Ibrahim Ahmad, who has lived in Texas for about 15 years, says Austin has a vibrant Muslim community that’s grown since he moved here during high school.
“I had always wanted to be a part of a community that was LBTQ and Muslim,” he says, “but I didn’t know how to go about it.”
Ahmad heard Faisal Alam, a former Texan and queer Muslim, speak about being part of both communities, which inspired Ahmad. “I decided that, you know what, if I want a community, I have to be the change,” he says. “I have to be LGBTQ and Muslim.”
This year he participated in an annual retreat to bring together LGBTQ Muslims in a safe space, so everyone can be themselves.
“It’s kind of like a step away from the world,” he says, “for LGBTQ Muslims and to be with one another – to grow, to learn, to feel comfortable, to be there in their own skin.”
Ahmad, who’s out to his family, is aware of how his identity as a queer Muslim affects them.
“I don’t feel comfortable being publicly out,” he says. “If I come out to everyone – the Muslim community – my family would have to deal with that.”
Because both LGBT groups and Muslims can misunderstand each other, Ahmad hopes one day people from both communities can support the other.
“My dream is to have the LGBT community, everyone, every single person in the community… to be accepting of Muslims,” he says. “And speaking to the Muslim community – to not be judgmental… to be willing to understand the LGBT community and hear them out to stand in solidarity with them.”