12:30 - 13:30
Let's talk about Sex! – Developing Arabic language content for a digital age

Short thesis

In recent years there have been concentrated attempts at increasing online Arabic content focusing on topics related to gender, sex and sexuality in the region. Although still limited compared to other Arabic language topics online, initiatives are actively producing multi-media digital content and are using various social media platforms to engage their readers with mixed results. This panel will bring in a diverse set of perspectives and experiences from different initiatives in the region.


In recent years and particularly after the Arab Revolutions a number of campaigns and initiatives emerged that try to develop digital Arabic knowledge production on issues related to sex, sexuality and gender.

From the Uprising of Women in the Arab Facebook group and campaigns in 2011 to more established Academic Journals such as Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender research established in 2015 and projects such as the Wiki Gender (2016) and Jeem (2018) that focus on developing knowledge production online.

This panel will bring three speakers from different initiatives to speak about their experiences in developing Arabic content about sex, gender and sexuality for the digital era and the region. One speaker representing the Wiki Gender project will focus on the use of Wiki as a platform to build on Arabic language knowledge production and how a volunteer based system that is being developed is bringing about an increase in online content. The second speaker will talk about a new initiative by the Goethe-Institut called Jeem.me: a website devoted to developing content in Arabic on gender, sex and sexuality and offers a safe space for readers to engage with its content. Finally, from websites and wikis to social media platforms, where the third speaker will bring in her perspective of using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for campaigns in support of LGBTQ communities in the region and to promote the first Queer Film Festival in the region.

The panelists will discuss challenges and needs related to their experiences, from challenges of the Arabic language given the variety of dialects in the region and the digital challenges such as censorship, hate speech and platform algorithms. The panel will be an informal conversation starting off with the panelists talking about their experiences and then opening it up to the audience to join in.