Tag Archives: Queer Muslims

Trump’s Long-Lost Lesbian Muslim Daughter Is Finally Speaking Out

Ayesha Trump is finally speaking out about her father, Donald J. Trump.

As a half-Pakistani lesbian Muslim, she feels it is finally time to tell the world who she is and to reveal her father’s own hypocrisy.

As much as we all wish this were true, Ayesha Trump is the fictional creation of Fawiza Mirza, a Chicago-based comedian.

Mirza, who is a lesbian Muslim in real life, grew frustrated at Trump’s homophobic, misoygnisitic, Islamophobic comments. “What can a little brown girl do?” she asked herself. “Well, I can make something. I can do comedy.”

She has created a twenty-minute satirical exposé on Ayesha Trump. This intense interview follows the style of many groundbreaking documentaries, complete with close-ups on Ayesha playing with a Trump-Gandhi coloring book, dramatic voiceovers, and nail-biting Gotcha! questions like this one.

INTERVIEWER: How many terrorists are in your family?

(Ayesha counts.)


INTERVIEW: Why were you counting?

AYESHA: Oh, sorry. There are no terrorists in my Pakistani family. But there are at least three terrorists on my Trump side.

Will comedy like this stop Trump’s Islamophobic legislature? Not directly. But Ayesha has a way of turning the interviewer’s questions and expectations on their head – even though she is a bit ditzy herself (inherited from her father).

Another gem of a line:

INTERVIEWER: Do you have any aspirations?

AYESHA: The only aspiration I have is the sweat that comes out of my body. That’s how I aspire.

Unlike Ayesha, who is only now coming forward, Mirza has been an openly queer powerhouse on the Internet for quite sometime. She often posts videos talking about human rights, Islam and coming out. Before starring as Ayesha, she created hilarious webseries such as Kam Kardashian, which follows the exploits of the long-lost lesbian sister from the famous family, and Brown Girl Problems, which details the lives of quirky South Asian women.

Learn more at Mirza’s website.

How Queer Muslims From the South Are Taking A Stand

It is not always easy being a gay Muslim.

It’s difficult anywhere in the United States, where Islamophobic attacks have skyrocketed since the 2016 election. After the San Bernadino shooting in California, the rate of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. shot up from 12.6 per month to 38, and continues to rise.

Worse, it’s especially challenging in the American South, which is (stereotypically) known for its conservatism and xenophobia.

Mona Chalabi started Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project in order to shed light on the LGBT Muslim experience – proving that not all Muslims are extremists and showing young gay Muslims that they are not alone.

“What is it like to be gay and Muslim in the American South?” Chalabi asked several people. They all gave vastly different accounts.

A woman named Saba is terrified about what the Trump administration will do – with a flick of the pen Trump banned Muslims from seven different countries, and she fears that this is just the beginning.

Saba says,

Our safety, our survival, is routinely threatened in the name of some hypothetical greater safety that does not include us. What they are trying to keep safe is white supremacy.”

And there’s so much more to worry about. On top of immigration laws and Islamophobia, Saba says she has to worry about healthcare repeal, Muslim registries, voter suppression, reproductive rights, deportation and, of course, same-sex marriage.

It was the fear of same-sex marriage repeal that drove a woman named Laila to hurry up and marry her girlfriend before the inauguration. The threat of losing health care and the right to marry made the decision a practical, not a romantic, one, although she is glad they tied the knot.

Laila is an activist who is growing discouraged. After the election, she said that “it seemed like all of the work done to progress this country had come to a standstill.”

Being an organizer is draining work. She spends hours, sometimes days at a time, “going door-to-door, couch-to-couch, talking to working-class people of color about the economic struggles in our community,” which is “amazing” but “exhausting.” She finds it hard not to succumb to the numbness.

But she grins when she says, “We’re fierce as fuck.”

A woman named Sufia is more hopeful. She says, “I absolutely feel that this most recent version of fascism rearing its head is just the dying gasps of white supremacy.”

For her, being a Muslim is more political than it is religious. She finds her spirituality in the earth, and credits Islam for helping her do the internal work necessary to deal with the evils of the world. She hopes to “develop the spiritual strength to be emotionally and spiritually ready to show up against oppression, fascism, racism and to move this outward into my work in solidarity with the health of our planet, and the creatures on it.”

For more of the Queer Muslim Photo Project’s incredible work, check out the rest of the photos.

The Queer Muslim Movement Is Growing

In America, Muslims are often depicted as intolerant and bigoted. However, more and more Muslims are openly identifying as queer, and more and more mosques around the country are openly accepting queer people.

All over the United States and Canada, queer imams are reaching out to LGBT Muslims – instead of turning away from the faith, these Muslims are encouraged to reinterpret the Koran.

Unity mosque is one of the most open-minded mosques of its kind. Its pastor, El-Farouk Khaki, is an openly gay imam and human rights lawyer. His weekly services are populated by queer Muslims, many of whom have been cast out from the families and communities for their sexuality and gender identity.

