British Muslims are launching their first ever Pride event during a time in which their community is ‘under attack more than ever’ before.
The event is set out to celebrate what it means to be LGBTQ+ and Muslim, as well as how they don’t have to choose between both identities.
Imaan, an LGBTQ+ charity which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Muslims, is hosting the event to celebrate 20 years of working within its community.
It comes after anti-LGBT education protests popped up outside primary schools in Birmingham. Some Muslim parents were outraged to discover the relationship and sex education being taught to their children as part of the national Equality Act.
Some parents got together to launch a campaign against the education material on the grounds it goes against their religious beliefs, specifically referencing the ‘No Outsiders’ programme and Andrew Moffat, who created it.
Anjum Mauj, a trustee at Imaan, said all the controversy surrounding the education programme is highlighting the homophobia within the Muslim community.
She told Metro:
Homophobes are being emboldened by lack of leadership anywhere so Imaan is stepping into that position.
The current political climate, together with Brexit, migrant crisis, Boris, and Trump has emboldened Islamophobes too. As LGBTQI Muslims we are caught in the middle.
On the occasion of our 20th anniversary it’s a very apt time to celebrate with a LGBTQI Muslim festival and celebrate our unique identities and bring some joy into the world.
She went on to stress the importance of providing a voice for LGBTQ+ Muslims, saying:
We have thousands of members at Imaan and many of them are not able to come out.
When I was growing, we were just not having conversations about sex and relationships. So, to then talk about sexual orientation or something else was hugely problematic.
I was out to my family from a very young age and when I made the decision to get married to my partner, my mother was very upset about it.
She didn’t want to tell the rest of her Muslim community. And she still is in that zone of ‘what will the community say?’
I’ve grown up in a really loving and vibrant and inclusive community so it’s very painful to feel that I need to hide part of myself.
Imaan is now turning to its wider friends and supports to help make the event possible with online donations. The charity plans to host panels, discussions, speakers, arts, culture and history.
You can donate here.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.