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English  bibliographical  references

Gender and sexual diversity in Islam - online ressources

More references

Bibliographie en français

Gender and sexual diversity within Islam  -  online ressources

Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City 

(Rudolf Pell Gaudio - 2009)

A rich and engrossing account of 'sexual outlaws' in the Hausa-speaking region of northern Nigeria, where Islamic law requires strict separation of the sexes and different rules of behavior for women and men in virtually every facet of life.

- The first ethnographic study of sexual minorities in Africa, and one of very few works on sexual minorities in the Islamic world
- Engagingly written, combining innovative, ethnographic narrative with analyses of sociolinguistic transcripts, historical texts, and popular media, including video, film, newspapers, and song-poetry
- Analyzes the social experiences and expressive culture of ‘yan daudu (feminine men in Nigerian Hausaland) in relation to local, national, and global debates over gender and sexuality at the turn of the twenty-first century
- Winner of the 2009 Ruth Benedict Prize in the category of "Outstanding Monograph"

Analysing sexualities in the shadow of war: Islam in Iran, the West and the work of reimagining human rights 

(Matthew Waites - 2008)

The discourses of the US and UK governments have come to focus on gender as a central, rather than marginal issue, in tandem with the ascendance of ‘human rights’ in foreign policy discourse. The rights of women have been significant in the discourses of Bush and Blair justifying military interventions, particularly in Afghanistan, and more generally central in challenging Islamic politics. Tony Blair for example has commented that the position on women of Islamic extremists and terrorists is ‘reactionary and regressive’ – alongside acknowledgement of the Koran as ‘way ahead of its time in attitudes to marriage, women and governance’ (Blair, 2006) and contemporary progress on women’s political rights and education in many Muslim majority states (Blair, 2007). Feminist analysts have noted this centrality of gender (Ware, 2006), interpreting such discourses in the light of ‘postcolonial’ feminist theorizations of the ways in which representations of ‘third world women’ as requiring assistance and defence are mobilized in western political discourses (Mohanty, 1988; Spivak, 1988). But increasingly it is not only ‘women’, but sexuality and ‘sexual orientation’ that are at issue.


I Am You  -  A Novel on Lesbian Desire in the Middle East by Elham Mansour, Translated and edited with an introduction by Samar Habib

(Elham Mansour - 2000)

“This book provides a narrative that depicts everyday lives of lesbians in the Middle East, moving beyond seeing victims of homophobic laws, in order to explore their desires and the possibilities for living life outside societal parameters. I Am You is unique in that it is the fi rst novel published in Arabic to truly take up lesbianism as an issue and, I would argue, a cause. For indeed, it is a highly political novel, questioning every prevailing societal belief about homosexuality, and contending that homosexuality is a natural phenomenon. As the fi rst text of its kind, I Am You will no doubt one day take its place as a lesbian literary classic, but, more importantly, it outs lesbianism in the Arab world (and specifi cally, in Lebanon), acting as survival literature, and perhaps, opening up a door for further lesbian representation in Arabic culture.” – Dr. Rebecca Beirne, Author of Lesbians in Television and Text after the Millennium and editor of Televising Queer Women: A Reader.


Imams and Homosexuality: A Post-gay Debate in The Netherlands.

(Gert Hekma - 2002)

In a new departure for Sexualities, this article focuses on a topical issue. It describes a growing conflict between Muslims and gays in the Netherlands, which is currently being mirrored in many places throughout the world. Highlighting the denunciations of gays by the Rotterdam-based imam Khalil El Moumni in May 2001, the article examines how the issue appeared and the key elements of the debate it generated. Just how this debate fits into the wider contexts of modernity and postmodernity is also examined.  


Islam and Cultural Politics.

(Ilan Kapoor - 2008)

The “war on terror,” the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan, the disenfranchisement of Arab-Israelis, the expulsion of an eleven-year old “Muslim” girl from a soccer tournament in Quebec, Zinedine Zidane’s infamous head-butt: how are we to interpret these recent events? Or rather, how are we to read them culturally? For, while seemingly disparate, what links each of them is precisely a cultural framing, a certain understanding of, and relationship with, Muslims and Islam—in this case, as either threatening and fanatical, or subordinate and victimized. The public imaginary in Canada and around the world has been so preoccupied with the question of Islam that it is important that we investigate why this is the case, as do all the articles that follow in this special issue of TOPIA. What I want to suggest in this introduction is that it is our notion of culture that determines how we both conceptualize and answer the question.


