Saturday, February 23, 2008

"How to Kill a Transperson"

I’ve wanted to write something about this topic for a while, the topic of homosexuality. I’ve been struggling with myself on whether or not to try to tackle the subject within a community who has very black and white opinions on it. Thankfully the article Zahra has sent me below inspired me to bring up the topic.

Thanks Zahra for sending the article my way. I personally have major concerns with the Muslim community when it comes to LGBTQ issues. A part of me knows that it is not my place to ask anyone to question something they hold such a strong conviction about especially because it is within the bounds of their interpretation of Allah’s words. However, I can’t understand how a group of people who claim to stand against oppression and injustice can sit quietly by as every year, in this country and others, LBGTQ people are constantly oppressed, murdered, raped, and unjustly arrested just because of the way they just are. Put aside the issue about whether they were born that way or if it is a matter of choice or whether they have a disease or abnormality, something genetically wrong with them, a mutation that causes them to be that way and therefore require some type of therapy (when I hear people say this I want to punch them). This is about another human who deserves the same rights we are all entitled to. As Irshad Manji says, “I am not asking you to accept gay people, I am just asking you not to hurt them.”

Honestly, inside what I’m thinking is to ask you to stop being such hypocrites because as you protest about Palestine and other injustices you can turn a blind eye to the MANY injustices here in the country you live in. And yes, I am quite aware about the story of Luq thanks. I’d like to remind you that there are different interpretations. I’m not asking anything from anyone. Just for discussion. After reading the article I wonder what does the Muslim community (at least the one that reads this blog) think about this issue?

Not too long ago a couple of Muslims girls and I were having a discussion about this topic. The question came up about our children and what if they were gay. I think that for us, whether we believed homosexuality was wrong or not, we all agreed we wouldn’t want our children to be gay because of the negative social implications that accompany being LBGTQ such as injustice, inequality, oppression and sometimes death. That’s just sad.

Here are some excerpts from the article titled “How to Kill a Transperson by Ceridwen Troy:

“On Saturday, Sanesha Stewart, a transwoman of color living in the Bronx, was murdered in her own apartment. She was 25 years old. Her accused killer, Steve McMillan, had known her for months, yet when he was arrested, he claimed to have been enraged to find out that she was what the media coverage called not really a woman. He stabbed her over and over again in the chest and throat. She tried to fight him off; there were defensive wounds found on her hands.

On Tuesday, eighth-grader Lawrence King was in a classroom in Oxnard, Calif. He was openly gay, and often came to school in gender-bending clothing, makeup, jewelry and shoes. According to another student, it was freaking the guys out. One of them shot Lawrence in the head. He was declared brain-dead on Wednesday.

It is easy to look at cases like this and think, how tragic. How random. How senseless.

But then, you forget how easy it is to kill a transgender person.

You forget that all across this nation, faith leaders of all stripes, men and women who claim to speak for God Himself, call us sinners, call us abominations, call us evil.

You forget that at best the media depicts us as something to be pitied, something that our families must be strong and overcome. At worst, they depict us as abnormal, exploiting our bodies for ratings, exploiting the publics fear of us for shock value.

You forget that on a good day, law enforcement agents are neglectful of us, and that far more frequently they join in our harassment. You forget the transwomen of color who are rounded up on suspicions of prostitution. You forget the beatings that go uninvestigated. You forget the molestation and rape we face when we are arrested.

You forget the medical establishment that drains our wallets for the therapy and hormones and surgeries they tell us we need. You forget the way we are then refused treatment when we are dying, dying of treatable diseases, dying of easily patched wounds.

You forget that, by the law of the land, it is legal in the majority of states to deny us employment, to deny us service, to deny us housing.

You forget the shelters and the rape crisis centers that will not allow us through their doors.

You forget that many of us do not even have family to turn to when we are at our most desperate.

You forget that the leaders of our own community have told us that it is not time for us to have rights, that it is not pragmatic for us to be considered worthy of the same respect as other human beings.”

