Friday, October 11, 2013

John Greyson, Tarek Loubani return to Canada after imprisonment in Egypt

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day.

That fact made this article today by J. Lester Feder on Buzzfeed all the more poignant. Entitled, "How A Gay Canadian Filmmaker Jailed In Egypt Went Back Into The Closet To Save His Life," it details how gay Toronto filmmaker John Greyson's partner, Stephen Andrews, was forced to go back in the closet in order to help keep Greyson safe. If you haven't heard about Greyson and Doctor Tarek Loubani's incarceration in Egypt (because you haven't read a Canadian newspaper or watched much TV news for two months), you can read about it here in their own words.

Greyson and Loubani returned to Canada tonight after being released from prison last weekend. It's great that this ordeal is over for them and they're back in seemingly good spirits.

I once met Greyson through my friend Cuong Ngo at an Inside Out film festival party a few years ago. Greyson's documentary film 'Fig Trees' won the Best Canadian Feature Film award that night. My own film 'The Golden Pin' won Best Canadian Short that night as well, and my film's director, Cuong Ngo, was a student of Greyson's at York University.

I've always been a fan of Greyson's films, especially the gay classic 'Lilies.' I don't share some of his politics, but I respect his opinions and his obvious bravery. It would take an immense amount of bravery for any openly gay man like Greyson to make his way into Egypt or Gaza in order to document stories we rarely get to see in the West.

I've also found it repulsive that so many on the conservative right in this country have taken to attacking Greyson and Loubani for their political views and for being in Egypt at all, taking the opportunity to attack the men when they were down (behind bars in an Egyptian prison), something conservatives are often happy to do. The worst may have been this column by bozo writer Margaret Wente, who outed Greyson as gay while he was still in Egypt this week (although at least he was out of prison by the time this went to publication.)

I don't believe criticizing Israeli government policies in the occupied territories is tantamount to being "anti-Israel" as so many commentators continue to falsely allege. I will admit that I've never been a fan of the group 'Queers Against Israeli Apartheid' and I do sometimes detect a disturbingly hateful streak in some of the criticism leveled against Israel by some activists. But I've never observed such extremism in Greyson's opinions, who has been forceful but also intelligent in his comments. I was glad to see the two men take the time tonight to thank both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird after they landed in Toronto.

One final note: As a hot-blooded gay man, I must say that one aspect of this story that wasn't lost on me is Tarek Loubani's immense good looks (in my opinion, of course.) Just look at his smiling face! Combined with an activist mindset and the brains to earn a medical degree, let's just say I was enchanted. I also sensed that Loubani might be gay, an impression that was reinforced by that video Greyson and he released on their website yesterday before returning from Egypt. But I read quite curiously in Feder's article today that Loubani's "heterosexual." But a guy like me can still dream, no? Maybe now it's Loubani's turn to come out on this special day? ;-)

1 comment:

Jeffrey Price said...

I saw Loubani at the airport and theres no doubt the man is Gay,your right now is the time to come out. You are also right about Queers against Israeli Apartheid having a Hateful streak and that absolutely fathoms the mind that Gays do not support the only country in the area safe for THE GAYS---Israel.
Having said all that happy to have them home and please do not go back to Gaza where they may do more to 2 gay men than just jail them for 7 weeks.