A new resource guide published Thursday by the Muslim Youth Leadership Council hopes to encourage young LGBTQ+ Muslims to share their experiences.
“So many of the mainstream LGBTQ resources don’t necessary resonate with LGBTQ Muslims,” said Khadija Khan, the Muslim and International Youth Leadership Councils coordinator at Advocates for Youth.
The council, which is made up of people age 16 to 24, is part of the larger nonprofit Advocates for Youth, which works to ensure that all young people have access to accurate and age-appropriate information about sexuality and sexual health. They began wondering how they could help build that sense of community for other young Muslims.
“We often had to say — whether it was in our Muslim communities or in our LGBTQ communities — we’d have to say, ‘I’m Muslim, but I’m not homophobic’ or ‘I’m Muslim, but I can still be queer,’” said Khan. “So it’s always ‘I’m Muslim but, but, but…’ instead of being able to say ‘I’m Muslim and these things.’”
Those conversations inspired the council to create the #MuslimAnd social media campaign last fall as a way for young Muslims to share their stories.
Khan and a colleague began developing the guide by interviewing fellow council members about their teenage experiences and asked them to look back and suggest things they felt would have been helpful to teens like them who are currently in high school.
“A lot of what we heard by asking was that they needed affirmation,” she said. “They needed to know that other queer Muslims exist.”
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