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. His fiction appears in Jellyfish Review, and his reporting, essays, and criticism are published in BOMB, Variety, Guernica, Vox, Catapult, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of University of Southern California, where he was an editor at the Daily Trojan. He is currently Senior Fiction Co-Editor at Action, Spectacle.