Coming to Islam for me wasn’t an exceptional experience. The tendency for people who have converted to Islam to consider ourselves “reverts” holds a lot of truth to me – because submission to Allah (swt) is a sort of natural state, accepting Islam later in life is a return to something we’ve always known. I came to Islam while ambling halfway through my twenties and struggling to understand my place in the world. Reading the Qur’an for the first time felt like rediscovering something I had known a long time ago, yet somehow forgotten. Suddenly there it was: all the answers, the passions, the ethical framework from which I wanted to build my life. It was there, all unfolding in front of me in a way that felt so very much like divine revelation. I had come home.
The only experience I could possibly relate it to came seven years earlier. I was a teenager escaping her sheltered lower-middle-class suburban childhood, learning about the real world in the big city and meeting new different people every day. In those cold exciting months amid a particularly brutal Toronto winter I discovered a truth that once uncovered, it was as if a lifetime of memories came into perspective and I understood that part of myself I had always known but never had the language to articulate.
It was when I came to the simple truth that the sex I had been assigned at birth and the gender that I knew and perceived myself as were at odds with each other. It was in those quiet months that I came out as transgender and began living my life as I was meant to: as a woman.
…the sex I had been assigned at birth and the gender that I knew and perceived myself as were at odds with each other.
Two simple truths, nearly a decade apart, in which I finally found an authentic understanding of myself. In these core personal truths, I flourished. To every person who tried to hold me back, I proved them wrong by living well and authentically within them. I never converted from one thing to another. I never became something new. In both my transition to womanhood and my conversion to Islam I was as a revert – returning to an absolute truth which had been with me all along.
Nearly a decade post-transition and a handful of years post-shahada, I’m a strong and successful woman just like any other seeking out truth, independence, and wellness in an increasingly complicated and contradictory society. For many years I kept my trans history a secret, passing for cisgender and passing through my communities and activist spaces in a pretty uncomplicated fashion. Watching the way our Muslim community treats its gender-variant siblings – the way we’re ridiculed, sexualized, excommunicated, subjected to abuse and violence – it’s pretty obvious why a person would want to keep that closet door closed. But that’s not gonna work anymore.
I’m a Muslim woman of trans experience, and the Ummah is going to have to find a way to make space for its sisters like me.
Reading the Qur’an for the first time felt like rediscovering something I had known a long time ago, yet somehow forgotten.
It was something to do with Caitlin Jenner’s spectacular coming out that thrust transgender people into the Contemporary Muslim Conversation. At the time, I was living in a small community in the dead-center of the American Bible Belt. I had been living entirely “stealth” for many years (meaning the only people who knew about my transgender history were my birth family and my boyfriend of seven years). A hijabi in Oklahoma, the Muslim community was the only place I could feel at home. I was accepted as a revert, and better developed my faith in a supportive and caring environment. Out of nowhere, a rich celebrity I knew nothing about was talking about her transition on national television and suddenly Muslims had something to say about transgender people. I heard from pop-culture imams railing against these new deviant Western tendencies on Facebook. Sisters from the masjid (the very same women who invited me into their homes and shared in iftars that Ramadan) talked about how disgusting these men-who-want-to-be-women are, swearing they’d never be allowed in our prayer spaces. It was a scary time. Living in Islamophobic middle-of-nowhere America, the Muslim community was one of the few places I felt truly welcomed and safe. Suddenly it became apparent that all that love and security I felt was entirely conditional.
In the diatribes I’ve heard about the impermissible nature of transgender people in Islam, what’s struck me the most is how misinformed and ahistorical most arguments are. Gender variance is portrayed as some kind of Modern Deviance of the West, when in fact people who may be interpreted as “trans” today existed in the times of the Prophet (pbuh) and Pakistan has legally recognized its third gender citizens since 2009. Hadith are misappropriated to condemn us, while the same collections contain affirmations of our right to live truthfully. Transgender people are portrayed as a symptom of deviant homosexual decadence, when the Islamic Republic of Iran (not exactly known for its liberal stance on “deviant lifestyles”) has had legalized and formalized modes of state-supported transition for its citizens since the 1980’s. What most arguments fail to realize is the simple fact that transgender Muslims do exist. As scholars treat us as hypothetical thought experiments we get by in our quiet ways, learning how to better and most authentically practice our faith without being subjected to discrimination and violence. We’ve always been here. We’re not going away.
