(RNS) — Within the early months of the pandemic, the LGBTQ Muslim group Queer Crescent launched a mutual assist fund that raised greater than $60,000 to distribute to individuals prioritized as essentially the most in want.
The cash helped almost 400 people, together with those that have been disabled, incarcerated, households of family members behind bars, and survivors of home violence, in accordance with the group primarily based in Oakland, California.
“We form of highlighted essentially the most marginal of our LGBTQ Muslim communities,” mentioned Shenaaz Janmohamed, director of Queer Crescent. “It tell us that there’s a lot extra nuance and want and systemic boundaries to our group members than we all know.”
Now, to additional acquire an understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ Muslims, Queer Crescent is spearheading and funding what it describes as the biggest survey of LGBTQ Muslims in the USA. The aim is to acknowledge the political wants of LGBTQ Muslims, who in accordance with the group are erased from the broader Muslim narrative.
“How can we self decide what Muslim means to us?” To Janmohamed, that is one query the survey might doubtlessly assist LGBTQ Muslims determine.
The nationwide on-line survey might be launched throughout Pleasure Month this June. It is going to ask contributors about their revenue ranges, what sort of entry they should well being care and whether or not they have skilled any sorts of discrimination, amongst different issues.
For hard-to-reach populations like LGTBQ Muslims, Amara Ahmed — a member of Queer Crescent and the survey’s lead researcher — mentioned they’re hoping to have interaction sufficient individuals who will then encourage others to take the survey. Merely visiting a mosque is not going to be sufficient to get the mandatory voices from LGBTQ individuals, Ahmed mentioned. Fliers of the survey might be distributed at group areas and Pleasure occasions. Queer Crescent might be spreading the phrase with the assistance of different advocacy teams.
“The fundamental concept is to jump-start each a way of the group, and by doing that, make the group extra seen,” mentioned Ahmed, a doctoral candidate on the College of Chicago whose analysis focuses on the experiences of queer Muslims within the U.S.
Ahmed mentioned she’s not conscious of some other research which have centered on LGBTQ Muslims within the U.S. She famous the 2014 Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study that discovered that 42% of Muslims favored same-sex marriage legalization, in contrast with simply 28% of evangelicals.
This sort of knowledge level, Ahmed mentioned, “can solely inform a lot of the story.”
“Loads of Muslims in the USA is perhaps OK with homosexual marriage from a kind of societal, authorized perspective,” Ahmed mentioned. “That doesn’t essentially imply they’re OK with it of their group, or if their child got here out. There’s a way more difficult story to inform.”
These form of surveys, Janmohamed mentioned, “presume that queerness shouldn’t be a part of the (Muslim) group.”
Janmohamed was raised in a Shiite Muslim family in Sacramento the place she was surrounded by a big Sunni Muslim group. “That basically formed a lot of my organizing, pondering of who shouldn’t be current,” Janmohamed mentioned.
She began Queer Crescent in 2017 after the Trump administration’s journey ban blocked individuals from Muslim-majority nations from getting into the U.S. On the time, Janmohamed thought: “The place can I am going to register my grief, my sorrow, my fears and my rage?”
“I believe that mainstream Muslim organizations, mainly straight Muslim organizations, haven’t at all times felt just like the welcoming house for me to essentially really feel seen and heard,” she mentioned.
Since then, Queer Crescent has held workshops on “Islam & Transformative Justice” as a approach to reply to hurt, abuse and violence. The group can be gathering Muslim abortion tales for its Muslim Repro Justice Storytelling challenge to find out how Muslims have navigated accessing clinics, prices, journey, language and cultural boundaries.
Ahmed joined Queer Crescent about three years in the past when she was within the means of popping out as trans. She turned concerned in a assist group and is now main the group’s analysis efforts.
She grew up within the San Francisco Bay Space with a supportive household that was not “tremendous non secular.” Ahmed’s mom transformed from Catholicism to Islam after marrying Ahmed’s Muslim father. Her dad and mom and others have embraced her trans id, together with a household pal who runs a Muslim Ok-12 college and whom Ahmed described as a “very non secular” one who wears a hijab.
“When my mother informed her, the very first thing she did was launch into an Islamic justification for why in accordance with the Quran and the Hadith it’s OK to be trans,” Ahmed mentioned.
Ahmed is inquisitive about how LGBTQ Muslims create a way of belonging “regardless that being LGBTQ and Muslim is commonly seen as not suitable,” she mentioned.
“Each by LGBTQ individuals who doubtlessly see Muslims as religiously conservative, and thus against LGBTQ individuals, and vice versa, with many Muslims seeing being homosexual or trans as not notably suitable with the type of the faith that they observe,” Ahmed mentioned.
“How does an on a regular basis sense of belonging come out of that place … if you’re doing one thing very extraordinary?” she mentioned.