Via LGBT Muslims –
One in Somalia:
In 1998, on a rainy morning in Mogadishu, Halimo Jim’ale was visited by her older sister Hadiyo Jim’ale. When her sister came out to her, it changed her world. Jim’ale threw herself into learning more about human sexuality and how her religion dealt with it, especially the issue of female homosexuality.
Naturally, she was met with a lot of negative information. Well, today she leads a local chapter of Queer Somalis, a support group, teaching young queer people who come to her the information she so desperately needed when her own sister had come out to her. Despite living in a country where homosexuality is legal*, and where she could be persecuted as a propagandist for something highly controversial, Jim’ale says her “life is all about taking risks,” adding, “I know with my work someone else will have a better journey than my sister did, perhaps finding themselves sooner.”
*Probably a typo for illegal
One in India:
In 1996, Shabana Azmi shocked the Muslim community when she played the lead role in Deepa Mehta’s Fire, which you could say was the first “real” lesbian film in India, where she portrayed a woman who falls in love with her brother-in-law’s wife. Azmi took the role to support visibility for gay people because she believes “when one speaks about human rights, and one talks about minorities’ rights, that must also extend to the gay community,” as she told Himal magazine. In 2013, when India went back to criminalizing gays, she released a statement in which she said she was “shocked by the judgment. I had actually started believing that gay rights are given in our so-called modern democratic society,” adding that upholding “article 377 is undemocratic, and a violation of human rights.