My question for the people who would condemn me for my status as a trans person is this: what would you have me do? What would be the Islamic way? Do I deny that intimate truth I’ve known so long, and flourished so well in, because you don’t understand it? Do you claim to know your brothers and sisters better than they know themselves?
Being a revert, am I less valid in the eyes of Allah?
Life is a simple matter. It’s about embracing Truths, living them fully, and living in them well. Insha’allah, I would like to see a world where sisters like me won’t have to to through the kinds of struggles I have been subjected to. Already, the conversation has changed so much and support for trasngender people grows every day. I had come to Islam in much the same way I came to womanhood. I’ve always been this way – in my bones and in my soul. There is no way but through the blessings of Allah that I could come to these truths. I wasn’t born in to them, that I could come to them in the right moment and better live my life.
To the transgender and gender-variant Muslims reading this article right now, I have a message for you: You’re not alone. You’re not a freak. You’re not a mistake. We’re here, not only surviving but thriving in our own ways. You’re stronger than you know. Human beings are incredible things, the things we endure and the lives we go through. I believe in you.
My invocation to the cisgender people reading is this: stand up for your trans siblings. Be present. Be vocal. We need your voice.
Written by Mahdia Lynn, a writer, feminist critic and activist living on the stolen and colonized land currently recognized as the United States of America. She lives in the city where she acts as coordinator for the [Transgender Muslim Support Network] (http://trans-muslims.tumblr.com), blogs about comic books, and works to build inclusive community and prayer spaces for LGBTQI and gender-variant people of faith.
Image Provided by Mahdia
I stand with you sister.
It really sucks that you were born a man and have a Y chromosome, man. In reality, you are a man, born a man, and forever will be a man, and no surgery and political correctness can change that. Oh, you don’t like that, do you? You’re a man, albeit a sick one, who can’t be what he was meant to be: a man.
It really sucks that some people have poor eyesight yet they try to change who they are by wearing contacts or getting expensive, unnecessary surgery. In reality, that person is nearsighted, was born nearsighted, and will forever BE poor of sight. It’s genetic, biological, and unchangeable. No cosmetic changes, medical intervention, or surgeries can change that. If you were *meant* to have 20/20 vision Allah(swt) would have given it to you – wearing contacts or getting lasik is a violation of His divine will. You’re just a nearsighted person, albeit a sick one, who can’t accept who she really is.
Bulls*it. Your eyesight CAN change – and age is one of the reasons. Plus, I’m not nearsighted, but even if I was, you’re denying your own book when you say “wearing contacts or getting lasik is a violation of His divine will.”
(Al-Quran 5:87)”O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.”
So not only are you a liar, you’re a hypocrite. I also smile at the fact that this is the absolute best the LGBT-tards have to come up with, and they’ll suck up anything under the sun so long as it comes from a man who isn’t even a woman. A man cannot achieve the identity of a woman despite believing that he is, and vice versa. Sex is biological. Gender genetic and is tied with sex. There is a gender binary. Want to prove otherwise? Well then good luck telling Mahdia Lynn that he’s not a woman but a social construct.
Plus, I am not changing who I am if I decided to wear contacts. I an correcting my vision. It can be corrected. On the other hand, tester one and estrogen treatments hurt people.
Estrogen is particularly important for (real) women because it thickens the lining of the uterus, enabling the implantation of fertilized eggs. Interestingly, no “trans woman” has ever, will ever, or can ever have eggs to fertilize or a uterus to implant them in. Men do have some estrogen naturally, but high levels of the hormone put them at a considerable risk for heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other serious side effects.
When a woman has a high level of androgen hormones such as testosterone in her body, she can be unable to release eggs from their follicles in the ovaries. Since the fluid-filled follicles don’t open and empty, they stay in the ovary and the ovaries appear to contain many cysts. This is the reason for the term “polycystic” in the name of the disease. Women with this condition may have problems with fertility because egg release (ovulation) stops or happens only once in a while. When no egg is released during a monthly cycle, the woman’s hormones don’t change levels as they normally should. In reaction, the uterus manufactures a fragile inside lining that can cause her to have irregular bleeding. The lining is not shed all at once as during a normal menstrual period. Because of the abnormal hormone balance, the lining of the uterus is also at a higher risk of developing a cancer.
