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My.Kali is an online pan-Arab LGBT magazine, published in Amman, Jordan in English since 2007 and in Arabic since 2016. It is named after its publisher, openly gay Jordanian model and activist Khalid "Kali" Abdel-Hadi.
My.Kali September–October 2017 relaunch issue, following a year of being censored.
|Categories||Conceptual visuals, social, LGBT+, gender, music, arts|
|Year founded||29 September 2007|
|Country||Middle East & North Africa|
|Based in||Amman, Jordan|
My.Kali was the first LGBTQIA-inclusive online publication in Jordan and one of the first in the Middle East. The magazine was established in late 2007 by a group of students with various interests ranging from design and arts to politics. The online magazine sought to address homophobia and transphobia and to empower Arab youth to defy gender-binary institutions and traditions.
In May 2016 My.Kali began publishing an Arabic edition. Abdul-Hati explained, "I want the publication to be reached by all, and not feel like it's excluding anyone." The publication of the Arabic edition increased interest in the magazine, which in turn led to the Jordanian government banning it. My.Kali resumed publication in September 2017.
My.Kali was noted for its role in the 2011 controversy surrounding Khalaf Yousef, a Muslim cleric in Jordan who publicly came out as gay on his YouTube channel. After coming out, Yousef was fired, disowned by his family, and began receiving death threats. This caused him to flee to Lebanon and then to Canada, where he received asylum. Yousef explained later that he was inspired to come out after seeing a copy of My.Kali.
The magazine regularly features non-LGBT artists on its covers to promote acceptance among other communities and was the first publication to give many underground and regional artists—including Yasmine Hamdan, Haig Papazian of Mashrou' Leila, Alaa Wardi, Zahed Sultan—their first cover stories.
Khalid Abdel-Hadi founded My.Kali in 2007 when he was 17 or 18 years old, with the aim of providing LGBT-related content. On 30 October 2007, a local Jordanian publication, Ammon News, reported on its launch, reprinting My.Kali's cover image of a shirtless Abdel-Hadi, though it identified him only as a "gay Jordanian teen". This article was referenced by numerous publications, outing Abdul-Hadi. "During that time, you would hear news about people being hanged publicly in Iran, catfished and then arrested in Egypt, kidnapped in Syria, shot dead in the street in Iraq, and imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. I was only 18 at the time." Abdul-Hati told i-D magazine in 2016. "The news came as a shock to the Jordanian society, as that was the first article to be written about LGBT+ people regarding Jordan, by a Jordanian media outlet."
Abdul-Hadi was born and raised in Amman, Jordan. His family has Palestinian and Kurdish-Turkish roots. Abdul-Hati graduated from Petra University in Amman in 2014 with a degree in graphic design and visual arts. He rarely makes media appearances outside his own publication and those of people who are close to him. A journalist from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz observed: "The magazine's success must be credited to Abdel-Hadi. Despite the numerous times he has been interviewed in the international press, not much has been revealed about his personal life. But he too is ready to serve as a personal example, to appear openly, and has also been photographed for the magazine's cover." The Haaretz article was considered a very controversial expose considering the publication's status, yet it wasn't commissioned or exclusive, but rather a write up that relied on other media references. Abdel-Hadi was listed as one of The Guardian's "LGBT change heroes of 2017".
Abdel-Hadi often collaborates with photographers and artists. In November 2017, for example, he was a subject for French photographer Scarlett Coten's series of portraits entitled "Mectoub" of young men from Middle Eastern countries. "We all have a feminine and a masculine side," the French photographer told The Guardian. Coten photographed Abdel-Hadi wearing a black high-waist swimsuit and heels.
In 2011, Abdel-Hadi angered many conservative LGBTQ Muslims by posing for a photoshoot in a speedo on Rainbow Street, Amman, with a mosque in the background. He later published a public apology for the shoot in Gay Star News.
- "Interview: On the roof with Khalid, LGBT Hero, Model & Writer". Gayday. 7 June 2012.
- Brammer, Drew (23 July 2015). "Middle Eastern LGBT magazine looking at 'risky' expansion into Arabic - Egypt Independent". Egypt Independent. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Jahshan, Elias. "A look back at 10 years of My.Kali - the Arab world's only LGBT magazine". SBS Australia. SBS Australia. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- "The Melodic Being of Yasmine Hamdan". Archived from the original on 15 January 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Beirut.com: Haig Papazian on MyKali magazine cover
- My.Kali Alaa Wardi cover
- My.Kali Zahed Sultan cover
- "افشال محاولة لإشهار اول مؤتمر أردني للشذوذ الجنسي "المثيلين الجنسي" في يوم الإقتراع للانتخابات النيابية". Ammon News. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
- "افشال محاولة لإشهار أول مؤتمر أردني للشذوذ الجنسي "المثيلين الجنسين" في يوم الاقتراع للانتخابات النيابية". Ammon News. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Edward, Siddons (25 May 2016). "the magazine queering the middle east". i-D magazine.
- Sagui Bizawe, Eyal (20 June 2016). "The Jordanian Magazine Defying Stereotypes About Gays in the Muslim World". Haaretz. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Leach, Anna; Banning-Lover, Rachel (27 February 2017). "LGBT change heroes 2017: breaking through from oppression". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- Moroz, Sarah (10 November 2017). "Tattoos, satin heels and pet snakes: the men redefining masculinity in the Middle East". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
- Abdel-Hadi, Khalid (23 January 2013). "Why I admit my Speedo shoot was wrong". Gay Star News (GSN). Retrieved 23 January 2013.