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2013

LGBTQ MUSLIM RETREAT P

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A Retreat for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Muslims and their Partners May 24, 2013 - May 27, 2013 Philadelphia, PA


We gather as individuals who identify as Muslim—culturally, religiously, ideologically, and/or politically—and also as lesbian,

a’ah Al-Jam ing ather The G

gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ). In coming together, we connect more deeply with our faith, with our community, and with our authentic selves. We welcome and honor the presence of partners— both Muslim and non-Muslim—as an inherent part of our community.

Al-Jama’ah Congregation - Community - Collective 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Notes from the co-chairs In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Dear sisters, brothers, friends, and allies, Welcome to the 2013 Retreat for LGBTQ Muslims and Allies! This year, our retreat builds on two successful gatherings in 2011 and 2012. Thanks to the efforts of the dedicated group of individuals who make up this year’s planning team, we are looking

forward to a weekend full of learning about our history, our community, and ourselves. In addition to a variety of workshops and two plenary sessions, we will have opportunities to gather in small “kinship groups” and identity-based caucuses. The retreat also features evening entertainment, daily drop-in writing sessions, 12 step meetings, morning yoga and/or zikr, and many opportunities to worship together.

We hope this weekend will prove nourishing to body, mind and soul. This retreat would not be possible without the hard work of our planning committee; please take a moment to thank them for all their efforts to ensure this gathering is a success. We are excited to welcome you all to this beautiful retreat center and hope that each of you enjoys this weekend full of exciting events.

We invite attendees to take advantage of the offerings of the retreat center, including delicious healthy meals, paths to explore and art space.

Sincerely, Faisal Alam & Tynan Power Co-Chairs

FAISAL

The 2013 Planning Team Faisal Tynan Kamal Terna Sadiya Sadaf Kaamila Palmer Aneeza Hussam Hilal Mirs El-Farouk Randy W.A.

TY

Will your name be here in 2014?

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Table of Contents Notes from the Co-chairs

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Our Goals

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An Open Letter to Our Community

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Creating Inclusive and Welcoming Prayer Space

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Schedule (general)

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Trans Ally Tips

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Thanks to Our Sponsors

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Individual Donors & Memorial

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Notes

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Our Goals To (re)connect with our faith, our community, and with ourselves. To learn from each other and our community. To create new friendships within and amongst our community. To share our individual experiences with one another. To engage in spiritual worship and (re) gain a sense of peace within our lives.

To engage in meaningful dialogue with each other around concerns facing our community. To develop new ways of communicating our needs and desires to members of our community. To empower each other with vision, clarity, and sense of purpose. To create spheres of interest in writing, art, song, dance, and other creative media.

