I Am Because I Chose to Liberate Myself From My Own Fears

by Sonja Basha

I am because I choose to liberate myself from my own fears

I am because I mourn. I am because I exist.
I exist in a world that is constantly erasing my fullest identity, in a society where living safe means denying my margins.
I am Muslim, I am queer, and I exist.

It’s June. This year it is The holiest of months. The month where I get to observe Ramadan and become closer to myself and my relationship to my spirit.
It’s June, which means it’s pride, and I get to celebrate myself, my relationships, and my love.
It’s June and I am mourning the loss of lives. I am mourning living in a nation where violent rhetoric is used to pit us against each other, to pit myself against me.

I am Muslim, I am queer, and I exist.

If we ever needed an intersectional analysis of the world, it is now. My sister Yasmin Christopher sent me a text today before I read the news. She said ” I can’t understand like you do but I am always by your side.. Deserving a world free from judgment and safe from harm” Tears ran down my face thinking of feeling seen in my identities, as they do now praying for the fragile and Brave lives lost. I am standing here with my LGBT community to combat more hate and anymore violence, I am standing here Allhamdulilah. We are ready for those who choose to fight to bring us down. For those who are attempting to pass anti-LGBTQ bills. For those who choose to continually scapegoat Muslim-Americans as responsible for terrorism.

It is not simply that I exist, it is that we co-exist in a world that centers white-supremacy, dominating Christianity, and conservative narratives of violence that work to erase me. We are Muslim, we are queer, and we exist.

Violence does not represent us. The Community and culture of violence is rooted in the power of hate and discrimination. Lasting change and community accountability comes from compassionate, critical, and complex world views. As we mourn and move forward. Every article that you read, every news clip that you see, and every conversation that you have, know that the LGBT community and our Muslim family are not separate. We mourn together.

The fact that I exist does not erase the fact that you exist. If you stand with me, tell me and say “I exist.”

Sonja Basha, preferred pronouns they/them, is a community organizer and gender Justice activist

Featured photo by Alex Garland

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