Hoedy Saad is a 23-year-old veterinary student in Beirut and he’s been teaching voguing classes for the past four years. In a, he talked about watching the documentary Paris is Burning, which explored the 1980s New York ball scene — and first popularized voguing.
“Voguing is not just a dance form — it’s self-expression,” Saad said to CNN. “You tell your story when you vogue and you let everything out.”
Beirut held its first Pride event in 2017 —. More recently, top Lebanese courts have ruled that homosexual sex is legal because it falls under the category of consenting sexual act. As compared to the rest of the Middle East, that puts Lebanon on the more queer-friendly side.
“I’m not sure of any voguing scenes elsewhere in the Middle East — and that’s because, in other Middle Eastern countries, people are more discreet about such issues,” Saad said. According to Saad, voguing has been met with generally positive feedback because Beirut has many LGBTQ-friendly places.
Saad talked about being queer in Lebanon and his experience with discrimination in Beirut with Gay Times.
“Personally, I’ve never had any problem being who I am walking down the streets of Beirut. I vogue and perform everywhere and people seem to like it. I believe it all depends on how you approach people and how you present yourself and your art to the world. Lebanon is considered a very accepting country compared to other Middle Eastern countries, but it’s still not that open,” Saad explained. “You’ll get weird looks from people or some verbal harassment, but rarely any physical attacks which I believe is everywhere – even in the most accepting countries. So it’s important to find a way to make people accept you and understand you, and I think we’re getting there!”
Hoedy Saad’s work is growing more globally recognized as well. On Instagram specifically Saad has a picture with Drag Race winner Sasha Velour and is followed by Pearl and Aja. He was also profiled in a documentary short about voguing in Beirut by Helene Dancer, which you can watch below: