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You know what really grinds my gears?
(Spoiler alert: I’m gonna tell you anyway)
When people say, “Islam is like, totally the most heterosexist religion.”
Why? Because first of all, you’re completely erasing the experiences of queer Muslims. We exist. Our families exist. Our communities exist. There are masjids that welcome and accept us with open arms, and there are masjids (a few, but they exist) that are specifically set up for us. There are other Muslims who could care less about our relationships with other people, and there are others who openly and vocally support us.
There are five verses in the Qur’an that are cited as referring to homosexuality, and I’ve heard most of those contested with regards to interpretation at one time or another. To put this in perspective, there are 6346 verses total in the Qur’an.
This means that .078% of the Qura’n can even be possibly attributed to the subject. Think about how minuscule a number that is.
You also have to take into account religion versus culture. The two are very intertwined obviously, but there’s a line. For instance, there have been a lot of posts and articles written by people much more eloquent and knowledgeable than I about how the Saudi government has made a mix of their version of Islam and their own culture to spread this message of super-conservative Islam that, can we be real, a lot of folks simply don’t agree with.As one of my professors once said on the subject, “The person who is the most vocal does not necessarily represent the majority. Sometimes, they’re just rich.”
(I’m also going to add that people thinking that Islam is the most heterosexist religion is also a product of racism since Americans tend to think that Central Asian/Arab people are the only Muslims in the world and white people like to talk about how ~backward~ they are, but since I am white, I don’t feel that I can comment on how exactly racism is intertwined in this discussion, so I’m just going to point that out and let y’all add on to it if you see fit.)
“But all the major schools of jurisprudence say that your existence is a sin!”
The Catholic Church, arguably the strongest and most powerful voice of authority in Christianity, also says that our existence is a sin. I mean, not to try to bring down Christianity here, but there have been a lot of instances of Christian scholars/clergy/followers saying really fucked up things about queer folks. Just like there have been a lot of instances of Christian scholars/clergy/followers saying really awesome stuff and supporting our communities.
Hmm. Some (very vocal) people saying really hateful things while some other people are very supportive and welcoming?
Doesn’t that sound like…any large group of people ever?
You’re going to find heterosexist folks and queer folks in nearly every religion in the entire world. And between them are going to be people of varying levels of hatred, support, or apathy about the subject. So yes, there are a lot of heterosexist Muslims. But there are a lot of queer Muslims and people who support us, and just because our voices are not heard as loudly as the voice of the Saudi government, for example, it doesn’t mean we’re not here.
The ummah is a group of people from wildly diverse backgrounds and experiences. There are Muslims all over the world, of every race and multiple sects. We are queer, straight, trans*, cis, disabled, able-bodied, poor, rich, middle-class, liberal, conservative, you name it. If you try to boil down all of us, 1.6 billion people, 22% of the entire world, to “the most heterosexist religion”, you’re a bigot. And you need to sit down.
If they refuse an innocent phoetus the right to be inside their body, they should refuse men the right to be inside their body? Right? Don't forget that you, your mum, your partner, your best friend, every person you have ever met and every single person who lives or ever has lived on this planet lived because "someone" gave the life growing inside her the right to live. So tell me why does some guy have more right to a womans body than an innocent being?
No one has a right to anyone’s body but their own. Anyone who does not have consent to use or touch someone else’s body is of course denied.
My mom gave birth to me without being forced to. She wanted me. No child should be unwanted and forced upon unwilling parents.
A person’s bodily autonomy will always trump a mere fetus’s right to life.
Discussion On The Way Home From Visiting My Cousin
- Me: there are certain characteristics which are not chosen by the people possessing them, and so those people possessing these characteristics should not be discriminated against simply for the sake of having those characteristics. To make this less cumbersome, let us call the people with these characteristics “purple” for the sake of this discussion. “Blue” people (majority people or perhaps merely everybody that isn’t blue) should not discriminate against purple people because they are purple.
- My father: an assertion of agreement, and then the presentation of a scenario: Posit that it is illegal for a business, say, a bar, to discriminate against purple people. This bar is nevertheless in a place where the primary demographic is blue people. Let us say that the owner of the bar is indigo—he doesn’t care one way or the other about blue people being really really blue or purple people being blatantly purple. For years, his blue clientele come in and drink and exist in their blueness. Then, a couple of purple people walk in. There is no altercation, no harsh words. The blue people don’t cause a ruckus, they simply leave. Because those blue people are bigots, the innocent indigo business owner is losing the majority of his income. The presence of the purple people is killing his business. Why should the business owner bear the brunt of the burden? Why not the purple people?
