Guest Privileges

Gaar Adams


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Vintage Publishing
28 March 2024
ISBN: 9781787303706
304 pages

From the publisher

An intimate and illuminating account of queer lives and migration, homemaking and community in the Gulf, from a brilliant new voice in narrative non-fiction

'An eye-opening tour de force... an important and necessary contribution to queer literature and an essential one.' Alex Espinoza

Upon moving to the Gulf States – where penalties for queer acts include deportation, imprisonment, torture and death – Gaar Adams wants to understand why LGBTQ+ migrants might choose to live amid such peril. From the UAE to Bahrain and Oman to Saudi Arabia – a region where four out of five residents are noncitizens – he begins riskily gathering interviews outside the tightly controlled state media, leading with what he thinks is a simple question:

Isn't it harder for you to make a life here?

But as unforgettable residents share a kaleidoscope of stories – from uproarious Filipino salon workers throwing secret drag parties to a courageous Pakistani farmhand helping his compatriots smuggle themselves across borders – cracks emerge in the framing of his enquiry, revealing disquieting assumptions about the motivations, places and identities of others.

As Gaar begins his own clandestine queer relationship, fault lines and deeper questions begin to emerge: about what we perpetuate and refuse to examine, and how we balance opportunity, risk, subversion and assimilation.

Weaving revealing memoir with unprecedented reportage, Guest Privileges is a decade-long journey of dislocation not just through the Gulf States – one of the most maligned and misunderstood regions in the world – but into the very nature of home, belonging and how we form a life and community.