you is that I elude you: I am the same, thin as I've always been, with the same eternal baby face; yet I am no longer the same. You no longer recognize me, and you tell yourselves: "Where does he get those bizarre ideas? Where does he get the nerve? We didn't raise him like that... And not only does he talk about sexuality publicly—no, no, that's not enough for him—he also talks of homosexuality, politics, freedom... Who does he take himself for?"
I come from Morocco. I know Morocco. To succeed, even to exist, is about having money and crushing others with money. Since I was born, in 1973, in Rabat, this has always been the Moroccan ideal, the model to follow. Like you, I was born poor, and I grew up poor in Salé. Even today I remain, in certain ways, poor. I refuse this sterile Moroccan ideal. This platitude. It does not suit me. I step around it. The Moroccan model, in my own small way, I've reinvented it. I've filled it with new content, with meaning, with courage, and with doubt... That's what truly shocks you: I've turned out different, something you didn't see coming. A monster. When before, by your side, I had always been so agreeable, studious, and well-behaved.
You must ask yourselves the same questions every day: What did we do to him? What did we do to him to deserve this scandal? You must certainly hate me now, curse me. To you I am without doubt no longer a good Muslim. You must also be worried about me: I take risks in exposing myself like this in books and newspapers.
Taïa appeared on this blog last time in connection with an article he wrote about his many challenges as a child whose sexual orientation was all too evident in a world determined to predate upon him.
The essay and the interview with Taïa--the latter linked to be Towleroad--are both excellent reading.