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Queer and Trans Muslims have always existed but are often erased and ignored. When reporting on LGBTQ and/or Muslim issues, make sure to center Queer and Trans Muslims in the conversation. Below are some tips to reporting on LGBTQ Muslims without generalizing, minimizing or sensationalizing.
Do’s and Don’ts
DON’T play into stereotypes. Too often, the story that is told is the story that fits the stereotype. Only writing about Muslims after an act of terrorism or only sharing the narrative of a Queer Muslim who was disowned is Islamophobic. DO write the story that needs to be told. Write the story that the 10-year old trans Muslim kid is waiting to hear. At the same time, DO let people be honest about their experience, even if they aren’t pretty.
DON’T make assumptions. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, with all different kinds of beliefs and views, many of whom are Queer and/or Trans. Don’t assume a Muslim is straight just because they are religious. Doesn’t assume someone is a woman just because they wear the hijab. DO center individuals’ stories and experiences, rather than generalizations or one influential person’s opinion.
DON’T pit LGBTQ and Muslim communities against eachother. This feeds into Islamophobia and trans/homophobia by assuming that Muslim and LGBTQ community are both seperate from and fighting eachother. It’s not productive, and alienates Queer and trans Muslims. DO center Q/T Muslims rather than people who are just Muslim or just LGBTQ, in conversations about either or both identities.
DON’T treat LGBTQ Muslims as a sensation or token. Being Muslim and queer/trans isn’t rare and we don’t exist to be propped up as a symbol of diversity. We’re real people and our lives consistent of much more than just these two identities. DO report on LGBTQ Muslim that are academics and healthcare providers and experts, as well as Q/T Muslim activists.