- Me: I would argue that there are more indigo people than blue or purple people—that the people who just don’t give a damn outnumber them both.
- My father: I tend to agree with you, but you can’t tell me this doesn’t happen. There are places in the south where this is a question of black and white instead of blue and purple. What about this instance?
- Me: But if the purple people bear the burden, nothing changes. The discrimination continues as it was. The discrimination inherent in the system becomes introduced to the populace as normal, because there is nothing anywhere saying that the world shouldn’t be this way. The problem here is the bias, the bigotry of the blue people. In a perfect world, nobody would have to bear the burden.
- My father: I also agree with you that the blue people shouldn’t be biased, but this isn’t a perfect world. This hypothetical indigo person is losing his livelihood due to a regulation. He’s a private business owner—he shouldn’t be told who he will serve in his bar. There shouldn’t be a law affecting the private sector. Sure, make it binding in the federal sector, but not the private sector. He’s not biased at all, but he’s losing his livelihood. How on earth is this fair? How is this any different from the discrimination against the purple people? Sure, he shouldn’t discriminate against the purple people, but you can’t legislate morality.
- Me: yes you can absolutely legislate morality. That’s the entirety of the Bill of Rights. I see nothing stamped on the bottom of your foot that says that you have the right to freedom of speech. That is a moral assertion. A generally acceptable moral assertion, but nevertheless a moral assertion that was deemed necessary to be included in the very foundation of our country. A legislation which is binding in this country. Here is an equally valid moral assertion, a form of which is already appended to our founding documents (in that you cannot discriminate against someone based on their sex or religion). A law which is perhaps more vital because it is not seen as read that it exists. After all, there was a time when freedom of speech was not a guaranteed right—people fought to have it put down in law. It was not taken as read.
- My father: so your argument should be then that this legislation already exists, that the business owner had no expectation he could turn away clientele based on a demographic characteristic when he opened his business.
- Me: Yes! The nature of capitalism is that sometimes businesses can fail because of sheer dumb luck—that a failure may not be the fault of the business owner, and no it isn’t fair but the market just wasn’t ready for the inflatable dartboard. Here, the luck was the collusion of circumstances—that the owner’s predominant clientele consisted of bigoted blue people and some purple people started frequenting the establishment. And if we want to introduce an asterisk adding not discriminating on blueness vs. purpleness to our binding laws, the framework for this legislation is already in place. You’re just adding a few terms to the list of things that can’t be used as grounds for discrimination.
- My father: I see that as reasonable.
- My mother remained silent the entire time. I consider this conversation to be a win.
When people tag their racist/[hetero][cis]sexist posts with shit like "not rasist," "squaw," "dumb bitches," etc., then get called out by the outraged tumblosphere, and they decide to respond with "OMFG WERE YOU TRAWLING THE TAGS TRYING TO GET OFFENDED!?"
AND WHAT IF I WAS?
WERE YOU NOT BEING AN OPPRESSIVE DICKHEAD & THEN MOCKING/BAITING THOSE YOU ARE OPPRESSING?
On Calling Someone Out On An -Ism
When I encounter -isms, they’re usually heterosexism or cissexism. I also see racism frequently. However, there are a myriad of other -isms. Some, like able-ism, I am guilty of perpetrating in my everyday turns of phrase. Others, like ethno-centrism, I am aware enough of to avoid like the plague.
The perplexing thing about calling somebody out on an -ism is that the person perpetrating that -ism often gets offended and acts insulted. The conversation typically goes something like this:
Sometimes, despite the insult or injury, I start out polite
Me: Ow. Hey, dude, you kind of punched me in the face just now. Could you maybe not do that again?
After all, perhaps they were raised to punch people in the face but they’re trying to be better. Perhaps they haven’t punched somebody in the face in a very long time and it just slipped out. Or maybe they weren’t aware that their rampant face-punching was unacceptable behavior. Perhaps if I stayed reasonable I could get them to understand.
-Ismist: No, I didn’t.
This usually degenerates rapidly
Me: Yeah, you did. I was there, right at that moment, when you punched me in the face.
