Coming Out, again.

A blog is such an interesting space. It feels a little self important.

Okay, let me clarify and say that I, Wazina get stuck because a blog feels so self-important. Who really cares what reflection I had this week?

Well, with all that said, I need to stop stalling…

At the end of the summer, a good friend (and former colleague) reached out to me about an opportunity that sounded both unreal and unable to be passed over; it wasn’t set in stone and so I didn’t get my hopes up much. Then in September, I got the official invite to interview for a documentary with a renowned film maker on LGBTQ identity in America.

We filmed, photographed and interviewed. I talked about being an out queer teacher, LGBTQ issues in education, GLSEN, my identities as Muslim and Afghan and daughter… even my tattoos!

Currently, the documentary is in its final stages with names like Wanda Sykes, Neil Patrick Harris, LARRY KRAMER (in all caps for emphasis of my excitement), Wade Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Ellen DeGeneres (among many more)… and me.

I am a ball of excitement and nerves about it… it doesn’t seem real and frankly, it’s not. At least not yet in all the ways that being public will impact my life.
I don’t know how much of my interview and what parts they’re using… is it my perspective as a queer educator… is it focusing mainly on my queer Afghan and Muslim identities?

And, what will my hair and make- up look like (yes, the truly important question)?

I’ve been asking myself, how in the world I got to be on the precipice of something this big. Seriously… how did I earn this privilege? Am I/can I be worthy of rising to the challenge of being the only South Asian, Muslim , working class, queer teacher voice on this project?

I know I am not meant to represent over a billion plus people who fall under the above mentioned identities, but I can’t help but feel that weight on my shoulders.

I do not want to, nor should I or can I speak for a community of queer Muslims but I also know that we rarely have avenues to tell our stories our way.  As simply a Muslim woman (forget everything else for a moment), I find myself explaining, clarifying, affirming, denying, defending and/or trying to undo the story that someone heard about XYZ country or the article they read or the one student with the crappy parents.

It’s exhausting being related to or having people listen to your story for its deficits. My hope is that this is an opportunity, just like Coming Out Muslim is, to initiate the conversation about the complex, beautiful, layers of our lives.

I’ve been asking myself how I got to here grappling with this question and these set of concerns and it is clear that God give me this opportunity to continue on this path. Terna reminds me that when I have questions, hesitations and uncertainty, all I have to do is ask Allah for guidance. This is my way to serve Allah, my community and humanity for the better.

I haven’t told my parents about this yet and I am afraid to… but I must and want to. It makes me sad that they will hear about parts of my life that I have never ever told them before.

I believe in justice and speaking up because they raised me.  And I just hope that they will hear that if nothing else. And most of all, I want them to be proud me; I am proud to be part of them.

For info on the documentary, The Out List: https://www.facebook.com/TheOutList

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