Artwork by Yemeni artist Yasmine Diaz for My.Kali Source: Instagram/My.Kali

On Sunday, Jordanian authorities announced the cancellation of an event because an Arab pro-LGBTQI+ magazine was involved.  

The event, hosted by Hiwar Art Club at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, was scheduled to take place on Nov. 10 prior to the country's decision. The cancellation was announced by Jordan's Ministry of Culture who "pressured the national museum into the decision."

"The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts decided to cancel the event which was scheduled to take place next Saturday, November 10, 2018," Ahmad Al-Oun, a spokesperson for the ministry, said

The online magazine, My.Kali - which covers issues of alt-communities, gender, and alternative art - was set to take part in a discussion on the impact of art, photography, and written content in the fight against stereotypes when it comes to marginalized groups and women.

Hiwar Art Club had initially invited My.Kali to take part in its November program titled "Networks and Activism as a Form of Art." 

The program was expected to feature artists and activists who use social media, literature, and art to challenge stereotypes. 

My.Kali has since published a clarification on Saheh Kabarak in which they state the "magazine was invited to participate and was not meant to be the center of the discussions."

"It became a norm for the platform [My.Kali] to be classified under 'anomaly' and 'violation of public morals,'" the statement continued. 

Since its inception in 2007, My.Kali has tried time and again to introduce debate on women's rights, the LGBTQI+ community, and other "controversial" topics that are usually relegated to taboo in the Arab and Middle Eastern world.

The magazine released its Arabic website in 2016, and marked its tenth anniversary earlier this year.

Its founder Khalid Abdel-Hadi once told StepFeed that their "main achievement lies in the sustainability of this platform, the communities built around it, its engagement with local and regional social workers, artists, activists and most importantly, visibility."

"In a region where we’re denied recognition, this platform isn’t waiting for anyone to provide us that, but claiming it and giving a voice to many."

Jordan does not criminalize homosexuality, but that doesn't translate to safety

While Jordan does not criminalize homosexuality, it does not provide protections for the LGBTQI+ community either. 

As Abdel-Hadi, the founder of the Jordan-based magazine, previously told StepFeed "the tribal nature of the society makes it difficult for LGBTQ individuals."

"The comfort of being LGBT in Jordan is for sure elitist," he said. "One could face being socially stigmatized for being LGBT or expressing sexuality, different orientations, even different beliefs and ideologies."

The LGBTQI+ community has been attacked on numerous occasions

In 2017, Jordanian Member of Parliament Dima Tahboub was faced with backlash over homophobic statements, in which she suggested that "homosexuals are not welcome in Jordan." She also filed a personal complaint against My.Kali, which sparked a feud between the two. 

Tahboub, who holds a PhD from the University of Manchester in England, is a member of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood and the media spokesperson of the Jordanian Islamic Action Front in English. 

In a video shared by DW-Conflict Zone, Tahboub can be seen discussing the cancellation of Lebanese indie band Mashrou' Leila's Amman concert after lawmakers objected to the lead singer's sexuality.

In 2017, the Jordanian ministry of interior banned the Lebanese indie band from performing in Jordan, for the second time in a row. The decision came a year after Jordanian authorities initially banned the band in 2016.