Who is Blair Imani?
Me. I'm Blair Imani. I like to describe myself as a flower with many petals. I use she and her pronouns. I am Black, bisexual, and Muslim. I wrote a book called Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History, which tells the stories of 70 contemporary heroes who are changing the world. I currently serve as the official ambassador of Muslims for Progressive Values under my mentor Ani Zonneveld. You can learn more about me at blairimani.com/about.
Is Blair Imani queer or bisexual AND Muslim?
Yep. Those are the facts! I converted to Islam in 2015 and have been a practicing Muslim ever since. Islam is a beautiful religion with immense cultural, racial, and spiritual diversity within it. I have been aware of my bisexual identity since I was 15 years old, though it was not until 2017 that I came out to the world on Tucker Carlson Tonight. I didn’t intend to come out on national television, but I did. You can check out that wild moment here.
What does “queer” Mean?
Queer means something different for everyone. Most folks in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community agree that queer is an umbrella term for those who are outside of the heteronormative and cisnormative definitions of identity.
For me, queer means I am bisexual or attracted to people of all genders.
Do you believe that it is haram or forbidden to be LGBTQ+ in Islam?
No. I believe Allah created me as I am, bisexuality and all. I also believe that queer people of faith deserve to worship in safety and peace.
If you are an LGBTQ+ Muslim person, I invite you to visit MPVUSA.org where there are amazing resources on faith and LGBTQ+ identity.
While I acknowledge that many people do believe that queerness is forbidden in Islam, I do not agree with this interpretation. Many arguments about queerness in the Qur'an emerge from the story of Lut, known to other Abrahamic religions as Sodom & Gomorrah.
Two important things:
I believe that the story of Lut does not teach against consensual same gender romantic or sexual relationships.
I believe that the story of Lut is very clearly teaching against rape regardless of whether the rape is committed against someone of the same or differing gender of the rapist.
Furthermore, I believe that following the teaching of Islam and Allah's word are aspirations that Muslims seek and that human agendas of bigotry and hatred influence the way faith is practiced. Homophobia / transphobia are not exclusive to Islam or Abrahamic religions though the influence of these forces of hate frequently results in harm and violence against LGBTQ+ people.
What does Blair Imani do?
Presently, I am working on a book about the Great Migration and Black history from Reconstruction through the 1970’s. You can find out about my events here. I also started a YouTube channel with my best friend Mars Sebastian. Check us out on YouTube. I also spend a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram. I mentor youth activists Mari Copeny, Royce Mann, Joshua Rush, Ziad Ahmed and many others. I write articles and provide interviews. I serve on several boards focused on youth education and empowerment and I speak at events and universities around the world.
You can even book me for your next event or rally: blairimani.com/contact
But wait, I have more questions!
Send me a tweet on Twitter @BlairImani but ask yourself whether the question is an appropriate one before inquiring!