“Diaries of a lesbian”, a novel against phallocentrism in Morocco that defends the right to “choose”

At just 25 years old, Moroccan Fatima Ezzahra Amezgar has become the center of attention at the Rabat Book Fair. In a country that prison sentence practicing homosexualityhad planned to sign copies of his novel at the main literary event in Morocco "diary of a lesbian"but the organizers withdrew the work at the last minute after the controversy raised around it.

"The extremists are angry because my novel not only defends the struggle to free man, but puts an end to phallocentrism in Morocco and declares the male persona non grata"summarizes the author in an interview granted to Efe in the premises of the literary fair, while writers such as Abdelkarim Juaiti and feminist activists such as Lubna El Jud offer her their support with hugs and words of encouragement.

The novel "Memoirs of a lesbian" It was published six months ago by the Tangerine publishing house Agora and it was expected to be exhibited among the 100,000 titles of the XXVII edition of the International Publishing and Book Fair (SIEL) that is being held these days in Rabat, but finally withdrew from the appointment after harsh reactions that were produced by conservative Moroccan figures such as the Salafist leader Hassan el Kattani.

The priest wrote on his Facebook page that "if today they are defending homosexuality, tomorrow it will be time to read the memoirs of people who have sex with their sisters, their mothers or their daughters. Although it seems strange to you, I am very serious".

A source from the SIEL organizers explains to Efe that "the book has not been withdrawn, because never made it to the list of exhibited books"but the director of the publishing house, Yusuf Guermah, affirms that it did appear in this program previously presented by the SIEL organizers.

It is a 297-page novel that tells the story of a young lesbian in Morocco and her conflicts with the state, religion and the rest of society.

The protagonist is Titima, a young woman raised in a Casablanca shantytown who was raped as a child, loves to play soccer and had to marry a man out of obligation. Her encounter with Ranim turned her life 180 degrees, becausee with her he discovered his homosexuality and had to separate from her husband.

Amezgar assures that it is not an autobiographical work, although Titima, also born in Casablanca, bears the name by which her friends know her. "I wrote it in defense of coexistence. I was shocked when I discovered the LGTBIQ+ community, they are very tolerant and truly believe in love, but the rest of society is hostile towards its members"says the young woman.

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Regarding the reasons for the withdrawal, the author believes that they did it because they want to protect it after the controversy created by the fundamentalists. "I think they are afraid that if they don’t intervene, there will be a hate attack"underlines the author, and justifies her opinion by adding that "It has been distributed in all bookstores and has been sold normally".

Of course, after its withdrawal from SIEL, he explains, it has become the most requested work in the exhibitor of its publisher, who he agreed to publish the book “without thinking twice”.

Amezgar, an Arabic teacher at a high school in Casablanca, says she will continue writing, and that she already has a project in mind for a novel called “Castrated Women,” which includes dialogues inside a prison between prisoners of opposing ideologies.


For the young novelist, in Morocco there is no “real fight” by the LGBTIQ+ community, which "has to be done through creation, and not through street protests". "I also defend a fight from within the institutions, we need deputies who defend homosexuals"he adds.

And he expresses his hope thatreform the laws that criminalize the practice of homosexuality in Morocco, sexual intercourse outside of marriage and not fasting in Ramadan. "These laws may exist to protect the physical integrity of different people, but they have to protect them without affecting their freedoms".

From its exhibitor, its editor regrets to Efe that when the controversy broke out on social networks, the work was withdrawn from the fair so that it could be read by a "reading commission" of the Ministry of Culture, but three days later his return to the event has not yet been authorized.

According to Guermah, his publisher published 500 copies that were distributed in bookstores and have practically sold out. "When the fair is over we will release a second edition and there will be translations into other languages. We have received a request to translate it into Spanish"it states.


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