What are your goals for the Retreat? 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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An Open Letter to Our Community from the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) In 2012, a group of committed LGBTQ and allied Muslim organizers made the difficult decision to leave behind Al-Fatiha—an organization for LGBTQ Muslims founded in 1999—and to look ahead to a new future for the LGBTQ Muslim movement. It is with both sadness and optimism that we announce this end of an era. Al-Fatiha was born at a pivotal moment in history, filling a void felt by many LGBTQ Muslims in the United States and beyond its borders. Al-Fatiha’s founder, Faisal Alam, and two early members incorporated the non-profit organization in the state of New York in 1999. For nearly ten years, Al-Fatiha worked diligently to improve the lives of LGBTQ Muslims. Best known for holding community-building conferences, the organization also nurtured local LGBTQ Muslim groups, assisted asylum seekers in the United States, and provided much-needed education to the general public about the lives and challenges of LGBTQ Muslims. Despite the organization’s significant contributions to the LGBTQ Muslim movement, Al-Fatiha was not immune to the problems that befall many non-profits after changes in leadership. After several years of lack of attention, Al-Fatiha ceased to operate and began a process of legal dissolution. Al-Fatiha’s demise served as a powerful call to action. In 2011, a dozen concerned members of the community came together to assess the state of the LGBTQ Muslim movement—and strategize for its future. This strategy team brought together former leaders of Al-Fatiha, as well as other LGBTQ and allied Muslim activists who have emerged as leaders since 2005. With the generous support of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the group convened three times at the Creating Change conference. Each year, we have led sessions for and about LGBTQ Muslims and held community building caucuses, in addition to our strategy meetings. Between gatherings, we have continued our strategic planning—and our work has already born fruit. In 2011 and 2012, we produced the first LGBTQ Muslim retreats to be held in the United States since 2005. Theses retreats, held in Philadelphia, have welcomed 80 participants each, gathering LGBTQ Muslims from across America, and welcoming a number from Canada, the U.K., Spain, and Pakistan. We have raised funds to provide numerous scholarships for youth and adults. Our third annual retreat, which will take place in May, sold out in a matter of weeks. Now, we are proud to announce that our work has led to the launch of a new organization—the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD)*.  MASGD is committed to building on the achievements of Al-Fatiha and revitalizing the LGBTQ Muslim movement. To that end, we are excited to join the work of other organizations that serve LGBTQ Muslims outside the U.S., such as Salaam (Canada), Imaan (U.K.), the Safra Project (U.K.), HM2F (France), CALEM (E.U.), and Inner Circle (South Africa).

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Over the past two years, our membership has evolved into a core group of nine highly-committed individuals. Together, we bring a vast array of skills with which to build our new organization and serve our community. We represent a variety of LGBTQ and allied identities, as well as a wide spectrum of experience as Muslims in the U.S. The founding MASGD collective consists of: Yasmin Ahmed, Faisal Alam, Urooj Arshad, Sara Farooqi, Kamal Fizazi, Tynan Power, Imi Rashid, Raquel Saraswati, and Sahar Shafqat. As we invite you to share our enthusiasm for MASGD and the work it is already doing, we also want to recognize the complicated feelings that exist around the dissolution of Al-Fatiha. Over the past few years, it has been painful for leaders of the LGBTQ Muslim movement to watch the organizational collapse of Al-Fatiha. There have been times when we have felt helpless witnessing as the needs of our community went unmet. We want to recognize the frustration and anger that many have experienced in Al-Fatiha’s failure to act on behalf of the Muslim community, and the profound sadness many may feel upon learning of the organization’s closure. We also want to express gratitude to those who have stepped in to support LGBTQ Muslims during AlFatiha’s decline, including Muslims for Progressive Values, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,  the aforementioned LGBTQ Muslim organizations outside the U.S. We also wish to thank all of those who have worked tirelessly as individuals to support LGBTQ Muslims, especially those who have contributed directly to our organization. These include Imam Daayiee Abdullah (Light of Reform Mosque, Washington, DC), who served for two years as part of the strategy team that became the Muslim Alliance, as well as El-Farouk Khaki (El-Tawhid Jumu’a Circle, Toronto, ON), Prof. Scott Siraj AlHaqq Kugle, author of Homosexuality in Islam (Emory University, Atlanta, GA) and many others too numerous to name. We hope that you will join us in recognizing the closure of the era of Al-Fatiha and in welcoming the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity —and a bright new era for LGBTQ Muslims in the U.S.   In solidarity, * A note on our name O u r a c r o n y m , M A S G D , i s p r o n o u n c e d  l i k e

Prof. Sahar Shafqat and Tynan Power Co-coordinators

"masjid" [MASS-jid], the Arabic word for "mosque." The term "masjid" actually means "the place where one

on behalf of the MASGD Steering Committee: Yasmin Ahmed Faisal Alam Urooj Arshad Sara Farooqi Kamal Fizazi

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

both practical, as a mnemonic device for Muslims, and symbolic. It is used respectfully to indicate Islam as our

Tynan Power Imi Rashid Raquel Saraswati Sahar Shafqat

makes oneself prostrate." Our use of this acronym is

common ground and to reflect our deep commitment to promoting an inclusive vision of Islam, in which no one is turned away from places of worship.