These treatments don’t make them change gender, they make them sick. On the other hand, eyeglasses, contacts and eye surgery can and do help vision problems. Your argument is not equivalent.
Transgender people do hurt people, and most importantly, they use OUR tax dollars to pay for their surgeries while people who are truly sick don’t get a dime for their suffering.
Love this stuff… Jazzakallahu khairan
@WomenAreWomen the difference is that contacts and eyeglasses are an actual legimatesurgery. I don’t like UIDABIW any better but really? Let’s not sink to her/his level
Live your truth. God sees your heart and your soul. If you are true to that, then everyone else’s judgments mean nothing. And the other commentator clearly has only the most superficial understanding of science on the topic, as in fact people can have different chromosomal makeups and hormones changes during pregnancy that affect body part development in ways that do not match a person’s mind and identity. No, we don’t fully understand the science here, but we understand that personality and identity are complex. What gene or biochemistry, for instance, makes UpisDown intolerant and unwilling to admit that a person might know themselves best?
My mother is schizophrenic, ok? And she thought the rocking chair was talking to her. They put her in a mental hospital. They did not tell her the rocking chair was talking to him to allow her to live a better life — they put her in a hospital and then they gave her antipsychotic, which allowed her to live a better life. Looking for better solutions than transgender surgery would be a better solution than pretending that transgender surgery is the cure for people.
When it comes to political activists, you have the worst of everything. They are not only governed primarily by their “foundational feelings,” but they are also ruled by knee-jerk emotions that take place during the heat of an argument. Transgenderism is clearly a disorder, a really rather sad and tragic disorder. The people who are so busy celebrating it never seem to see the man inside that is so despised, he is being rejected and cast off in favor of a new persona.
Gender is not in the mind. Specifically it’s used as a pronoun, in order to properly address a thing that is male or female by the basis of sex.
Your sex refers to your sexual organs and what biological functions you possess, while gender (aside from being used as a pronoun) correlates with genes and is directly associated with sex.
TL;DR it turns out that every chromosome in Mahdia Lynn’s body, is male, with the exception of some of his sperm cells. How he feels on the inside is irrelevant to the question of his biological self.
Accolades for your patience regarding those who are not ready to face the truth. Greater appreciation for your research data and your ability to share this knowledge in a comprehensive manner. Would like to join in educating the masses about this mental disorder if possible with the utilization of biological facts.
Thanks for posting your insight.
Here’s to Your Health!
While UpisDownandBlackisWhite’s comments are definitely abrasive, I’m inclined to agree with them on the part that you cannot change your gender. I am quite certain that Allah would have mentioned the ‘gender identity’ in our Scripture.
Al-Quran 49:13 “People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and
made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one
another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most
mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.”
God making us male and female.I think Allah would have included and said directly if He intended for us to accept these lifestyles. @klwaffle:disqus help me pray for our confused brother here, and let us help him with our prayers.
I am a not a woman, but if I were, I would bevespecially angry at the notion that a man can essentially buy his way into my sex. When you are born with an X and no Y chromosome, scientific fact like to say, you are a woman. There is nothing that will change that. And intimidating people into believing differently still does not change the science.
Yeah, no sh*t. Glad to see someone with sense.
I worked as a urology surgical nurse for a time in Louisiana. There I learned that it was not infrequently a dilemma for doctors and parents
to decide which gender would be assigned to a baby. They often go with the external genitalia and have the opposite (testes or ovary) removed surgically. I imagine there are other genetic variations that are not so obvious and do not have surgery.
If an individual has an X and a Y chromosome, and simultaneously grew a vagina and breasts, it is because of a DEFECT in his Y chromosome. It’s not normal and no biology textbook will tell you it is normal. So using that to support your transgender argument doesn’t really help you much. Sorry bud.
Not everyone is limited to an X and Y chromosome.
If you have a Y chromosome, period, you are a male. Every X chromosome in addition to your first will turn into a deactivated Barr body in every single cell. So therefore XO and XXX are female, and XXY and XYY are male.
I’m interested in learning. Are there other combinations besides the ones listed above
and how are these combinations perceived in the feeling right brain?
