Facing Mirrors: Iranian Filmmaker Explores Trans* Identity in Iran

Transgender identities and trans* embodiment are topics that are generally ignored within many communities, and the Muslim community is no exception, and transgendered people are oftentimes pushed to the margins.Art, film, music and other forms of artistic expression, unlike more fixed modes of understanding, can often open up a conversation that communities and individuals may be hesitant to explicitly explore. As I was cruising tumblr recently, searching for thought provoking and … [Read more...]

Why Did Tom MacMaster Choose to be “A Gay Girl” Blogging from Damascus?

So the whole thing turned out to be a hoax.Throughout the last few weeks, I have been a regular reader of the blog “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” especially during the current unrest in Syria. As Sara wrote in her post, “A Gay Girl in Damascus Tells It Like It Is,” the presumed author of the blog, Amina Abdullah, “is being celebrated as the unlikely voice of Syrian revolution.” The blogger wrote about the daily frustrations she faced as a 35-year-old lesbian living in Damascus.But after reading … [Read more...]

Same-Sex Muslim Marriages Coming to Mosque Near You?

In the last few years, the international emphasis on locating social rights within the Qur’an has primarily been driven by and for women. NGOs in Morocco, Malaysia, Jordan, Afghanistan, Tunisia, and countless other Muslim countries have rallied communities, encouraging them to look critically at the patriarchal structures that have dictated Qur’anic interpretation to date. Through methods unlike those of western countries—methods that often include political embeddedness, the provision of social … [Read more...]

A Flash of Lightning: “Bijli”

The film “Bijli” opens with an off-key rendition of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s haunting Sanu Ik Pal Chain Na Aave.  The poetry of the song describes a man who cannot find a moment’s peace without his beloved.  Some might consider this analogous to Bijli’s predicament as a woman trapped in a man’s body: constantly ill at ease without his other “half.”  Bijli is Fayaaz, the drag alter ego of this Pakistani-born dancer, who presently resides in New York City.This short film by filmmaker Adnan Malik … [Read more...]

A Letter from the MMW Editors

On Thursday, Eren published a great piece on the marginalization of lesbians in Indonesia. As with all MMW pieces, it received mixed feedback. Because we are fairly diligent regarding comment moderation, no comments that violated MMW’s comment moderation policy were approved.On our Facebook page, however, there is no initial comment moderation. Thus, several hurtful comments were published. MMW’s comment moderation policy extends to our Facebook page (even if it has to be after the fact), and t … [Read more...]

Out of the Closet AND Public Life: Lesbians in Indonesia

Debates in the Muslim world regarding the LBGT community are rare, if not non-existent. However, Indonesia’s community has been raising its profile lately. With a legal system that does not criminalize homosexuality, the LBGT community may seem to face fewer challenges than communities in other countries.However, even with the only Gay film festival in the Muslim world, the community still faces major challenges from religious groups in the country and negative social attitudes that are u … [Read more...]

On Muslim Women, Feminism, and Diversity of Experiences

Rabble.ca, an alternative news source in Canada, recently posted a podcast that was originally broadcast on Co-Op Radio in Vancouver, on their show "The F Word," which looks at feminist issues.  Entitled "Islam, women and feminisms," this segment features interviews with two Canadian Muslim women, Itrath Syed and Farzana Doctor.The host of the show talking about the prevalence of images of Muslims in media and popular culture, especially post-9/11, and the need to look critically at these.  S … [Read more...]