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A Response to A Letter to the Editor: Are Legitimate Concerns to be Dismissed as “Islamophonia?”
Written by Sarah Gafur and Daniel Morales
In a letter to the editor in last month’s Classic, Mr. Babstock wrote the following: “Most of us know that such an event as the GSA-hosted event are impossible to conceive in a Muslim majority nation.” The inconceivability of an event like The Phoenix’s GSA reading in an Islamic country isn’t far fetched. However, one must wonder how likely it is for such events to happen in certain parts of America.
In states like South Carolina, North Carolina and Mississippi, many schools have banned the inclusion of non-curriculum clubs as a way to stop the creation of Gay-Straight Alliance. There have been multiple cases brought up by the American Civil Liberties Union fought against different states and their high schools for the refusal of creating a GSA.
In 2015 there were 25 murders of trans women, 41% of the trans community has attempted suicide at one point in their lives, compared to the 4.6% of the general public, and everyday you see another state coming forward with anti-gay or anti-trans laws. It is hard to believe that any gay pride march would happen on the streets of Saudi Arabia, but don’t think it’s easy for people to walk around out of the closet in America as well.
As president of the GSA and someone who has Islamic ties within her family, I can tell you all it’s possible to be a part of more than one community. It’s important to keep our perspective intersectional. It’s important to ensure that we don’t leave behind any parts of ourselves because someone believes that they can’t coexist. It’s easy to think that there are molds that everyone fits into, a Muslim mold with a hijab and a gay mold with an ever present rainbow, but that’s not what the real world looks like. We’re all a part of different communities and value different things within ourselves. There are not cement walls between marginalized peoples allowing for one societal, economic, or personal disadvantage per person.
In the article Mr. Babstock asked Classic readers to review there is massive praise for the land we live in. “People leave the Middle East for the West, in particular Europe and the United States, because it is an oasis, not the hellhole many of them came from,” author Victor Davis Hanson states. Of course, we have the appearance of a stable society due to current worldly situations. America is a desireable place to live in, but to be glorified as a utopia is far from accurate.
America, the melting pot—here you have people drowning in the diversity, drowning in the melting pot, with students being called terrorists, women having their hijabs ripped off their heads, and mosques being vandalized. There is a corporatization of the LGBT struggle with rainbows being trademarked. There is an erasure of certain sexualities within the spectrum and the thought that since marriage is legal, there are no longer hurdles every LGBT person will have to face. There are people being murdered every day for being trans, children kicked out of their homes by homophobic parents, exorcisms conducted in church basements where the “gay” are banished.
Hanson scrutinizes the religion by blaming external sources for their issues. “The more a Muslim youth enjoys casual sexual hook-ups, easy access to liquor and drugs, and unapologetic secular indulgence, all the more the voluptuary feels he has betrayed his culture, religion, and very identity.” He proclaims that the only mode to rejuvenate a Muslim’s faith and title in the culture is through radical acts such as bombing the sources that interfere with their religious views. In summary, a bomb is the religious cleanser for a Muslim which is beyond an Islamophobic accusation. To reference such a xenophobic article in a school made up of immigrants will do nothing to further the point.
Scapegoating Islam in this “crusade” for tolerance of LGBT youth whilst simultaneously being intolerant of Islam earns one, to a superlative degree, the label “islamophobe,” the same label that is trying to be disproved. It is unfair and incorrect to think that Islamic countries are the only ones where LGBT youth wouldn’t have a voice when in parts of America they don’t have a voice either. Don’t use LGBT youth as a way to justify Islamophobia. Gay muslims exist.