While most religious leaders – Christian, Jewish and Muslim alike – are known for listing strict rules of “Do”s and “Don’t”s that supposedly come from God, Khaki takes a vastly different approach.

He often discusses self-care, which is very important for queer religious people who feel guilty because of their sexuality. He also discusses physical, spiritual and emotional healing.

His main goal is to encourage the members of his congregation to form a spiritual connection with God and find their own spiritual path. It’s not about being a good Muslim according to traditional Koranic interpretations. It’s about being a good Muslim according to one’s heart.

Khaki is unorthodox not only in his mosque’s beliefs but also in his mosque’s practices. He doesn’t want any of his congregants to follow rituals like reciting the Koran or praying five times a day without first investigating why they do them.

Although traditional mosques separate men and women, Khaki prefers that all of his congregants pray in one place as one.

At this mosque, you may find conservatively-dressed women in hijabs. But you may also find women who are tagged with tattoos and who reject head coverings altogether.

As Donald Trump takes office, the work of queer communities like this is becoming even more important. Not only are queer Muslims often ostracized from their families for being queer, but they’re also publically ridiculed or even attacked for being Muslim. Khaki’s mosque is a safe haven.

Learn more about North America’s growing queer Muslim movement here.

Queer Muslim Couple Marry To Protect Their Family Rights And Send A Powerful Message Of Love To Trump

Laila Nur and Saba Taj decided to get married in North Carolina to send an important message of love to Donald Trump about sustaining equal rights.

Talking to Mic, Taj explained

We decided to get those papers in order to be able to be there for each other in the future, in order to ensure that we could both be legally recognised as parents if we decide to become parents again. So that we can have more options for health care in case the Affordable Care Act is overturned.

The reality of health care, reproductive rights and our civil rights being at risk really sunk in. Gay marriage has been legal in North Carolina for a very short time, and just like so many of us were caught off guard by Trump’s win, we didn’t want to be caught off guard again in case this right was stripped from us.”

The couple got married in a small ceremony of just four people at a courthouse in their home.

We got married in the courthouse of the city where we live, love, and resist. There’s something really beautiful to me about simplicity, and this experience was simple and beautiful.”

The two had previously debunked the idea of marriage because they viewed it as a “heteronormative practice rooted in a capitalist system.”

However, in light of a Republican dominated house the two decided they would secure their rights while they still could.

Nur added:

America is facing the demons in the closet. The right-wing is unifying around their vision of a New Confederacy, what are we bringing to the table to fight that?”

Just me and Allah: Photo Series Documenting The Lives Of Queer Muslims

This summer, Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA), Videofag Gallery and Parliament Street Library will hold exhibitions by Toronto photographer Samra Habib featuring queer Muslims.

While there has been discussion around multilayered identities in academia, there is a need for accessible visual representation that will serve as historical evidence of the existence of queer Muslims. Mainstream Islam isn’t always welcoming of LGBTQ Muslims yet a lot of the Muslim traditions and rituals bring queer Muslims comfort and provide a sense of belonging.”

Samra Habib

Whether it’s through celebrating Muslim traditions in queer spaces or incorporating aesthetic elements and symbolism in their everyday lives, the work explores the ideas of community and personal expression that are inspired by Islam but are the individuals’ personal re-interpretations. Video interviews reveal some of the subjects’ complicated relationship with Islam and how it’s shaped by historical and political events in the last decade.

Samra’s work is not only aesthetically engaging but also culturally demanding. The location of the show in the CLGA Reading Room will inspire dialogue around identity, politics and history.”

Karen Stanworth, head of curatorial committee at the CLGA

The exhibition will launch at Parliament Street Library on June 18th. On June 24th the CLGA will open a satellite show to coincide with the exhibitions running at Videofag Gallery and Parliament Street Library. On July 2nd, a discussion panel at the CLGA featuring prominent queer Muslims (including Salaam founder El-Farouk Khaki) will complement the exhibition. The panel will be moderated by journalist Elio Iannacci. A closing party at Videofag will follow.

The most rewarding thing about this photography project is getting emails from LGBTQ Muslims from around the world who are finding out about the exhibitions via this Tumblr. It’s really, really restoring my faith in social media. Trying not to get too emotional about this but it’s hard not to.

The idea of doing a photography exhibition featuring queer Muslims came to me a couple of years ago. I wanted to show everyone the creative and brilliant LGBTQ Muslims I identified with the most and would hang out with at art shows, queer dance parties and Jumu’ah prayer. So I picked up my camera and decided to photograph what I was witnessing. In the words of the brilliant Dali (who I shot for this project), “we have always been here, it’s just that the world wasn’t ready for us yet.” I hope you love the photographs as much as I loved taking them.

Samra Habib

About the photographer:

Samra is a Toronto-based writer and photographer who has written and spoken about her relationship with Islam for the New York Times, CBC Radio and Fashion magazine.