Arab Lesbian Dance Party .............. only in NYChttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/fashion/for-arab-lesbians-a-place-to-dance-freely.html?_r=1
Established 10 years ago, Habibi has developed a loyal following, including non-Arabs. “I was pleasantly surprised,” Abraham said, but he was unsure how Banaat’s opening would go. “I want to see more heads,” he said. “Let’s hope for the best.” While there are other gay Arab parties in the United States, this may have been the first aimed at lesbian Arabs.
A few young glamorous women arrived early. One, who identified herself only as Maya, is 26, of Lebanese heritage and lives in Brooklyn with her parents. Pushing her long, wavy raven hair from her face, she said: “I just feel really happy that this is happening. To find a group of Middle Eastern women that are like me in New York.”
Over her jeans, Maya wore a bangled hip scarf that sparkled under the disco ball. She said she is not usually out on a weeknight. “I’m a normal, hard-working full-time employee,” she said, ”but I’m a lesbian and I want to be around others who are similar to me.”
Most of the crowd, which rarely rose above 50 people (half the bar’s comfortable capacity), was timid, curiously watching until two belly dancers, Jaida and Shari, arrived wearing sequined, diaphanous outfits, cleavage spilling from bejeweled bras. With long pink and white veils, they lassoed women to bump hips against them, dollar bills accumulating at their waists.
Jaida stepped into a cage in front of Abraham’s D.J. booth. Women grabbed at the bars, playfully fighting to enter. Asked if dancing here is different from Habibi, Jaida batted her glitter-smeared eyelids and said: “For me, dancing is dancing, and I enjoy myself. The people are warm and friendly here tonight.”
They also epitomized New York’s diversity, with Latins, African-Americans, Asians and Caucasians — and a handful of gay men.
Colombia-born Katia Abuchaibe, a Henrietta’s regular, said: “One of my very good friends is Arabic and she invited me to this. It was a beautiful thing to see, Arab culture, and the gay scene.” Scanning the crowd, she said, “I wish more Middle Eastern girls came. Yeah, I wish that.”