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The Interaction of Palestinian Families with Diverse Gender and Sexual Experiences

This research comes as a part of alQaws’s work in knowledge production around sexual and gender diversity issues in Palestinian society; specifically in the field of mental and community health. Out of all the many different fields in which alQaws works in, we took it upon ourselves to initiate the production of local knowledge within the Palestinian context, and this report constitutes a qualitative leap in this field.

The knowledge production process is accompanied by constant and continuous work in the field with people of different and diverse sexual orientations and gender experiences, along with civil society organizations and different groups of professionals. In regards to supporting queer and trans folk, alQaws provides a listening and information hotline service, alKhat, which provides a space to share, reflect, and obtain information related to sexual and gender diversity issues. This service has been provided for over a decade via phone and chat.

In addition, alQaws activates supportive youth groups such as: “Me, My Sexuality, and Society; Exploration, Knowledge, Impact”. These groups serve as an entry point to understanding and framing different sexual and gender experiences, with facilitation delivered by specialists in group facilitation. The groups are held several times throughout the year in different regions in Palestine. Moreover, since 2020, we’ve organized an support workshops have started to take place in the digital world, entitled “On the Question of” - this workshop addresses urgent and daily issues from the lives of people living with different sexual and gender orientations.

As for the professionals, experts and various civil society organizations, particularly in the field of mental and community health, alQaws began to form professional groups of specialists in Palestine since 2014; precisely in the cities of Ramallah and Haifa, in order to expand their circles of knowledge in sexual and gender diversity issues. Some of the results that these groups have yielded were the holding of a Study Day in the city of Nazareth on Sexual and Gender Dimensions in Psychotherapy, along with the publication of a guide “An Introduction to Sexual and Gender Diversity Issues for Mental Health Professionals.”

The publication of the aforementioned guide constitutes a central step in expanding the work in the field of mental and social health, and in providing knowledge on sexual and gender diversity issues to specialists and professionals in this field; this guide was launched during a Study Day in the city of Ramallah, in addition to dialogues and discussion sessions in Jerusalem and Shefa'amr, with media coverage to bring these discussions to larger audiences.

alQaws also woks in other fields, such as producing artistic and cultural projects on sexual and gender diversity issues, working with Palestinian media on such topics, political campaigns against the occupation, and others. It is important to note that this work in its entirety is based on the efforts of alQaws volunteers and activists from all over Palestine.

In this complex and multifaceted scene, alQaws have accumulated in recent years a deep and valuable knowledge on the issues of sexual and gender diversity in the Palestinian society, and the dynamics and policies that govern and operate them. Accordingly, alQaws chooses its strategies and projects from the core of this scene and from its familiarity with its details and needs, and thus the idea of ​​this research report came to life.

In recent years, we have realized the how central the Family social institution is in the Palestinian social fabric, as well as the inability to influence or advance on issues of sexual and gender diversity without a careful understanding and analysis of Palestinian family structure, dynamics and roles, whether this was done through alQaws activists or professionals in various fields, or through the wide popular communication with the audience that comes as a result of the work of alQaws.

From this need, we began the process of expanding the knowledge that we have about the Palestinian family and sexual and gender diversity issues. This knowledge had to come from the field, and this research is one of the first and most essential steps in this pursuit.

To read the full research in Arabic, click the image below.