Yellowkitties hosted yet another Being Me session, one of our four-part panel discussion series to hear lived experiences from our diverse LGBTIQ family. This time round, we looked to our Muslim queer friends. We managed to secure yet again another accessible location in the CBD – the General Assembly (GA). It reminded me a little of school, except with a bit more jazzed up. The person in charge at GA, Ingrid was very friendly and helpful, a great way to kick start the evening.

We started with yummy Halal food and some snacks. It was lovely to see people connecting prior to the session. Budi and Alyena joined us shortly as panellists after with M as the host for the night. Huge thank you to M for being such a great sport, jumping in to facilitate the session at the eleventh-hour request cos I lost my voice. I seriously think she can consider being a radio host! And Budi and Alyena? Well, they were just so comfortable with big groups and open discussions – totally up their alley. They spoke so eloquently and was very engaging with the audience.

Some topics that we discussed

-History of Islam
-What it means to be queer and Muslim to them (FYI, Quran does not mention anything about being gay!)
-How they came to accept themselves and come out to their friends and families
-Same sex marriage 
-Changes to the perception of same sex relationships in the Muslim communities over time
-Safety first (we even invited Vic Police GLLO just in case for the event!)
-Fun facts such as having four wives for Muslim men

A pretty cool question from a YKer was, how to come out to conservative friends given that she’s gay, coming from a traditional Christian background.

Overall, the event concluded on a happy note and the hope for the future with common understanding and respect. The feedback that we received anonymously through our usual survey forms was overwhelmingly supportive of the event. We’re very thankful to have funding from GLOBE and for all YKers who have attended the session. The next and possibly last session will conclude our Being Me series – watch this space! Tentatively it is set to be an intimate discussion about coming out in Asian families.

-I