-Ismist: Well, I apologize if you were offended, but that wasn’t actually a punch to the face.
Me: I’m pretty sure it was a punch to the face, despite your inadequate apology.
Then comes the -Ismist’s justification phase
-Ismist: No it wasn’t. And it makes me sad that you think of it as a punch to the face. In a perfect world punches to the face wouldn’t matter. I wish we could just do away with the concept of punches to the face.
Me: Punches to the face happen all the time, dude. You just punched me in the face, unprovoked, and it wasn’t cool. I have been on the receiving end of quite a few punches to the face. Trust me on this, I know what I’m talking about.
-Ismist: I have never been punched in the face, so punches to the face must not happen to anybody!
Shockingly brilliant logic. At this point, I’m quite irate
Me: You just fucking punched me in the face. All I want is a real apology and the promise that you’ll at least try not to do it again.
-Ismist: You lost all credibility by saying the word “fucking”
I think we can all agree that this exchange is more that slightly ridiculous. Now, Reader, you may say that facing discrimination via isms isn’t the same thing as a punch to the face, and in fact you’d be right—it’s worse.While punches to the face can be blocked, -isms cannot be. -Isms can take place in polite environments where nobody but you takes offense, and if you call the -ismist out on their -ismed behavior, you can be the one to get flack. -Isms cannot be blocked. With a punch to the face, if all else fails you can retaliate in kind. As the victm of an -ism, you often have no form of retaliation other than the attempt to convince the -ismist of their flawed and offensive behavior. [Also, the offensive acts of -ism range from conversational slurs to murders, thus turning my metaphor into a clusterfuck. I am aware of this, acutely aware of this, but I left it out to get my point across. Please bear with me].
-Isms are not character traits. They are behaviors. Therefore, it is a pattern of -ismed behavior that makes you an -ismist (sexist, heterosexist, racist, etc.). All -ismed behaviors are learned. They can be unlearned. When you are called out on an -ism, it isn’t being done to insult you. It’s because you just said something which was the equivalent of a punch to the face, and you’re being told “hey, don’t do that again, it isn’t cool.” The person you just hurt is not obligated to educate you, to explain something to you kindly so that your normalized-characteristic-sensibilities are not hurt. The person you just hurt is not obligated to cater to the whims that you, as a person with some normalized characteristics, feel entitled to. The person you just hurt is not obligated to justify that hurt to you. The person you just hurt is not obligated to do anything at all. You just punched somebody in the face, and as the aggressor you are entitled to nothing.
As you can see, it is frustrating to get punched in the face and then have the person who just punched you try to explain it away as nothing. The use of profanities is perhaps understandable.
So when you’re called out on an -ism (as I myself have been more than once) try to keep this in mind. Make a sincere apology, but know that the offended party is in no way obligated to forgive you, either. And try, try not to do it again.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" - It's not an insult
The other day, I was at work, and I had asked a male coworker the following question: “Do you have a girlfriend?” and after he said no, I responded with, “Well, do you have a boyfriend?”
Well, that didn’t go over well. He started inquiring as to why I thought he was gay, and why I would assume that he was gay. Well bro, if you fucking noticed, I actually assumed you were straight because I asked you if you had a partner of the opposite sex first. I told him that, but he didn’t seem to go with it. He simply began to argue with me about how he isn’t gay and that I was incorrect in the statements about his homophobia because he has gay friends so he couldn’t possibly be homophobic. (Yeah, that’s a new one.)
The fact is, asking somebody if they have a boyfriend or a girlfriend shouldn’t be an insult. It’s a question that I ask for one of three reasons:
- a) I would like to ask you out on a date
- b) I have a friend who would like to ask you out on a date
- c) I am genuinely interested in your life because we are friends
When it comes to reason c, as in this situation, I was simply interested in his life. I wanted to learn something new about him, similarly to asking a question like, “Are you from Quebec?” Nobody in their right mind would get insulted by that question. So, I have a piece of advice, if you are insulted by somebody asking you if you have a relationship with somebody of the same gender in a seriously genuine way, you most likely need to get your head out of your heteronormative ass and realize that there are a lot of people who are gay, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I can’t believe I have to say this out loud but if you deny me access to my rights we can’t be friends. We CAN’T be friends! How fucked up would that friendship be?! “Hey, you’re less of a person than me and therefore deserve less respect, recognition in society and protection under the law… Wanna go to McDonald’s?”