The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) catches a pop fly during Texas A&M’s game against McNeese on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024 at Blue Bell Park. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) catches a pop fly during Texas A&M’s game against McNeese on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024 at Blue Bell Park. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024

GLBT muslim activist speaks for awareness week

In celebration of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Awareness Week, Faisal Alam a queer identified Muslim activist spoke on campus Thursday about the struggles and lives of GLBT Muslims.
In 1997, at the age of 19, Alam founded the first internet-based email discussion group for those who identify as GLBT Muslims. As a sophomore at Northeastern University, Alam believed he was the only one who shared these two identities. This motivated him to find and meet other people in the same position as him and who also remained a hidden voice.
Kim Villa, president of GLBT Aggies, said the organization planned and raised money for six months in order for Alam to share his story.
We decided to invite Faisal Alam to come speak to our campus community as a GLBT Aggies event, because we see and feel the importance of acknowledging the interconnectedness of all identities, Villa said. Even within our community we suffer of the one-story syndrome where we forget the varying experiences of our entire community.
During his presentation, Alam brought light to his religion as one that promoted interfaith dialogue and one where women embrace the latest trends through fashion shows.
Alam also expressed his satisfaction of the GLBT Muslim community beginning to come out of the shadows and embrace who they are.
The queer Muslim movement is a growing movement where we are coming to the forefront and expressing its not an oxymoron anymore, Alam said.
Alam began seeking answers about his identity when he was 16. He said when he was with his male friends they would be watching the cheerleading squad practice while he would be staring at the mens soccer team practice.
I researched what Islam had to say about sexuality and I remembered what I learned in Sunday school, but I knew there was more to that, Alam said.
After subscribing to the listserv of different Muslim Students Association groups, Alam then sent out an email informing students that someone had made an online discussion group for GLBT Muslims. He did not give out his name, but did give students the details about to how they can sign up.
Within minutes people started to join, but what was more astonishing was that in six months not one person wrote a message, Alam said.
Alam then organized a retreat for those who had signed up and named it Al Fatiha.
Islam is currently practiced by 1.5 billion people around the world and an estimated 12.4 million live in the U.S. Although homosexuality is condemned in the Quran, Alam argues that the words can be taken out of context and said he believes Islam is going through a transformation and reformation.
Women are beginning to receive gender equality by leading prayers with both men and women, but historically, men would always pray together and prayer was led by a man, Alam said.
GLBT Muslims face issues similar to those who identify themselves as GLBT Christians.
Alam said Muslims have a fear of being ostracized from their family and community, lack institutional support, and state-sponsored human rights.
I knew a little bit about Islam from what Ive learned from my friends, but Ive never known someone who identified themselves as both Muslin and GLBT, said Gabrielle T’Joen, sophomore agriculture major and French exchange student.
George Cunningham, professor and associate dean of the College of Education, said he did not know beforehand of GLBT Muslims, but was happy to learn and gain an understanding of these two identities.
Even though we sometimes think things cannot exist together such as GLBT Muslims, those are restrictions we create, Cunningham said. Identities co-exist all around us.

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