5 Times Turkey Stood Up for LGBT People

I have met many LGBT people in the Muslim World, and I often ask, “What country would you go if you ever left yours?” It’s not a surprise that many would say Turkey. After all, it’s one of the richest. But, Turkey is also seen as a modern country, largely…

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5 Ways Pakistan Is Gay Friendly

In 1860, the British Empire imposed its homophobic laws on India, which was much bigger than the current nation and included current-day countries like the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Section 377 reads: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be…

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5 Muslims Who Wrote Gay Characters

They say a good gay story is just a story, but what about when they are written by straight people? These writers of Muslim background sat down and wrote stories about gay people. All of them had tried to present an acceptable image of the community, for their times and…

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5 Ways Egypt Queerizes The Arab World

There are currently 22 Arab nations in the Arab League including Somalia, the country of my birth. They have many things in common, including a huge appetite for Egyptian arts culture. Oum Kalthoum left us with eternal melodies in her songs, Naguib Mahfouz etched characters in our minds in his…

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5 Muslim Allies in the West

A gay Egyptian friend of mine once said to me that “being queer and Muslim when you think of an ally, you basically think of someone who doesn’t try to kill you in the name of Islam for your sexuality.” That is because in Egypt, and many other Muslim countries,…

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5 HIV/AIDS Activists in the Islamic World

In the mid 1980s, I remember watching the Somali television and seeing a new disease take over the headlines. HIV/AIDS was so new at that time people didn’t even have a name for it. “Aydhiska,” as we now call in Somali, still remains a big taboo. The only person we…

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5 Queer Couples in Islamic History

The phrase “the love that dare not speak its name,” borrowed from a line in a poem by Lord Alfred Douglas, had been interpreted as a euphemism for homosexuality ever since it was mentioned in Oscar Wilde’s trial in which he was accused of gross indecency. But what about the…

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5 Trans Activists in the Islamic World

Those familiar with the issue of transgender rights in the Muslim countries know how difficult it has been. Whereas a gay man or woman might be able to hide their sexual orientation, many of them even marrying the members of the opposite sex, transgender individuals generally don’t have that privilege…

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5 Queer Magazines in the Islamic World

If you are queer and Muslim, you probably know about some of these publications. Some have been around for over 20 years, others are so new you can only get them via phone orders. But what do they all have in common? They serve the LGBT community in Muslim-majority countries….

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5 Queer Muslims in History

Ask anyone in mainstream society, and they will gladly tell you: Islam is a homophobic faith. However, a quick walk down in memory lane tells us differently. What if someone told you that Prophet Muhammad had gays living in his house, that there was once a caliph who was openly…