LGBTQ+ Muslim Expressions of Madness, Love, Resistance, & Care
Edited by Rahim Thawer, MSW, Maryam Khan, PhD, and Lali Mohamed
Call for abstracts
Submissions can include a range of topics that engage with Muslim religious and cultural practices, communities, rituals, values, and languages that inform, influence, or impact your mental health. We are using ‘mental health’ as an expansive concept that can include and is not limited to: mad, madness, sanism, psychiatric and psychological diagnoses among other expressions. We also recognize that ideas and constructions of ‘mental health’ are anchored in unique sociopolitical, historic and cultural shifts and perspectives. This means that depending on your positionality and geographic location, conversations on ‘mental health’ and what it is maybe different based on varying histories of colonialism, regional events, world events, expressions and practices of Islam and spiritualties. The experiences of ‘mental health’ are diverse, and we invite you to tell a story that engages with your own mental health as someone who identifies with the LGBTQ+ Muslim community.
LGBTQ+ Muslim communities across the world experience varying degrees of marginalization and persecution at the hands of loved ones and family, community members, religious institutions and the state. As a fraction of the population, we as LGBTQ+ Muslims are simply not adequately represented in the dominant culture regardless of where we live or how progressive the laws are. As resilient beings with multiple minority experiences, our stories of mental wellness and struggle often go untold. Taklif-Dhibaato, meaning problems in Urdu and Somali, is a transnational collection of personal essays, stories, poems, and interviews by LGBTQ+ Muslims who are ready to be heard.
The following questions and statements could be explored in your submission:
● `What was the role of religion and spirituality in helping you express your queerness?
● How did your family or congregation cause you emotional strife? How did LGBTQ+ communities cause you emotional strife?
● How has anti-Black racism in Muslim communities impacted your mental health, emotional well-being and sense of safety and belonging?
● In what ways did your fear of rejection give rise to other mental health challenges?
● Many people assume that identifying a mental health challenge/problem means you’re looking to shift how you operate in the world. Share a story about how your “problem” is actually an adaptive or creative adjustment and what it means for you to embrace your madness.
● Share how you came to resist oppression and abandon what didn’t work for you. Take us on a journey of how you created a space for yourself in a complex world.
● Perhaps you simply want to talk about your struggle with isolation, fear, and mental health at the forefront of a story. Weave in aspects of race, class, gender, disability, immigration status or your country of birth to paint a systemic picture.
We’re looking to solicit a range of short pieces, written in English, that reflect a diversity of voices, perspectives, orientations and writing styles – journalistic, academic, personal, polemical, or none of the above. The use of first-person is fine, and writers should strive for clear, informative prose that is accessible to a general reader. We ask that all interested contributors submit a short abstract of 200-300 words long by: January 17th, 2021 using this Google Form.
If your abstract is selected, we will offer full editorial support for your pieces and work with you to produce a great contribution.
Please bear in mind a few key points:
● The contributions themselves should be about 1,000 to 1,500 words.
● Our deadline for first drafts is April 30, 2022.
● We will provide detailed editorial feedback for a second draft, and further editing and copy-editing on subsequent versions.
● We reserve the right to not include a submission in the final version.
● Please keep track of all your sources and interviews for fact-checking purposes. We haven’t decided yet whether there will be endnotes or an index, but each essay should include attributions with sufficient detail to allow readers to understand where the author has sourced their information/insights.
● Feel free to draw on your previous writing where applicable, but the material in this collection should be original.
The co-editors identify as sexually and gender diverse Muslims who are located on the
Indigenous traditional territories of the Neutral, Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, Huron Wendat, Petun, and Mississaugas of the Credit River Peoples.
Your co-editing team,
Rahim, Maryam, Lali