Islam Observed, Islamicate Misrecognized: Queer Iranian Crossings Across the Secular-Liberalism/Islam divide.

(Emrah Yildiz - 2010)

In this paper I offer an ethnographic account of Iranian queer refugees held in Turkey as the U.N. asssess their asylum appications. I focus in particular their mobilities’ entanglements with secular-liberal politics. Arguably the veiled Muslim woman and her “intolerable” bodily practices in Western socio-political contexts have served as the material frontier on which an exhaustive critique of secular-liberalism and its attendant building block—the autonomous individual—could be articulated. The increasing visibility of queer bodies from “Islamic” countries—which indexes a powerful counter-attack, spatialized decisively in the West with the aim to reveal the intolerability of not only queer, but all sexed bodies in the hermetically sealed “discursive tradition” of Islam—however, received rather limited scholarly attention. 


Male Love and Islamic Law in Arab Spain.

(Louis Crompton - 1997)

A unique flowering of homoerotic poetry took place in Iberia after the Arab conquest in 71 L The efflorescence there repeated a phenomenon of the Islamic world generally, paralleling the erotic lyrics of Iraq, Persia, Afghanistan, Mughal India, Turkey, and the North African states of Egypt, Tunis, and Morocco. The anthologies of medieval Islamic poetry, whether compiled in Baghdad, Damascus, Isfahan, Delhi, Kabul, Istanbul, Cairo, Kairouan, or Fez reveal, with astonishing consistency over a period of a millennium, the same strain of passionate homoeroticism we find in love poems from Cordoba, Seville, and Granada.


Men who have sex with men's sexual relations with women in Bangladesh.


Studies of men who have sex with men in South Asian countries including Bangladesh have tended to focus mainly on measuring male-to-male sexual risk behaviours, with less attention being given to understanding the nature and meaning of their sexual relations with women. This can result in missed opportunities for HIV/AIDS-related intervention. This paper, based on a small scale qualitative study, attempts to develop a cultural model to understand men who have sex with men's sexual relations with women within a gender and masculinity framework. Findings reveal that in Bangladesh men who have sex with men frequently surrender to societal pressures to marry, become husbands and shoulder fatherhood. This forces some women to become the silent sufferers of some of the negative consequences of hetero-normative patriarchal practice. Importantly, however, men who have sex with men consider sex with women a form of real sex within a framework of masculine sexual potency irrespective of preference, desire or eroticism. Thus, challenges exist to undertaking sexual health promotion and HIV/AIDS prevention in culturally sensitive ways.

In Search of My Mother’s Garden: Reflections on Migration, Sexuality and Muslim Identity.

(Momin Rahman - 2008)

I offer a few reflections on issues of migration, gender, sexuality and identity. The impetus for this paper was a public lecture delivered in 2005 on women’s history, in which I used my autobiographical narrative to think about questions of gender and sexuality in the context of Muslim identity. Since then, I have thought more directly about my location as a gay man in provoking the initial choice and formation of topic. In re-visiting this history with a keener sense of my queerness, I therefore weave a different narrative from the initial talk, but a central thread remains the topic of women in my family and the wider community of Bengalis and Muslims that I am connected to.


Muslims in Canada: Opportunities and challenges.

(Amir Hussain - 2004)

This article outlines the major opportunities and challenges that shape the identities of Muslims in Canada and argues that Canadian Muslims are closer to each other and are also less alienated from, or closer to, the majority (non-Muslim) population than are Muslims in the United States. The opportunities discussed are multiculturalism, Muslim minorities and interfaith dialogue. As Muslims in Canada build institutions, communities and lives, Canadian contexts present them with challenges as well as opportunities. Five key challenges are discussed in this article: mosques, community life and Muslim worship, marking boundaries, gender and sexual orientation.


Out to get us: queer Muslims and the clash of sexual civilisations in Australia.

