Amrou Al-Kadhi has written a simultaneously gritty and glittery memoir about their life, from a childhood in Dubai and Iraq to an education at Eton and then Cambridge; from a young Muslim desperate to appease their family’s expectations, to the fabulous Glamrou, a beloved drag performer.
Critically, this book is about fluidity and about accepting that there is no one way to identify both religiously and sexually, without ignoring the tremendous amount of pain and rejection that came first. The book grapples with Amrou’s experience of being both Muslim and queer (which are not mutually exclusive), and finding a sense of identity through moving away from rigid gender conformities.
Amrou delves into British Islamaphobia and the self-hate which manifested in their attempts to assimilate, as well as the way Iraq is depicted in society, media and in film. In an art class which focused on finding one’s true self, instead of their struggle with sexuality and being shamed by family and culture, Amrou was encouraged to explore the violence of “his people” back “home”; as a young, talented actor, the roles Amrou was considered for were “terrorist”, “terrorist’s son”, and the likes; at Eton, Amrou endured taunts that they had gotten lost at the “bazaar”.
And yet, despite what can only be described as a traumatic start to life, a unicorn emerges from the ashes… 🦄
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