Queer Beirut online: The participation of men in GayRomeo.com

Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Special edition: Queering Middle East Cyberspace

ABSTRACT

This inquiry explores how the participation of men in Beirut within the exclusively gay-male dating website GayRomeo.com is framed by identity politics and practices of national and ethnic membership, masculinity, and sexuality in post-civil-war Beirut. Such intermingling of the sexualized meanings and queer desires within GayRomeo.com with local politics and practices affords new forms of self-description and embodied practice online as a queer Lebanese subject. Using context analysis to explore manifestations of selfhood within GayRomeo.com as well as secondary literature about homosexuality in Beirut, I present how local politics and practices are present within user profiles constructed according to a series of profile categories comprising of character traits, interests, and demographic information. Through their profile, users engage in embodied practices of masculinity and sexuality that influences subjectivity via the visibility among them online.