Mitosis involes the replication of every other type of cell beyond a sex cell. One example of things going awry is when the checkpoint of motosis are passed prematurely or are shut off by various procancer mechanisms the cell will continually divide. Uncontrolled cellular growth characterizes cancer. Another example could be if mitosis does not get out of control with growth rate the cell can divide improperly and the cell can have an unusually number of chromosomes. Then, if this cell replicates more and more cells from it will have this odd number of chromosomes and a number of problems can ensue.
Meiosis involves the replication of sex cells. If this process goes awry the sex cell can have an odd number of chromosomes and this can lead to numerous genetic disorders. For examples, three number 21 chromosomes yields Down Syndrome and an extra X chromosome for a male can make him sterile.
Every individual with a Y chromosome is a male. Every X chromosome in addition to the first one is deactivated in a every cell in your body so multiple X chromosomes do not at all constitute a different sex. An individual that is XO and XXX or XXXXXXXXX is a female. An individual that is XXY or XY or XXXXXY is a male.
Mahdia Lynn is suffering from a dysphoria, i.e. a DISORDER. Gender dysphoria is a mental disorder. It could be taking a focus off a bigger problem the person doesn’t deal with. Please look up Walt Heyer, who ‘transitioned’ to a woman in the ’90s but then went back after he realized it was not the solution to his problem.
I can’t help but thinking you’re paraphrasing Rachel Dolezal – who, by all logic, should be considered black. If transgenderism is such a normal thing, why not transethnics? Transspecies? Transables?Transagers? Why not them? They are all the same as transgendered individuals – transgenders experience discomfort with their ‘biological’ (funny how I have to stress that) gender, and transagers transethnics, transables, and transspecies experience discomfort with their biolohical age, race, ability/disability, species, etc.
You say “I can’t help but thinking you’re paraphrasing Rachel Dolezal – who, by all logic, should be considered black. If transgenderism is such a normal thing,” No, I’m not paraphrasing anyone and I have not said that transgenderism is “normal thing.” At the time of the urologic surgery I referred to above, chromosome studies were not being done on people…I think not even possible at that time…about 1962.
I understand from what you say, that “Mitosis involves replication of every other type of cell beyond a sex cell….Meisos (not a typo for metosis) involves replication of sex cells. not the division as in mitosis, rather something to do with the duplication of chromosomes or lack, etc, giving rise to various conditions beyond what is considered “normal” or “usual.” So if an extra X Chromosome can make a male sterile, I can see that it has affected the hormones, less testosterone I presume, and since males have some estrogen (even as females have some testosterone), the XY male is likely to have some different feelings and perceptions about self than other males. Those different feelings would be “normal” for that condition.
Would you tell me how some babies end up with both an ovary and a testes?
Thanks for updating the genetics for me.
Ah. You must forgive me then; you never can be sure in this time.
‘Identity’ is based on: biology, experience, appearance, reaction, morality, consciousness, etc, etc. Biology is the fundamental part of who we are; to say it has no role is the equivalent of saying that existence in itself is not important. No singular human being has the same identity. A man cannot achieve the identity of a woman(despite believing that he is) and vice versa.
That would take quite a lot of genetic malfeasance at the moment of conception, implying that in vitro there were no mass collection of cells. As soon as the egg is fertilized, biological sex is determined. (It can’t be flipped unless there’s a legitimate coding error. It happens to those that have Down’s Syndrome.)
I’m hoping you can tell what goes “wrong” when a baby
has both an ovary and a testes. Your are more up to date
on physiology and gentics than I, it seems.
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I have not learned yet what exactly causes a baby to be born with testes and ovaries, but I’ll be happy to research and get back to you as soon as I can.
It would most likely be a female baby. She would be born with XX chromosomes and have ovaries, but she would also have a testes/penis. For some reason that is still unknown, they develop female bodies, but occasionally retain some development of a male form.
(There is controversy as to whether it is the brain or the body that develops the wrong gender, most will agree that it is the brain that is imprinted wrong)
Thanks for doing the research. But, doesn’t the body develop as a product of the novocord (brain) during gestation?
