Last Saturday, the city where I live in Western Canada held its annual Pride Parade.
This year and against all odds, the first member of my mosque participated in the parade. Sister Sarah (a pseudonym) decided to participate in the parade after years of struggling with reconciling her faith with her sexuality. She decided “to try to blend in” with the rest of the men and women dressed in colourful outfits by wearing a bright yellow hijab tied at the back instead of the front because, despite her courageous choice to join the Pride Day celebrations, she was not ready to face other Muslims in our community.
My province is often identified as the most conservative in Canada. In the past few months there have been reports of racist and homophobic attitudes towards different groups, and the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services research shows that homophobia is still a pervasive attitude among Albertan youth, who often show this through speech. For all of these reasons, I was really proud to see Sister Sarah making the active decision to embrace her sexuality and her religion, although of course this did not come easily.