It’s difficult to find a space that is woman-positive, queer friendly… and Muslim. If you ask me, I would say it is almost impossible! I’m a 20-something, far away from my hometown in New Brunswick, far from most of my family members, and my group of friends has changed drastically post university. We all graduated, and some moved away, moved on or changed. I will be the first to admit that, myself, have changed a lot since university and finding my faith was a big part of that change. Finding a support system of friends has been rather difficult because my two worlds rarely mix: the queer community which I support whole-heartedly and the Muslim faith which I follow with dedication.
The hardest part is to find a space where I can mention both without being put at risk for my safety or at the very least, for my sanity. I’ve talked about Muslims for Progressive Values in the past. The community was welcoming and comfortable, I feel free to ask questions about religion without judgement for my stance. Recently, I volunteered to push the enveloppe: create a social outlet for like-minded progressive Muslims. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as I wished and the group seemed worried that being too open would bring unwelcomed guests. That is how I decided to spearhead the new Muslims for Equality meetup group. Our calendar includes religious and social events for young adults, adults in general and families. We are woman-positive and queer-inclusive and respectful of one and all! (for more info: www.meetup.com/M4E-Ottawa)
Now THAT is the space I wanted. Sometimes, when you want something it’s all about going out there and getting it! Spear-heading this kind of social group is going to bring about more challenging, hilarious or interesting situations, but I’m up for the challenge. God willing, I will be able to keep up with this!