Presentation Title

Queer Muslim Expression and Anxiety Under Modernity

Project Collaborators

Professor Morgenstein Fuerst

Abstract

Gender, sexuality, and religion are inextricably linked. When navigating queer expression and presentation, colonialism motivates a great deal of anxiety. The evolution of Muslim queerness and gender expression has a dense history that is closely tied to modernity and westernization. Both Muslims and colonizing powers are emotionally influenced in both directions in ways that impact gender expression and affirmation (Najmabadi, 2005). Queer expression and gender ambiguity existed for centuries in Islamic history. A helpful way to examine this is through art and understandings of beauty. Through modernity, beauty becomes feminized and masculinity departs from being a beautiful feature of art (Najmabadi, 2005). Through this process, queer Muslims become inherently non-hegemonic and disrupt heteronormative patriarchy and colonialism (Muneeruddin, 2020). This is both powerful and exhausting work for queer Muslims to perform and challenge by merely existing. This acts on the global history of queer Muslims as they simultaneously absorb and resist the boundaries that modernity attempts to constrain queerness within (Carbajal, 2019). We must understand that colonialism has real consequences on the bodies, communities, and internal wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Muslims.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Religion

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Global Studies

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Queer Muslim Expression and Anxiety Under Modernity

Gender, sexuality, and religion are inextricably linked. When navigating queer expression and presentation, colonialism motivates a great deal of anxiety. The evolution of Muslim queerness and gender expression has a dense history that is closely tied to modernity and westernization. Both Muslims and colonizing powers are emotionally influenced in both directions in ways that impact gender expression and affirmation (Najmabadi, 2005). Queer expression and gender ambiguity existed for centuries in Islamic history. A helpful way to examine this is through art and understandings of beauty. Through modernity, beauty becomes feminized and masculinity departs from being a beautiful feature of art (Najmabadi, 2005). Through this process, queer Muslims become inherently non-hegemonic and disrupt heteronormative patriarchy and colonialism (Muneeruddin, 2020). This is both powerful and exhausting work for queer Muslims to perform and challenge by merely existing. This acts on the global history of queer Muslims as they simultaneously absorb and resist the boundaries that modernity attempts to constrain queerness within (Carbajal, 2019). We must understand that colonialism has real consequences on the bodies, communities, and internal wellbeing of LGBTQ+ Muslims.