ADDED ON: 12/17/2020

EXCLUSIVE: Mashrou’ Leila lead singer discusses struggles, activist’s suicide

12/26/2020 | Washington Blade

The out lead singer of the Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila says their career has been “a constant battle for breath.” “Singing is an act of intentional breathing,” Hamed Sinno told the Washington Blade on Dec. 11 during an exclusive interview after they spoke at OutRight Action International’s annual OutSummit that took place virtually this year. “We just haven’t been able to find space.” “We’ve had these weird moments where there’s space by exception, where we got to play for a few years in one country before getting banned and then for a few years in another country before getting banned, yadda yadda yadda, but it’s always been a case of exception.” Mashrou’ Leila formed at the American University in Beirut in 2008. Sinno — who came out when they were a student at the university — in 2010 waived a rainbow flag during a concert at Lebanon’s Byblos Festival. Lebanese Christian groups in 2019 successfully pressured festival organizers to cancel a Mashrou’ Leila concert that had been scheduled to take place. The Jordanian government has also prevented Mashrou’ Leila from performing in the country. Egyptian authorities in September 2017 arrested Sara Hegazy, an LGBTQ activist, after she raised a rainbow flag during a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo. Hegazy was tortured in prison before an Egyptian court in January 2018 ordered her release on bail.


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