I started writing “Guapa” in late 2011. Before then, there were two beliefs that crippled my ability to put words on paper: first, the belief that my experiences would never resonate with audiences, having not really seen many other books that described the world I inhabited; and second, the belief that since there was no way for me to “represent” the diversity and complexity of queer Arabs, writing anything about the subject would be dangerous and open me to criticism. The only way I could write the book was to ignore the voices in my head (as well as a few real voices in the outside world!) that repeated these two beliefs to me.
As you read the book, I’m sure you can also sense Rasa is grappling with elements of these two beliefs as well. What I didn’t realise then, is that so many people are also fighting these debilitating beliefs, which ultimately link to the wider themes in the book: around questions of belonging in family and society, and the question of where does the political end and the personal begin. I hope you enjoy the book.