On being a queer Muslim woman

Rida Khan, She/Her

Image of woman with maroon hat, smiling at camera

Tell us about yourself?

I identify as a proud Pakistani-Australian-Muslim-Sufi-Baloch-Bisexual woman. I grew up in Horsham, a rural town in Western Victoria.

Tell us what it is like being a Queer person of faith?

There are good days and bad days. On good days you are celebrating Ramadan Iftaars with AGMC (Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council), Victorian Parliament and Ambulance Victoria, or celebrating Eid and Nowruz with Muslim and non-Muslim friends. On bad days, you feel excluded at work by Muslim colleagues. You apply for ten opportunities, get rejected by half for not wearing a hijab. Few recognise you but do not award you, and you might score in a couple of opportunities which are likely to be unpaid.

What work have you done to support Queer people of faith in 2020?

  1. Created a Muslim LGBT+ Support Group called LUT- Living Under Taboos. The name is in honour of Prophet Lot and is designed for our community to be connected during COVID19.
  2. Joined a Steering Committee organised by the Victorian Government and the Australian Research Council to increase awareness of LGBTQIAP+ conversion practices and ideology in Australia, especially within the Muslim- Australian community.
  3. Participated in the storytelling of the Interfaith Queer at the Monash Arts Gallery featuring Queer stories in the City of Monash titled “The Ties That Bind”.
  4. Launched Pakistan’s first ever digital application called “Trans-Help” to fight transphobia and HIV/AIDS epidemic under Youth Advocacy Council (YAC) Pakistan.

For more information about my work, visit: https://ridaaleemkhan.com/gltb-work/

Any message for fellow LGBT+ friends?

“The wound is the place where light enters you.” – Jalal addin Rumi (Sufi Saint)