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Creating Inclusive and Welcoming Prayer Spaces Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Muslims are often ostracized from their families and communities, leading many to stop practicing their faith. For some queer women and transgender people, the challenges of stepping into a masjid (mosque) are confounded by gender segregation and the imposition of binary gender norms. The right to pray where we choose is often taken away from us. As LGBTQ Muslims who long for inclusive communities, we strive to create places of worship that are welcoming to all - regardless of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We also welcome our partners, families of choice, and allies to participate in a religious ritual that brings great meaning to our lives.

MPV-DC Eid al-Adha prayer led by Pamela Taylor. November 2010

Photo credit: Glenn Koetzner www.crazydogphotos.com

With these thoughts in mind, our retreat welcomes each and every one to participate in the daily prayers (salat/namaz) and we offer the following thoughts on creating inclusive places of worship, including this retreat: • Whether you pray regularly or not, we invite you to this open and welcoming space. • We understand that prayer is filled with great pain for many of us - and we offer you support and love as you join the congregation. • You may wear whatever clothing you are most comfortable in. As an inclusive community, we avoid judging one another. • You may stand wherever you feel most comfortable. Men and women are welcome to pray sideby-side and next to one another. We are one community. • Women are welcomed and encouraged to lead prayer. As a community committed to social justice, we understand that we must break the bonds of sexism and male privilege. • We acknowledge that our personal histories and education inform our individual and collective choices around performing prayer. In striving for an equitable and inclusive prayer space, we allow for the possibility that some will be uncomfortable with unfamiliar prayer practices. We encourage all to recognize and reflect on any discomfort, but to resist the temptation to allow it to cause divisions between us. Allah, our Creator alone knows what is in our hearts. We seek the Divine’s guidance in all that we do. 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Schedule at a glance *Please see separate detailed schedule for specific topics, locations, and presenters/facilitators for workshop/activity options.

Friday - May 24, 2013 2pm - 2:45pm

Salat al-Jumu'ah - Friday prayer

3pm - 4pm

Welcome and orientation

4pm - 4:45pm

Ice breakers

5pm - 5:30pm

Salat al-'Asr

5:30pm-6:15pm

Welcome

6:30pm – 7:10pm

Dinner

7:15pm - 8:15pm

Evening session

8:30pm - 9pm

Salat al-Maghreb

9pm - 10:15pm

Kinship groups - introductions

10:30pm - 11pm

Salat al-Isha

Saturday - May 25, 2013 5:15am - 6am

Salat al-Fajr

7am - 7:45am

Yoga

8am - 8:40am

Breakfast

9am - 9:45am

*Morning sessions

10am - 11:30am

Plenary: “LGBTQ Muslim History”

11:30am -12pm

Kinship groups - check-in

12:20pm - 1pm

Lunch

1:30pm - 2pm

Salat al-Zuhr

2pm - 3:15pm

*Caucus sessions

3:30pm - 5pm

*Workshop block #1

5:15pm - 5:45pm

Salat al-'Asr

6pm - 6:40m

Dinner

7:00pm - 8:15pm

Speed dating

8:30pm - 9pm

Salat al-Maghreb

9pm - 10:15pm

Entertainment

10:30pm - 11pm

Salat al-Isha

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Schedule at a glance (continued) Please see separate detailed schedule for specific topics, locations, and presenters/facilitators for workshop/activity options.

