An Exotic Veiled Woman

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Three years ago I wrote an articleabout being veiled and gay in Lebanon and how proud I was of that; and over the course of the years I went from being a veiled gay activist to a feminist queer trans-man. And I still take pride of who I was and who I became. But after four years in this queer activist community I got to a point where I just gave up.I gave up on the activism that is controlled by funds and a movement that is controlled by a one-person ideology. It breaks my heart to see that while we are fighting a system we have created our own system that is oppressing all that is “different”. And when I mentioned it once to a fellow activist her answer was “of course, it is a system,” and that ended the discussion, like this is something we need to accept just because it is our only option, as if it is our only option.I’ve given up on a feminism that shuts up about behaviors and words that are discriminatory on the basis of religion and beliefs and class; a feminism that does not understand and respect the fact that some women don’t have the option of rebelling against their parents and their religion because they can’t afford it socially or economically. And that the veil is the last issue on their list of struggles. And when you, the all-knowing feminist, sit and give your philosophical arguments about people’s beliefs, then you are simply not giving those woman a chance for a safe space to express their own critiques about religion and religious fundamentalism.

I’m tired of a movement that separates itself from the rest of the women who are not activists, and talks about women like we are not also a part of this system and we do all conform in one way or another and we are all affected it, by the way we view our bodies and how we live our lives.

I give up on a revolution that is against everything and supported by nothing. Everything that is happening all over the world is making me feel like this revolution is getting smaller and smaller with every new sexist ad we see on the street, by every new law passed that oppresses a population of people who have lost hope and have no choice but to continue living with a minimum wage and an egg three times what its price was a month ago.

I give up on me, I give up on the idea that I will ever get to a point where I’m less effected by the criticism of others; that at the end of the day they are not any better activists or “feminists” than I am; it’s just their own way of being in control of things that got out of their hands, such as me. And to them I just want to say you are as bad as I am.

I’m tired of you my fellow feminists because of your Islamophobia. Your bigotry has turned me into an islamist with no faith and no spirituality. I’m tired of the weight on my shoulder for being a veiled queer woman that was not oppressed by her veil or her parents but was simply oppressed by ideas and the restrictions you put on me; where I had to love my veil just for it to be in the face of all the ideologies that say: “veils oppressed women.”

I’m tired of my veil for making me seem exotic to the white woman when I’m bartending in a trans-gender party. I’m tired of a community that is looking for acceptance but wouldn’t accept a veiled woman dancing in Obladi. I’m tired of my veil because my family thinks I should take it off because I don’t come home at 8:00 pm and pray like a good Muslim girl.

I give up on the cause that is my veil, because after 15 years of wearing it, it was turned into an oppressor of a young veiled gay girl.

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5 Responses to “An Exotic Veiled Woman”

  1. fembot

    Nov 29. 2011

    This is the most poignant piece of writing on feminism that I’ve read thus far. Academics, eat your heart out, this is a real voice! . Keep writing, questioning and acknowledging our own limitations. Its what feminism and the world needs.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mimi

    Nov 20. 2011

    Well why should we give up ??
    i dont think its time to give up its time to start a real work .
    Do not curse the darkness, light a candle

    Reply to this comment
  3. arim

    Nov 15. 2011

    i feel you ….i gave up long time ago !

    Reply to this comment
  4. a pencil

    Nov 15. 2011

    i feel relieved to finally read something that questions the activist “communities” that we construct using the same structures and systems that have oppressed us.
    I have also given up recently – and became very tired of the burden of the radical queer identity that somehow also get us stuck marketing our identities in ways that will rally more troops to the cause or prove their nemesis wrong.
    We have reached a point where we are too scared to be contradictory. To have a more complex stand than the anti-ism slogans we throw around.
    Like you, it makes me feel defeated.

    Reply to this comment


  1. “An Exotic Veiled Woman”: An Honest Look at the Experience of Muslim Women in Activism » Muslimah Media Watch - December 1, 2011

    [...] An Honest Look at the Experience of Muslim Women in Activism December 1st, 2011 symahabibAn article recently published in Bekhsoos magazine  is a jarring and honest reflection of a young trans man’s experience with being a veiled woman [...]

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