Hengameh Yaghoobifarah

Portrait Hengameh Yaghoobifarah
Photo: Esra Rotthoff

Questions about questions from Hengameh Yaghoobifarah

How should I address you?
With my name. When you talk about me, don’t say she or he, say Hengameh is writing their first novel.

And that’s what Hengameh is actually doing?
I just finished it. It’s called Ministerium der Träume (Ministry of Dreams) and it will be published by Verlag Blumenbar in February. We aimed for 220, 250 pages. Then I slipped on the keyboard and it turned into 384 pages. A mixture of crime drama, family epic and a road trip with piles of complications.

What’s your connection to the Gorki?
In June the theatre will host a queer festival and I’m recording a podcast to accompany the festival. There’ll also be a live episode at the festival. The podcast is called Auf eine Tüte (For A Smoke). I sit down with a public figure in every episode. The guest chooses the contents of the bag. From joint to liquorice, anything is possible. Then it’s always the same six questions: »What do you have in your pocket;« then the emotional baggage, so »What do you carry around with you;« the third question is »What are you into at the moment;« number four »tell me something that you used to be ashamed of, but today you’re not ashamed of anymore«. Question number five: »Which of the achievements that don’t fit on your CV are you proud of?« And six: »What message would you like to leave the audience with?«

Thank you! I’m stealing the fourth question and posing it to you now.
Once one engages with leftist, feminist, queer theory, one finds out that the roots of shame lie in society. It norms people. I am no longer ashamed of my moustache, nor of people needing multiple attempts to pronounce my name correctly. My feelings of shame were a reaction to the sexism and racism of others. They wanted me to feel ashamed. I’m not doing that anymore. Now I sometimes use mascara to make my moustache a bit darker. Gender wise it suits me. After all, I am non-binary.

Interview: Arno Widmann

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