The U.S. government’s response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack put Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims in the crosshairs for hate violence and aggressive surveillance. That animus produced policies and practices much like those that have targeted other communities of color and LGBTQ populations for years.
Monday marks the 16th anniversary of those attacks. This weekend, a coalition of advocacy groups will organize actions that recognize the intersecting oppressions and resistance of queer communities of color.
The National Queer Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) announced the #QueerAzaadi campaign, whose name incorporates a word for "freedom" from various South and Central Asian Languages, on September 1. NQAPIA will work with more than 30 national and regional partners—including UndocuBlack Network* and Queer Muslims of Boston—to coordinate actions across the country.
"We cannot separate being harassed because of our gender identities from being harassed because of the color of our skin," reads the NQAPIA’s statement. "Transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Blackness and xenophobia all reinforce each other in our lives."
Queer and trans Muslims will lead the actions, which will include community funerals in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia to honor people from marginalized communities who were killed via hate crimes in 2017. Partner groups in Chicago will hold a storytelling event to highlight queer Muslims’ narratives of discrimination and surveillance. An additional statement emailed to press says that Boston groups will stage human blockades "that replicate the various ‘checkpoints’ Asian, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern and Black people experience every day—being stopped at airports and ports of entry, harassed when passing through TSA, denied service because of religious markers and more."
*This article has been updated.