Tell us a bit about yourself!
Well to start off I just turned 18 in June, I’m a Gemini, and I’m from Iraq, my country is very hostile towards LGBTQ people which is why my online presence is anonymous everywhere. The internet is a wonderful place, it’s where I was exposed to the Queer community from a young age and it’s how I learned that perhaps what my family and society are telling me about being gay is not true after all. My first time hearing the word “gay” said out loud was when my older brother sat me down after I bought shoes from the boys’ section when I was 10 and told me that he’s afraid that I’m becoming a “sexual deviant” and that gay people are hated by god and disowned by their families, so of course after that I told myself that there is no way I’m gay and disappoint my family like this. But then a couple of months after that I saw Ruby Rose’s short film Break Free and I was so fascinated by her, I spent hours watching her interviews and I just thought to myself she seems so smart and people adore her while she’s very open about her sexuality, and that was when my views started to shift from what I was told.
I am so lucky I got exposed to that when I was still young and figuring out the world, I believe seeing that video spared me years of self hate. But of course I couldn’t tell anyone about that, in front of my family I was still who they raised me to be, until I became a bit older and started seeing girls. I was young and I had found an accepting group of friends, most of whom where also gay, which made me often times forget the world I was living in, and that I should be secretive about who I am. I cut my hair and I was dating a girl from my school when I was 15, and it wasn’t long until we were outed in school and then soon after to our families. What I went through after that I wouldn’t wish on anybody, but it is by no means only my story, it is what every gay Iraqi person goes through when they decide to embrace who they are.
What does Women’s Football mean to you?
In that same period of time when I was in so much pain and I felt like the world was such an awful place for me to exist in, the 2019 Women’s World Cup was happening and I started following the games and soon I was mesmerised by these women. They work so hard and they make a place for themselves in a world that offers so little space for women. I am truly never as proud to be a woman or a lesbian as when I watch all of these amazing athletes play. I feel like being exposed to women’s sports for me was as much of a miracle moment as being exposed to Break Free when I was 10. I am so obsessed now even my father was excited to watch women’s football in the Olympics which says a lot, even though I don’t know what he would think if he found out so many of them are lesbians.
Who do you support? What are you expectations for the upcoming season?
I was never a big sports fan but ever since I got introduced to women’s football I became one. I started following the NWSL and WSL and very quickly fell in love with Arsenal WFC, I even started following the men’s team! I love how the team plays and I adore the players. Needless to say I’m sad that some players are leaving now but I’m hopeful for the upcoming season since we beat Chelsea and Spurs in the preseason, I’m also very excited for our new signings!
How does it feel to shoot to women’s football internet fame?
I guess we have to thank Stacey! I had just finished watching the Bronze medal game and the broadcast cut off when Sam Kerr was crying on the field so I went to twitter to see if any post-match photos were being posted and thats when I saw the adorable pictures of Sam and Kristie and of course Stacey’s reply which made me simultaneously laugh and cringe and that’s when I replied to her “They’re lesbians Stacey” because they are dammit! Within minutes the tweet started getting attention which I definitely didn’t see coming, then everyone was posting it and making jokes on top of mine. I am just so happy it made people laugh, and Stacey is a total sweetheart who is also one of us. I definitely hope people keep up the joke about sportsmanship and kindness because it never fails to make me crack up laughing!
How excited are you to see your now famous words on a t-shirt?
I am so pumped about the t-shirts being made! I was joking about it with my friend the other day, how my tweet is so iconic it should be printed on a t-shirt and now it’s actually happening, and the fact that we are donating the proceeds makes it all that much better.
You’ve chosen Iraqueer as the charity to donate the profits, can you tell us a bit about them and why you’ve chosen them?
IraQueer is the first and only organization in Iraq that supports the LGBT community, they raise awareness about us in our communities where only misconceptions and harmful stereotypes exist, and they provide aide to Queer Iraqis in crisis. The work they do is very important and I’m beyond happy that we are donating the proceeds to them, and equally I am grateful to be bringing attention to them and their work. I hope everyone who reads this checks them out.
Who are your favourite Women’s Football Couple?
That is a difficult question! Seeing lesbians in football brings so much joy to me and I am grateful for all of those who choose to be open about who they are, they provide much needed representation for all of us, since I’m an Arsenal fan I have to say Vivianne Miedema and Lisa Evans are my favorite woso couple!
We have collaborated with @PreferVoldemort to make a T-Shirt, with all proceeds going to IraQueer – https://everpress.com/theyre-lesbians-stacey