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LGBT Arab-Americans find room of their ownWith a loud hiccup and a hand over her mouth in coy embarrassment, Madame Tayoush mimics Lebanese diva Sabah in her performance of the sultry classic "Atshana" – or "I'm Thirsty" – as Arab-Americans hoot and cheer. Madame Tayoush is a man in drag, performing at a Tarab NYC event, at which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arab-Americans can celebrate without judgment both their sexual orientation and Arab culture."I was craving community because there was this idea that I could only be one identity at a time," said Tarab creator Bashar Makhay, who is Chaldean-Iraqi, American, Catholic and gay.He said he created Tarab – a series of parties, beach gatherings and other events for LGBT Arabs and Middle Easterners in New York City – because the community needed to be organized. A handful of parties are also held in Arab-dense cities such as Los Angeles and Detroit, but Tarab is doing more than throwing a party – it is run by New York City's LGBT Arab community and seeks to build a group outside of the nightclub scene.
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