(Ibrahim Abraham - 2009)

Drawing on qualitative data from interviews with twelve queer Muslims in Australia, this article analyses the ongoing struggle for queer Muslim recognition within the context of the so-called ‘Clash of Civilisations’. Analysing the rhetoric of national security and ‘Western’ civilisational identity, this article interrogates the incorporation of sexuality into the cultural and political discourse of the ‘war on terror’, from the xenophobic demonisation of Muslims as sexual predators, to liberal Islamophobia that posits Islam as an aggressive and alien Other against which liberal capitalism must be defended. Within this hostile environment, queer Muslims in Australia are articulating various strategies for finding meaning in their lives. From a Marxist perspective, this article analyses these strategies for recognition which range from complex acts of ‘closeting’ sexual, ethnic and religious identities, to subversive acts of critical hybridity that seek to negate the exclusionary nature of homophobia and Islamophobia within Australia’s multicultural society.

Postcolonial, Queer - Theoretical Intersections.

(John C. Hawley - 2001)

"John Hawley's Postcolonial, Queer is one of the best handbooks examining the intersection of postcolonial and queer that I have seen. It reprints some classic papers, such as Joseph Boone's essay on the homoerotics of Orientalism (from the PMLA) and includes a series of brilliant new essays running the gamut from close literary analysis of North African novels to complex cultural readings of queer politics. A solid and useful volume." -- Sander L. Gilman, The University of Illinois at Chicago. These thirteen essays address possible ramifications arising from the globalization of western notions of gay and lesbian identities. Examining postcolonial literature, economics, and psychology from a "queer" perspective leads to self-reflexive consideration of the canonization of postcolonial studies and queer theory in western academe. "Finally, the staging of an encounter between queer and postcolonial studies where neither term turns out to be quite distinct from the other and where a new mapping of fields becomes possible. The essays probe the possibility of thinking sexuality in terms of social normativity and globalization, making breakthroughs in several directions at once: history, sociology, literature, psychology. This is the kind of scholarship most needed and most productive: it opens up the question of an encounter through several sites in provocative ways without deciding the final form of the relationship between postcolonial, queer." -- Judith Butler, University of California at Berkeley. Contributors include Dennis Altman, Joseph Boone, Jarrod Hayes, Jillana Enteen, Chong Kee Tan, Gaurav Desai, Paige Schilt, William J. Spurlin, Donald E. Morton, J. K. Gibson-Graham, Hema Chari, and Samir Dayal.


Queer-Friendly Islamic Hermenuitics.

(Samar Habib - 2008)

Throughout the world, Muslims explore ways to be gay and still be part of the Muslim community. Although prohibitive Islamic attitudes towards homosexuality may seem to make this difficult, these are not shared by all Muslims. There is also a counter-culture of Muslim queerness that demonstrates that not all religious scholars were necessarily against homosexuality. This article discusses understandings of Islam that accommodate homosexual relationships.


Queer Sexuality and Identity in the Qur’an and hadith.

(Faris Malik - 1999)

Almost all people are bisexual by nature, although most people choose, or are conditioned, to limit themselves to the opposite sex. Thus, for almost all so-called "straight" people, their sexual identity is defined by their behavior, and is subject to influence or change. In fact, in the ancient world, most people were actively bisexual in their behavior at different times in their lives. However, as a minority, gays differ by nature from the majority -- not in our attraction to the same sex, but only in our physical lack of response to the opposite sex. Being naturally impotent for procreative sex, innately gay men were referred to in the ancient world as "born eunuchs" or just "eunuchs." Meanwhile, women who innately lacked response to men were seen as a particular kind of "virgins."


Queer Visions of Islam.

(Rusmir Music - 2003)

“Queer Muslims? Really?,” people raise their eyebrows when I explain to them my academic work. “Is there such a thing? I thought Islam strictly condemns it.” Some ask: “Why bother? Wouldn’t it be easier to simply turn your back on the religion and live by Western standards?”


Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World.

(Joseph Massad - 2002)

One of the more compelling issues to emerge out of the gay movement in the last two decades is the universalization of "gay rights." This project has appropriated the prevailing U.S. discourse on human rights in order to launch itself on an international scale. Following in the footsteps of the white Western women's movement, which had sought to universalize its issues through imposing its own colonial feminism on the women's movements in the non-Western world--a situation that led to major schisms from the outset--the gay movement has adopted a similar missionary role. Organizations dominated by white Western males (the International Lesbian and Gay Association [ILGA] and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission [IGLHRC]) sprang up to defend the rights of "gays and lesbians" all over the world and to advocate on their behalf. ILGA, which was founded in 1978 at the height of the Carter administration's human rights campaign against the Soviet Union and Third World enemies, asserts that one of its aims is to "create a platform for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people internationally, in their quest for recognition, equality, and liberation, in particular through the world and regional conferences." 1 [End Page 361] As for IGLHRC, which was founded in 1991, its mission is to "protect and advance the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status." 2 It is these missionary tasks, the discourse that produces them, and the organizations that represent them that constitute what I call the Gay International... (full critic here).



