October 25, 2010

Queer Issue: "Hidden Voices: The Lives of LGBT Muslims"

I have just returned home tonight after attending a presentation, "Hidden Voices: The Lives of LGBT Muslims" by Faisal Alam, the founder Al-Fatiha. According to their website, the purpose of the group is as follows:

Al-Fatiha is dedicated to Muslims of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and questioning or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (LGBTIQQ), and their families, friends and allies.

Al-Fatiha promotes the progressive Islamic notions of peace, equality and justice. We envision a world that is free from prejudice, injustice and discrimination, where all people are fully embraced and accepted into their families, faith and communities.

Alam started his presentation with a general discussion of Islamic culture, before talking about the struggles specifically faced by LGBT Muslims. To be honest, I sometimes like to think I had it rough, knowing I was gay since 6th grade, yet not being able to discuss the matter with anyone. Yet, Alams' presentation showed that what I went through was nothing compared to the difficult trials that some Queer Muslims have been forced to endure.

Another point that Alam brought up that while it is true that many conservative Islamic societies do oppress women, this is not always the case. To prove his point, Alam showed pictures of women modeling expensive clothing at a fashion show.

Alam also relayed his personal story and what led to him from being a model Muslim, to how the silence he was forced endure resulted in him founding Al-Fatiha.

At the end of the day, the experiences of non-white, Christian LGBTQIA are too often ignored. Fortunately, Faisal Alam is willing to break the silence in order to bring attention to the experiences of Muslim LGBTQIA. The world is certainly a better place for it.

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