Over the past year, the Muslim community and the LGBTQ community have experienced immense hardships and losses. Often, we see both communities as mutually exclusive, but we forget those who encompass both identities.
In honor of Pride Month, here are some things queer Muslims often deal with:
1. “So do you represent the LGBTQ+ community or the Muslim community?”
Usually said in a variety of tones, ranging from curiosity to full on aggression. Why can’t I be both? Asking this, regardless of intention, implies that I have to choose between two aspects of my identity that affect me and my livelihood in different ways. Plus, it shows that your image of what a queer person or a Muslim person is narrow, and doesn’t include people like me.
2. “Why would you be a part of a religion that hates you so much?”
Islam doesn’t hate the LGBTQ community any more than any other religion. There are also 1.6 billion of us, so the way we all practice Islam, including our viewpoints on gender on sexuality, are going to be different.
3. Experiencing hate from both communities.
Although there are so many Muslims of different backgrounds, Islam and queerness is often seen as two communities that are constantly pitted against each other. Queerphobia is just as prevalent among Muslims as Islamophobia is in the queer community. It’s difficult being pushed into the margins of your identity, especially when one of your communities is used as a means to justify the hate of another. Regardless of whether you believe we exist, we are still here.
4. Islamophobic pick-up lines.
“Are you a terrorist? because you look like a bombshell!” “Since you’re Muslim, can I marry you and other people, since that’s a part of your religion.” STOP. JUST STOP. The fact that this has to even be mentioned in 2017 is ridiculous.
5. Unlearning and relearning Islam.
As queer Muslims, we learn to internalize that the validity of how we practice Islam is between us and Allah, and no one else. Because of this, we end up teaching ourselves how to differentiate between the cultural lessons that we learned while growing up from what is actually a part of the religion. If anything, it strengthens our ties to Islam.