Sunday - May 26, 2013 5:15am - 6am

Salat al-Fajr

7am - 7:45am

Yoga

8am - 8:40am

Breakfast

9am - 9:45am

*Morning sessions

10am – 11:30am

Plenary: “Dialogue across Difference”

11:45 - 12:45

*Caucus sessions

1pm -1:40pm

Lunch

2pm - 2:30pm

Salat al-Zuhr

2:30pm - 3:45pm

*Workshop block #2

3:50pm - 5pm

*Workshop block #3

5:15pm - 5:45pm

Salat al-'Asr

5:45pm - 6:15pm

Kinship group - check-ins

6:30pm - 7:10pm

Dinner

7:15 - 8:15pm

*Free time/Add a session

8:30pm - 9pm

Salat al-Maghreb

9pm - 10:15pm

Talent/No Talent show

10:30pm - 11pm

Salat al-Isha

Monday - May 27, 2013 5:15am - 6am

Salat al-Fajr

7am - 7:45am

Zikr

8am - 8:40am

Breakfast

9am - 9:45am

*Morning sessions

10am - 10:45am

Feedback session

11am -12pm

Closing session

12:20pm - 1pm

Lunch

1:30pm - 2pm

Salat al-Zuhr

2pm - 3pm

Planning Meeting for 2014 Retreat

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Trans Ally Tips KNOW WHAT GENDER IS.

“WHY DO YOU ASK?”

A person’s “real” gender is the one with which the person identifies. For some people, that’s the one in which they were raised. For others, it’s not. Gender exists between the ears—not between the legs.

Before you ask a trans person about surgery or hormone status, ask yourself: “Why am I asking? Would I ask a person who isn’t trans a question about his or her body?” Trans people may experience questions about their physical transition as invasive, rude, or objectifying. It also may have the result of making trans people feel pressure to undergo irreversible, expensive, and risky medical processes in order to have their identities respected.

GENDER...OR BIOLOGICAL SEX? Don’t confuse gender with biological sex. For most people, gender identity matches biological sex—but for others, it does not. Keep in mind that even biological sex is far more complicated than we usually assume. (Around one in every 100 people has a body that does not match the biological norm for male or female.) GENDER...OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION? Don’t confuse gender with sexual orientation. Trans people, like cisgender (non-trans) people, may be straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc. Gender is not tied to sexual preference. USE PREFERRED PRONOUNS. Always use the pronouns and name the person wants you to use. If you’re unsure, ASK! If you make a mistake, correct yourself. Politely— subtly, if possible—correct others if they use the wrong pronoun for someone else. CHECK YOUR BINARY ASSUMPTIONS. Don’t assume all trans people identify as “men” or “women.” Some trans people and genderqueer people identify as both, neither, or something altogether different. At the same time, don’t assume all trans people identify as both, neither or something else. Many trans people do identify as “men” or “women”—and want to be treated simply and clearly as the gender with which they identify. Don’t confuse gender with sexual orientation. Trans people, like non-trans people, may be straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc. Gender is not tied to sexual preference.

If a trans person wants to share this information with you, allow them to do so on their own terms. (If you are going to have sex with a trans person, that would be an appropriate time to ask for guidance in relating to their body). RESPECT TRANS PEOPLE’S PRIVACY. Don’t tell others that someone is trans unless that person has given you permission to do so. This is especially important for people who have transitioned. “Coming out” as trans after transition means revealing personal medial history—it is not your right to share that information (not even to other trans or queer people). DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW EVERYTHING (AND DON’T PRETEND YOU DO) Do listen if a transperson chooses to talk to you about their gender identity. Be honest about what you don’t understand—don’t try to fake it! RECOGNIZE TRANS WOMEN AS THE WOMEN THEY ARE. Trans women suffer from sexism—as well as transphobia. Recognize that trans women deserve access to “women-only” spaces/ programs/shelters/etc. KNOW YOUR PRIVILEGE. Recognize your privilege and prejudices as a normatively gendered person. Think about try to understand why you may feel uncomfortable about transgender.

* With thanks to the LGBT Resource Center at UC Davis and Tynan Power for their support and help in creating this tip sheet.

