Fraught Identities and Contentious Belongings

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Shweta ADUR, California State University Fullerton, USA
Recent years have witnessed an upsurge of cultural, historical and theological studies that have examined the question of gender and sexuality within Islam. Albeit pathbreaking, studies have less frequently focused on the lived experience of Queer Muslims and even rarely on the experiences of Queer Muslim women. There is little that documents the everyday identity work done by women to negotiate, resist and respond to oppressions of Islamophobia and homophobia in their lives.  By failing to document that agency, the existing scholarship additionally runs the risk of buffering the erroneous stereotypes that portray Muslim women as “helpless, backward and oppressed” and queer women in Islam as a cognitive and cultural impossibility. This paper fills that gap in literature by examining the sexual subjectivity of seven LGBT Muslim women in the U.S. Written in the shadows of post-9/11 America, this paper examines the everyday identity work used by these women to find a place between two opposing, masculinist, forces of Islamophobia and homophobia. The identity work done centers around three particular strategies – i) defying the arguments of exceptionalism, ii) opposing and distancing from neo-conservative turn in Islam and finally, iii) reconciling faith and sexuality in their own terms.