Photography by Ryan Pfluger Photographed at Milk Studios, New York, on October 6, 2015. Abdellah Taia: Styling by Michael Cook. Hair: Naivasha AT Exclusive Artists management. Makeup: Angela DiCarlo. Suit by Hermès. Shirt by Calvin Klein Collection.
The plight of the LGBT community in the Middle East has been brought into sharp relief by the horrific zealotry of ISIS. But it was the Moroccan novelist Abdellah Taïa who earned the distinction of being the first Arab writer to come out in public, during a 2006 magazine interview. The reaction was immediate. “They said that I am a prostitute and not a Muslim anymore,” he recalled in an Out profile. “That I should apologize for the shame brought to my mother, to my religion, to my country.” Undeterred, Taïa published a daring autobiographical novel, Salvation Army, turned into a brilliant indie film this year — which Taïa also directed.