Read the rest of the article here.


nida said...

On Friday, Amir Abdel Malik gave a khutba (sermon) at ICOI and talked about how we've DEHUMANIZED others and how people don't see so many people as humans anymore... they have more compassion and mercy towards their dogs! This is just one sign of the lack of compassion and mercy and HUMANITY within and amongst us.

I honestly don't even know what to say.

Anonymous said...

Well, the problem his Amir Abdel Malik has also dehumanized people too. He called out Wolf and the "baggage" he might carry at MSA-West. he has on numerous occasions called out other groups of people including homosexuals.

While I tend to agree with the statement, I think its good to remember that speech is political and Muslims have to take the higher ground, we dont need to take the stance were we actively advocate for gay rights/marriage etc, however we have to take the stance where we are moral and just for all.

I know many Muslims who call for joining hands with right wing bigots because they ban gay marriage, and yet these same right wing bigots would gladly see all of the Muslims in concentration camps. We have to have moral and just politics, something that puts us above the level of intellectual norm that exists in society today.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, you cant reference Irshad Manji and think Muslims will take you seriously.

Bit disappointed that she was used to justify or support or whatever a point of view. Incredibly damaging because she is just one hecka of a "screwed up" person. She has no iota of credibility.

It would have been better had you stuck to your perspective.

Yesi King said...

lol...i can definitely admit irshad manji and i do not share the same political or many other views that's for sure. but i still think she should be respected for what she is trying to do for the LBGTQ commnunity.

Anonymous said...

first of all.. I think people often forget that even though Islam does not consider homosexuality an acceptable route, it still treats homosexuals justly as human beings. Take the example of the people of Lut - they were given plenty of chance for learning, mending their ways, and following the faith. Prophet Lut offered his people his own daughters, as a halal alternative to their sexual deviation.
What people often forget about the people of Lut and the punishment that they suffered as described in the Quran is that those people were also complete disbelievers - described as taunting and tormenting Lut with arrogance and abusing him for believing in the One God, and even attempting to lustfully harrass the angels who had come to Lut in the form of beautiful men.
Lut's own wife was a disbeliever and was punished with the rest of her people (she was not homosexual). So there was the sexual deviance that Islam tried to correct, but the biggest crime they committed was in relations to their complete disbelief in Allah.
Prophet Ibrahim even pleaded for more mercy for them, as described in the Quran "Youjadilouna fi qawmi Lut" - arguing with Us on the subject of the People of Lut. Ibrahim alayhi asalam was not advocating homosexuality, but he wished they did not have to be punished so, and God describes Ibrahim in the quran as being "haleem" - calm, patient, humane.

Ultimately God in his own wisdom took the people of Lut and punished them, setting an example for humanity on 2 accounts: a) their disbelief, arrogance, harrassment of his prophet and of those few who followed him; b) their sexual deviance which they were given ample time and chance and alternatives to mend.

I wonder - if they had said they accepted to believe in one God and follow his prophet, but some had still been homosexual - would the punishment/correction of their behavior still have been the same?

I doubt it.

Bean said...

Thank you for writing this post. I fully agree with what you're trying to get at...and more importantly i don't know why Muslims are always concerned about what other people are doing! like what the hell! the LGBTQ community is not going to bring down the Muslim Ummah, patriarchal attitudes and Muslims acting as though they are holier than thou will.

all oppressed people deserve our support. we don't need to condone what they are doing but they still deserve housing, support from medical professionals, support from law enforcement, etc. We just simply are not in a place to judge- anyone.

Anonymous said...

yesi- respect comes when there is a foundation to base it on. irshad burnt and destroyed that foundation and has nothing to say that is important. She can rave and rant all she wants, no one is listening to her.

Her view is as much in the gutter as is the behavior she has exhibited toward the Muslim community.

You can bring up all the points you want, but to be honest irshad is a bubble of her own making and there is no reason to support her and give her credibility by references her.

