Cover Photo: A colorful illustration in blues, oranges, black, white, and brown of a young boy kicking a soccer ball while mid-leap in ballet shoes, as other little boys in soccer uniforms look on forebodingly.
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

Ballet Helped Me Reclaim My Identity as a Queer Iranian

Imagination could only take me so far. I was ready to dance—and this time my mom couldn’t say no.

They looked different, like their bodies were made of silk and elastic. I wanted to be one of them.

was my

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Theme and Variations

It was as if I, too, was in a dream—like those times I got high in my car and imagined myself up on stage, moving freely, as my true self. 

Arya Roshanian (he/him/his) is an Iranian American writer based in Brooklyn. He is Senior Fiction Co-Editor at Action, Spectacle, and a Culture Writer for Bustle. His other reporting, essays, and criticism are published regularly in BOMB, Variety, Guernica, Vox, The Rumpus, Catapult, and elsewhere. His fiction has been nominated for the XLVI Pushcart Prize, and has received support from Tin House Summer Workshops and the Lit Fest Fellowship for Emerging Writers. A graduate of University of Southern California, Arya is currently an MFA candidate in Fiction at Columbia University.