Khakan Qureshi (pronouns: he/him), support worker and founder of Finding A Voice, Birmingham's first voluntary-led, independent multi-faith South Asians LGBT social /support group, is also a Diversity Role Model, speaker, writer, and one of our School Role Models. Discover his story below.
I write about the challenges faced by LGBT+ Muslims, share my own personal experiences and organise events for LGBT+ South Asians to empower and inspire them to celebrate their authentic selves, offer support, provide representation and a connection to reduce isolation and discrimination.
My faith has given me the impetus to question the traditional ways, culture and boundaries/barriers we have placed upon ourselves. I'd like to think that as LGBT+ Muslims, we can be united by reaching out and speaking up.
I think it's really important for communities to work together to help make societal progress.
While we make efforts to respect each others' individual beliefs and identities, we should all be striving collectively to improve the lives of those who less fortunate, struggling with mental health oppression and insecurities about their own self worth and being.
As the LGBT+ community stands proudly together for the Pride parades across the country, let's not forget the intersectionality of those who are still inhibited by familial, cultural and/or religious restrictions and constraints.
I believe we should continue to engage in dialogue, present ourselves as noble rainbow warriors and educate others to make our communities a better place.
Everyone might not buy it wholesale, but at least we can proudly say, 'We are trying'.