My bi brother 

My sister found my little brother’s phone still in his hand late on night. Light still on and headphones still plugged in. He was fast asleep. She reached to take the phone from his clutch and place it on the table besides him. And then she dropped it. 

He had been watching porn. And not just any porn but gay porn. 

Her little brother. 17, brown and Muslim. 

She didn’t know what to do and and came crying into my room. She gave me his phone. He had been messaging a older man. The man had sent him pictures and videos. And he had sent pictures back – but only of his face, fully clothed (as far as the pictures on record showed). 

I proceeded to printscreen and send to myself so I had this man’s number. A man who was sending naked images to minors. And accidently locked the phone. Fuck. 

The next morning my brother saw someone had messaged me the pictures. I called him into my room and explained I that I was simply worried about the pedophile and reassured him I still loved and cared for him. I apologised for going through his phone and told him he could speak to me if he wants. 

He told me he was bi. And I told him it was ok. He begged me not to tell mum and I promised him I wouldn’t. 

And I haven’t. 

But we haven’t spoken about it since. Not me and him. Not my sister and I. 

I have always been an advocate for liberation and this included LGBT+ rights as you cannot separate them. Yet as a straight, cis person – it has not been personal before as racism, disabilities, sexism and islamophobia have been. 

Since then I have been doing a lot of thinking about queerness. I do wonder if we are all born queer and socitial and other pressures lead us to live one way or another. For instance, LGBT+ communities were very prevalent and accepted in south Asian communities prior to western, Christian colonisation that outlawed it. And yet Islam specifically prohibits non-heterosexual relationships. It also prohibits all sexual relationships prior to marriage.

I guess it is easy to speak about rights that go against your culture when the two don’t have to intersect. This whole thing has made me question my allyship. Clearly more for show than I had previously realised. 

And of course this is not about me. I am sure my brother is going through a very complicated thought process, being outed without his choice and having to navigate life as a bi, brown, Muslim man. 

Yet that does not take away from me having to do a lot of learning and growing. 

I’m still spinning 

I have not been writing for a while. I’m not sure why exactly. There are many a times when I have written a whole entry out in my head, phone in hand, yet not typed it out. A few weeks ago I even wrote a whole entry in my little black book. But I did not type it out. 

The world has kept on spinning by and my little world has done the same. 

We’ve had the inspiring protests against the American anthem, the reelection of Corbyn and his cabinet being the most diverse labour has ever had, the Tory conference, and the rise of Trump and Clinton exploiting#BlackLivesMatter. 

As for updates in my little world I am stuck on an awful project and thinking of leaving my company, I am worried about the turnout of a Black History Month event I am organising and am thinking of moving it to next month – after all why stay in October to have an event that focuses on us, I have tried to reduce the amount of “student activism” I do but feel lost in what my calling is, my brother has “come out” as bi, and I am in a new relationship but am worried about whether I should be. 

So maybe last month has been eventful. Well it’s not the first day of the month but I’ve never been good at dates anyway. For the next few weeks I’d like to get back  into the habit of posting daily. Because I miss it. And the dialogue in my head is getting pretty busy. 

Prayers with Orlando 

[I am a straight Muslim person living in the UK. I am just an individual and the thoughts I have here are not representative of straight people, straight Muslim people or Muslim people.]

My heart breaks for my LGBTQ+ siblings. Despite what they say on the news – this is 100% about you. You have every right to feel hurt that this is about you. That is not divisive. This attack, regardless of what people say about the murderer not able to say his motives, was done in an LGBT+ club. And that is in itself enough of a reason to unequivocally say it was a homophobic and transphobic attack. I mourn with you and send love and prayers to the families of those effected and the communities this has effected. Once again we are reminded that the world we live in is not a safe one for those who do not fit into the heteronormative standards that are peddled out.

It is tragic that news outlets are adding insult to injury by making this about “humanity”. The #alllivesmatter brigade needs to stop for a moment. Listen to what our LGBTQ+ siblings are saying. Listen. Your fear does not need to be highlighted here.

There are many intersectional issues I want to outline. These are all factors I have seen discussed and stated by QTIPOC friends. It is their voices I want to centre here but am not pasting directly as they were posted in certain anonymous  groups and I could not seek permission to share (as my blog is also anonymous). I am therefore paraphrasing.

  • The night targeted was catered to queer and trans latinx people. It was therefore people of colour who were targeted. Granted there were white peoples present and killed but this is once again highlighting how it is non-binary and trans people of colour who face so much violence.
  • It is disgusting how the murderers identity is used by the far-right to pedal hate. Do not for a second act like far-right people are not transphobic, homophobic and racist. When there are currently transphobic political discussions taking place that is furthering hate. When their politicians vote against same-sex marriage. Let us not forget that when they quote these Muslim countries that have laws against homosexual relationships – a) these laws are the remains of the British imperialist rulings. And very often these countries had very rich and inclusive homosexual communities & b) the western world only very recently started to reconsider their LGBT+ laws and policies – in fact in many of our living histories. So do not use the pain of people to push forward your hate and political agenda.
  • LGBT+ Muslims exist. And for people to outright claim Islam to be LGBT-phobic without understanding this are erasing their existence. Transphobia and homophobia does exist within the Muslim community, as it does with all communities because these things are structurally upheld. And despite the many instances of transphobia and homophobia you also have many instances of love and respect.
  • It is not the job of Muslims to disclaim this viscous attacks. Communities should be allowed to grieve and show their respect without apologising. We do not have to apologise for these murders. Just as all English people do not have to apologise for the hooligans.
  • The murderer is allegedly the son of a CIA-employee, worked for G4S himself and there are several images of him in NYPD clothing. This is not someone who did not love the military/American state. This is important as many of the attacks on him will be racialised and focus on his Muslim identity, hiding the many other intersections of his identity.
  • Once again a hate filled man had access to guns. In the last 3 years there have been 999 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,135 people and wounding 3,937 more in the US. How many lives are too many lives? Gun control is absolutely the solution to reducing these crimes. The stats speak for themselves.

Once again my prayers go out to all those affected. I have seen some straight people comment on how there are other mass murders happening all around the world – in particular Syria – and discussing the bias given to this particular case. To this I answer yes the media is biased. But our humanity is not finate. And we can with the same lens critique the media and still empathise with how this particular attack will effect particular communities that are already marginalised.

It is the month of mercy and here we are thinking about these things. Where is the humanity?