Again you are better off expressing your view points alone, rather then drag your perspective to the bottom of the ocean by referencing a nobody like irshad.

me said...

props for talkin bout the taboo

Anonymous said...

Jazaks sis, Im glad you shed some light upon this topic, kudos to you, its about time. So many people have commented on Irshad Manji when she herself is not the main topic being discussed, although she does have an opinion to offer and does bring up some valid points that Muslims need to check themselves on, I dont agree with many of her stances but she does have legitimacy when she addresses the treatment of LGBT Muslims in the Muslim community.

Those who are referencing Prophet Lut (AS) and his example need to take well into consideration the context of the type of Homosexual behavior his people were engaging in. The People of Lut (AS) were perverse not because they were Gay in the modern day context but because they were rapists, liars, cheaters, and thieves. There is a strong difference between a totally monogamous Gay couple that is faithful to one another and a morally deprived society in which Men will rape one another to exert their patriarchal dominance as they do women so often (Which is a horrific occurrence that exists in present day society (in our jails, in our schools, and yes even in Muslim countries) which should be punished. Surprisingly, these men are the last to say their gay; they’re simple being Men. Yeah, stuns you right? Well its statistically proven. Take a human sexuality course for god sake, as a side note: it’ll probably save your future doomed marriage, and help you to not screw up your potential childrens’ minds as well.

No one has the right to say that if someone is a homosexual or identifies themselves as one that they cannot be Muslim. Furthermore, it is also immature, offensive, and stupid to say there is no room for Homosexuality in Islam. Im not even going to get into the stupidity of arguments of some of our right wingers who will pass takfeer on gay Muslims as if they can actually relate or understand our struggle in any way. Step outside of your freaking bubbles and observe the Almighty’s creation and understand the fact that there is no definite black and white box in the human experience, and that there are many you will not be able fit into your predetermined, supposedly 'Islamic' shells of existence. No, we arent immoral, or wayward, or perverse, we are simplly who we are and we have no control over it, its Allah swt. will and we are his creation too. We pray in the same mosques you pray in, we fast in the same month you do, we fight for social justice along side you (although apparently many are lacking in that religious requirement), and we help those in need just like you

The audacity some Muslims have to say such vile, homophobic rhetoric and walk around like they know their shit and pretend to come off as the most saintly and pious self-righteous bastards. Please, if these fools understood and knew our faith well enough they wouldn’t be acting the way they do, instead of shouting ‘Anay’d Daleel?’ In the end some of our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ end up pushing people away from Islam. Id like to see how they’d treat their child if he or she grew up to be gay or if their own blood brother or sister came out to them. Oh wait, they wouldn’t have gay children because they would make sure to “raise them properly” or “raise them to be heterosexual”. Yes Im being sarcastic, and the funny thing is most people are serious when they say such shit. Their ignorance however is not their bliss, because it ruins people’s lives, destroys families, and spreads hate.

There is so much to say on this topic, but I always feel at a loss, theres no use in the end of the day. Most of us have not a single ounce of understanding, love, or compassion left in our hearts. Our ignorance and hatred and perversion of faith has overwhelmed us.

Thanks again Zahra, my comment turned into a rant, not an egotistical one though. Just a summation of the experiences

Billal said...

All of us struggle within. As Muslims in a The U.S. we may struggle to overcome various temptations, while Muslims in Palestine or else where may struggle to survive. Who are wee to judge, what individuals go through. If a person with 2 dollar gives a dollar with intentions for a good cause, clearly that action is better than the action of a person with billions who gives a million. I'm astonished when I think about judgement, and how there are tons of factors even down to the infinitesimal of things, that influence everything that we do; And then I'm like WOW there is no doubt that there is a True Judge.

I also know that if we see any oppression we stand up against it and if wee see any corruption of minds we try to stop it. In this are all my views on homosexuality as well as numerous other discussions.