“Allah makes Muslims. Allah makes queers.” Many people live at the intersection of their Muslim and queer identities. That includes Terna Tilley-Gyado and Wazina Zondon, organizers and performers who are using art to combat rampant anti-Muslim and anti-queer bigotry and to grow the visibility, support and love for queer Muslims.
Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love is a powerful collection of multi-genre performance that showcases voices, stories and experiences of the intersections between queerness and Islam. The performance is the continuation of the Tilley-Gyado and Zondon’s joint effort to make visible public spaces for lives they love. The project began with facilitated community discussions with the goal to address Islamophobia, which fueled a gallery art show the duo developed in June, and then grew into the performance that opened Thursday.
Terna explained that the need for increased visibility was evident. “A lot of people have said, ‘You can be gay and Muslim?’ I know a good number of people who felt that they had to choose [between queerness and Islam], and I hope this performance and process shows the possibility that they don’t have to—that they can be both.”
The performance features a great list of collaborators, including choreo-story by the organizers, Fatimah Lorén, J Moses Harper, Hanifah Walidah abdul Rahmaan and Nabil. Its run continues tonight, Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 PM at the WOW Cafe Theater in New York City.
Beyond the performance Wazina and Terna hope that the show inspires others to continue the process in their own communities, to lift up and support queer Muslims through dialogue and creation. The organizers will be creating a website to show video of the performance and to serve as a connection point for other queer Muslims. In the meantime you can email them at comingoutMuslim@googlegroups.com.
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