Silence, pleasure and agency: sexuality of unmarried girls in Dakar, Senegal.

(Anouka Van Eerdewijk - 2009)

The article investigates the way unmarried Muslim girls in contemporary Dakar construct their sexuality. It explores in what way and to what extent female sexuality is being silenced, and if any, in what way pleasure and sexual agency are present in the narratives of those girls about their intimate lives. Such an analysis is called for in relation to understanding young people’s safe sex practices and concerns about reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. Women’s own experiences and understandings are often downplayed in studies that focus on and reproduce the dominant discourse of patriarchal control. This article shows the silencing in a male-centered construction of pre-marital sexuality in Dakar, but also reveals female pleasure and sexual agency. This multi-dimensional understanding of female sexuality of Muslim girls in Senegal provides a more dynamic insight of the power processes surrounding safe sex practices. 



(Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle - 2009)

In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. Praise be to God, the marvels of whose creation are not subject to the arrows of accident. Minds do not reflect on the beginning of such wonders except in awe and bewilderment. Praise be to God, the favor of whose graces continue to be bestowed upon all creatures. These graces come in succession upon the created beings whether or not they wish to receive them. One of God’s marvelous favors is creating human beings out of water, causing them to be related by procreation and marriage, and subjecting creatures to desire through which God impelled them toward sexual intercourse and thereby preserved their descendants.


The construction of homosexual "other" by British Muslim heterosexuals.

(Asifa Siraj - 2009)

Islam’s explicit condemnation of homosexuality has created a theologically based homophobia which engenders the intolerance of homosexuals by Muslims. In this article I explore Muslim attitudes towards homosexuality and homosexuals as this area has elicited very little research. Based on structured interviews with 68 Muslim male and female heterosexuals I examine the connection between participants’ attitudes towards homosexuality and their understanding of gender and gender roles. I also analyse whether participants’ views are shaped by their religious beliefs and values. Age, gender, education and level of religiosity are analysed to see whether they affect attitudes. Data suggest that participants held negative attitudes towards homosexuals and this is the result of being religiously conservative in their attitudes towards homosexuality and gender roles.


Uniquely positioned? Lived experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Asian muslims living in Britain (1st International Conference of Asian Queer Studies. Bangkok, Thailand: AsiaPacifiQueer Network, Mahidol University; Australian National University).

(Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip - 2005)

This paper highlights some of my reflections on the data drawn from an empirical research project entitled A Minority within a Minority: British Non- heterosexual Muslims, conducted in 2001 and 2002. Specifically, the project explored three dimensions of the lived experiences of non-heterosexual (specifically lesbian, gay, and bisexual; Hereinafter ‘LGB’ ) Muslims who are primarily of South Asian origin. These dimensions are (a) individual/cognitive (e.g. how they reconciled their sexuality with religious faith, given the pervasive censure of homosexuality); (b) interpersonal (e.g. how they managed social relationships with potentially stigmatising social audiences such as family members, kin, and their ethnic/religious community); and (c) intergroup (e.g. how they managed social relationships with potentially supportive social audiences such as the broader LGB community which is predominantly ‘white’ and secular). The 42 participants (20 women and 22 men) – recruited primarily through support groups, LGB Press and personal networks – were interviewed individually for about two hours. In addition, two focus group interviews were conducted. Most of the sample lived in Greater London, and the vast majority were under the age of 30, and highly educated (for more details about the research methodology and the sample, see Yip 2003). Owing to space I shall only highlight some prominent empirical and theoretical issues here, with references to more detailed discussions I have offered elsewhere.



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These publications' references has been collected thanks to Muslim for Progressive Values & HM2F (-thanks sentence modified on the 8th of February 2012). We do not take any responsibility for the opinions expressed by these authors.