Approved by Board in January of 2015
Tarab NYC, a non-profit, fosters an inclusive and safe community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and/or gender non-conforming Arab, Middle Eastern, and/or North African people in the greater New York City area.
Tarab NYC Values
Approved by Board in March of 2015
- We recognize the full diversity of ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and gender within our communities, including but not limited to, the Arab, Middle Eastern, North African and LGBTQIA communities in New York City.
- We support collective and individual struggle against discrimination and other forms of oppression; therefore, we strive to create safe spaces and empower our members by fostering an inclusive environment free of racism, heterosexism, misogyny, zionism, religionism, agism and classism.
- We work within MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) communities to reduce stigma towards queer people and within queer communities to reduce stigma toward people of MENA decent. We envision this work taking place through dialogue with leaders and broader community discussions.
- We are non-sectarian and secular; we respect all religious and non-religious backgrounds as equal.
- We do not believe in reinventing the wheel, but rather in creating opportunities to partner or work in solidarity with community groups and organizations that align with our values and further our mission.
- We speak only on behalf of Tarab NYC and we never claim to represent everyone in our community.
- We organize ourselves through a non-hierarchical leadership board that strives to represent the diversity of our community and is accountable for its actions.
- We believe that our rich cultural histories, past and present, are important to our lives.
- We are committed to supporting artists and creative projects within our community.
- We believe we should always make time to have fun and enjoy ourselves.
How did Tarab NYC start?
It was founded by Bashar Makhay as a community party and gathering for Queer Middle Eastern and/or North African people in the greater NYC area. It has since evolved to becoming a community organization with a vibrant board creating opportunities to build community. Tarab NYC is the only not-for-profit organization of its kind in the greater NYC area.
Why do you use the term Queer?
While Tarab provides a space for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, questioning, queer, intersex, and more) we use the term queer as it has become widely recognized as a catch-all term for all those identities, and those that don’t identify with any of those identities. Please note we use queer with the intention to be inclusive of all sexual minorities.
What happened to SWANA? Why not just Arab?
We used to used SWANA as an alternative to Middle Eastern because we thought it would more accurately represent who we are, but in the end, nobody liked it or wanted to be called it. So we have reverted to using Middle Eastern and North African (MENA). We do not use Arab because the Middle East and North Africa includes many ethnicities including Arabs, Chaldeans, Kurds, Persians, Turks, Berbers, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmen, Azeris, Mandaeans, and so on. While our events our heavily Arab attended and include a lot of Arabic music and culture, we strive to be more inclusive.
What does tarab mean?
Tarab can mean many things, as a noun mirth, glee & rapture, as a verb gleeful & rapt. Tarab is a very important aspect of Arabic music. The concept of tarab in Arabic music is to move one emotionally through the music, whether the listener (samee’ in Arabic) is led to feel overwhelmed by joy, sadness, or just plain elation for the music that is being performed. You can read more about the concept of tarab in music by checking out this very cool blog post by OUDMAN586.