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Trans Ally Tips

(CONTINUED)

TRANSGENDER IS REALLY NOT “SO GAY.” Don’t refer to the LGBTQ community as the “gay” community. Some trans people and their partners are not “gay”—and it trivializes lesbian and bisexual identities as well. The same goes for “gay rights,” the “gay movement,” “gay culture,” etc.

WORDS FOR IDENTITIES

TYPES OF IDENTITY

male, female, intersex, etc.

Biological sex

man, woman, girl, boy, hijra, both, genderqueer,

Gender identity

DON’T TOKENIZE Simply adding the “T” to LGB doesn’t make you or your organization hip, progressive, or an ally. Make sure you have the resources, information and understanding to deserve that T. SPEAK OUT—YOU PLAY A VITAL ROLE AS AN ALLY. Don’t let transphobia slide. Confront it as you would confront all other forms of oppression. Trans issues are rarely discussed & when they are it is often in a negative light. Transphobia is equally oppressive as (and works in conjunction with) sexism, homophobia, racism, classism, etc.

neither, sometimes one and other times another, etc.

masculine, feminine, androgynous,

Gender role or expression

butch, femme, bear, pansy, etc.

Sexual orientation

gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual, straight, homosexual,

Talk about trans issues/rights. Engage people in discussions and share your knowledge. The majority of “information” people have about trans issues is based on stereotypes & assumptions. To most people, trans folks are the freaks from Jerry Springer.|

heterosexual, transsensual, etc.

Be aware of the vital role you play as a non-trans person. Remember that the way you talk about trans people (e.g., using the right pronouns) influences how others perceive us. It can make a difference in whether we pass and whether we feel safe/comfortable. Always remember that people may be more likely to listen to and take cues from non-trans people than from trans people. What you say and do matters! IT’S ABOUT RESPECT. Above all respect and support trans people in their lives and choices.

What words do you use for your identity? 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Thanks to our Sponsors MASGD and the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat Planning Team would like to thank all of those who have contributed to the Retreat and facilitated our work. Advertising space in our Program has been provided so that organizations who have supported our work can share information about their own work with our attendees. Ads placed in this Program express the positions of the advertisers; inclusion does not imply endorsement by MASGD or the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat.

We would like to thank

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF/The Task Force) for their support of MASGD and the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. In addition to providing bags for this year’s Retreat attendees, NGLTF has played a key role in supporting the formation of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) since 2011. www.thetaskforce.org

We would like to thank

Salman Usman Copy Cove of La Jolla for the generous donation of copying for the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. The Program you hold in your hands was lovingly produced by Salman Usman and the Copy Cove of La Jolla. www.copycove.com

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

Whose support has made this Retreat possible for you?

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We would like to thank

Congregation Beth Simchat Torah for their support of the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. CBST (New York, NY) provides a powerful voice within Judaism in the world-wide discourse on the nature of religious community and in the movement to secure basic civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States and throughout the world. www.cbst.org

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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We would like to thank Breakthrough for their support of the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. Breakthrough is a unique global human rights organization that creates cutting-edge pop culture and innovative education to inspire new generations of leaders to act for change.  http://breakthrough.tv

Thanks to the Attic Youth Center for providing safer sex supplies for the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. 255 South 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 HTTP://WWW.ATTICYOUTHCENTER.ORG info@atticyouthcenter.org (215) 545-4331

We would like to thank The Center for their support of the 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center (The Center) is at the heart of the LGBT community in New York City, providing quality health and wellness programs in a welcoming space that fosters connections and celebrates our cultural contributions. 208 W. 13th St., New York, NY 10011 (212) 620-7310 http://www.gaycenter.org/ 2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

Founded in 1983

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LOREM IPSUM DOLOR

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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Notes

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat

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LOREM IPSUM DOLOR


2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat Program Book  

2013 LGBTQ Muslim Retreat Program Book - session details and presenter/facilitator bios will be provided on-site ONLY (for privacy and secu...