Hello, I am a transgender male (FTM) who currently has a crush on a woman who I believe to be Muslim (her first name is Fatima). I asked her out for coffee and she flat out rejected me. It definitely has me thinking about the reason for that rejection even though none was given. Obviously, dating is not allowed in Islam. She already knows I like her because I have already expressed my feelings. The issue here is that I like her ALOT. I do believe in God although I don’t follow any particular religion at this time. I have a number of questions. One is, is it allowed for me as an FTM to be able to convert to Islam to be able to propose marriage to Fatima? If so, how do I go about initiating this type of conversation with Fatima? (I am only a customer where she works). She also may or may not know that I am trans because I pass greatly as a man even though I am not on hormones and have only had top surgery. Perhaps I should just come out and ask her about how I as a transgender person could learn more about Islam? Not really sure where to begin. Honestly if marrying Fatima was the only way I could share my life with her completely, I would convert if she asked me to. Please can you shed some light on my questions, MuslimGirl? Thank you.
Islam goes beyond merely disapproving of homosexuality and transgenderism. Sharia teaches that homosexuality is a vile form of fornication, punishable by death.
There’s a difference between accepting something, versus acknowledging its existence. Sorry but I can’t think of any momotheist religion you would want to join, they all tell you your “orientation” is an abomination.
If Islam is meant for you, then you will be rightly guided. Read Quran and familiarise yourself with the concepts. Ignore the Anon reply underneath, there is only one Judge and its is a sin to judge others. By the measure we judge we shall also be judged so please don’t think all Muslims are judgmental. In Islam we face Jihad, which is our own personal struggle. We all do struggle, life is not easy. Take things slowly there may be issues related to Fatimas family etc. I would advise very slowly, build up your knowledge of Islam and pray for guidance. InshAllah you will be led. Peace
Not going to try and stop sir, but know that
Apostasy is punishable by death.
Judge mentality is a sin? Only if you judge other Muslims. The Quran makes it very clear that homosexuality is a sin.
Allah is so merciful he burns you in eternal hell for not believing in him when there is no evidence to support the absurd claims – the Earth existed before there were stars; Mohammed rode to heaven on a flying horse, the Eath is flat and geocentric (don’t give me the ‘no! It’s egg-shaped!” bullshit. The way Muhammad said the Sun raised and asks permission to set (in a muddy pool, no less made it clear he thought the earth was flat.) Also, it is said both in Quran and Hadith that the earth sets in a muddy pool.(Quran 18:86: Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it set in a pool of murky water)
Frankly, it’s pretty insane to believe that some 1400 years ago, an angel came down to a cave and delivered the guide for all humanity to some random Arab. We know that dreams are possible, we already know that mediating can induce sleep or a sleep like state, and people throughout history have claimed to be visited by a celestial being, and these claims have all been proven to be the result of hallilucination, delusion, dreams, or outright lies. There is no reason to believe that in your prophets case it wasn’t that. It’s not strong enough evidence to use for making life-changing decisions based off the unverifiable and weak belief that the creator of the UNIVERSE came up with this as the best plan to get people to live by his rules.
I was a Muslim once- or at least I considered myself to be. I left because I actually studied and read the Quran and realiesed how screwed up it’s god is.
Not going to try and stop you, but know that if you do convert, apostasy is punishable by death.
Apostasy was punishable in this way when in the early days of the Islamic community, leaving represented an existential threat similar to treason. More and more today’s scholars are clarifying this, most recently in Morocco. Of course we do have some “originalists” and rigid legal minds that still embrace tribal justice. But Islam no longer embraces social norms that included slavery at the time of the Prophet. Mohammad (Peace upon him) discouraged and limited slavery, but did not seek to abolish it at that time. Moreover, our informed interpretation and our compassion matters too, not only obedience received wisdom of this or that scholar. In that context we should keep our hearts and minds open on our transgender brothers and sisters. An open heart is a loving heart.
Only Allah has the right to decide, he is the only judge. I recommend everybody who objects should re-read the Quran. We are taught that someone who is astray cannot read or understand the book of Allah. If you have been guided to the faith then it is the will of Allah and you should not worry what people think. If you are persecuted for your faith, then this will work in your favour on the day of judgement. Lets not forget that Allah is entirely merciful and ready to accept every human being to the faith. Lets not forget the fact that Moses killed a man but was still made a prophet. Allah is ever forgiving. What will any of this matter when we are all in the grave? Think ahead brothers and sisters, Allah guides whom he wills, please do not judge, it will be better for you.
Why can’t we as Muslims all rejoice on behalf of someone entering the Deen of Al Islam and not focus on gender at this momemt,
Pakistan’s transgender community cautiously welcomes marriage fatwa
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