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 a queer, Iranian-American writer based in Brooklyn. His fiction appears in Jellyfish Review, and his reporting, essays, and criticism are published in Variety, Guernica, BOMB Magazine, Catapult, Opera News, and Opera Magazine. He is a graduate of University of Southern California, where he served as Lifestyle Editor at the Daily Trojan. He is currently working on a collection of short stories.