Research Paper Rough Draft

Throughout all of the articles, there is a clear lack of knowledge/representation of the amount of transgender Muslims with HIV. In general, HIV is drastically underrepresented in our society in all regards- however it is more prominent in the LGBT community. Due to the stigma surrounding HIV, it is not talked about. The homophobia present in some Muslim communities increases the level of difficulty discussing this issue.
Due to the prevalence HIV still holds in our world today, the UN held a conference discussing its’ prevention. However, there have been 11 LGBT communities blocked from attending the meeting. This was done by Egypt which is responsible for the Organization for Islamic Co-operations. “US, EU, and Canadian officials have written to the president of the 193-member organisation in protest. Egypt’s representatives did not give a reason for requesting the ban”(LGBT groups barred from attending UN aids conference). Despite their best efforts, the US, EU, and Canada could not extend the permission of the LGBT community in the Muslim countries to the conference. However, their lack of attendance is undoubtedly going to prevent the fight against HIV. “Given that transgender people are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, their exclusion from the high-level meeting will only impede global progress in combating the HIV/Aids pandemic,” Mrs Power wrote to general assembly president Mogens Lykketoft” (LGBT groups barred from attending UN aids conference). There is a clear homophobia present here with the Muslim countries, which leads to a downfall in furthering the HIV progress.
A study was done in Malaysia on cisgender and transgender sex workers. HIV is more likely to affect this demographic. “Given the impact economic instability can have on HIV transmission in these populations, novel HIV prevention interventions that reduce poverty may reduce HIV incidence and improve linkage and retention to care for those already living with HIV” (Acceptability of a microfinance… Malaysia). The members in the study agreed that their job was not one they wanted to keep- however due to the transphobia it is difficult to find other jobs. The lack of resources/education about HIV is detrimental to the health of these sexworkers. The study’s results showed these sexworkers wanting access to training for a new job. Unfortunately, “possible barriers to intervention participation included time, stigma, and a lack of resources” (not sure how to quote).
These articles both demonstrate the lack of acknowledgment and mistreatment of transgender Muslims. The first article points out the blatant disregard for the LGBT community in Muslim countries. The conference will not effectively be able to address the HIV problem without the LGBT organizations, however the homophobia is ruining the ability to find a solution. While the second shows the amount of sexworkers with HIV that feel stuck in their profession due to the overwhelming transphobia. Both of these articles demonstrate the need for representation of LGBT in the HIV discussion as well as the mistreatment.

The Mosque in Morgantown

I thought this documentary was interesting and enlightening. This documentary is a powerful reminder that everyone has different perspectives of Islam- which also reflects other religions. There is not a right or wrong way to be Muslim, Christian, Jewish. The one critique I have of Asra is the way she went about making her change. I agree with the man who said she could have went about it in a way that involved the rest of the Mosque. Overall, I felt like this documentary showed the different perspectives of Islam in a fascinating way.

Muhammad’s To be Young, Gifted, Black, American, Muslim and Woman

“He pointed out how sometimes people of our own race looked at us as “those old Muslims, those old Muhammadans, those old fools, those strange people.” And indeed, children picked on me because I was Muslim, or “Mooslim,” as they would put it” (Muhammad 41). Muhammad mentions the disconnection black Muslims have with their religious communities. Muhammad grew up feeling judged by other African Americans for being Muslim. However, later on she experienced judgment by Muslins for being African American. This exclusion results in a difficult position for African American Muslims- not fitting with other African Americans or Muslims. This is a problem that many African American Muslims experience today and needs to be addressed. Islamaphobia and racism are two forces that are(somehow) still prominent in our society. Despite her experiences, Muhammad embraced her love of her religion and her race and continued her exploration of Islam while educating people along the way. Hopefully, Americans will become more aware of other cultures and we will end the bigotry.

Tales of the Waria

I thought this was such an interesting and powerful insight on the lives of the Waria. I really enjoyed learning about all of their lives and their relationships. I was really touched by how many of the women were still included with their families- which is not what many people would assume, as well as how many women were in happy relationships. Suharni also brought attention to my research topic- the prevalance of HIV in transgender communities. Overall, I was intrigued throughout the movie and found it to be very enlightening.

Source Review 2

“Acceptability of a Microfinance-Based Empowerment Intervention for Transgender and Cisgender Women Sex Workers in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.”

This article is an academic source, that is based on an experiment. The experiment consists of interviews from 35 Muslim sex workers, some cisgender and some transgender, about HiV prevention. Most of these sex workers found their job just as a temporary position, wanting to branch out and do something else. However, the stigma surrounding sex workers and HIV has resulted in a disconnection from the rest of the population. I will use this source as a way to exemplify the correlation between transgender Muslims and HIV. This article would also provide the insight of sex workers, and how many transgender Muslims end up in that profession. I wish the article had discussed more about the stigma/how they end up being sex workers. I also would have liked if there was more discussion on the individual’s experience with it, however I know that is not the type of article this is. I will be able to use this source to give statistics- “average 41 years old, slightly less than half (48%) were married, and more than half (52%) identified as Muslim.” This should help further my point of transgender Muslims being stigmatized.

Kugle’s Article

“Many scholars and Islamic leaders in the present shy away from honest discussions of sex and sexuality, with all its promise and problems. Muslims in pre-modern times certainly were not shy about discussing matters of sex, so why should we be prudish?” (191). Kugle makes an interesting point, depicting a shift in perspective of sex. I wonder why there has been a change in the progressive attitude towards sex becoming regressive/conservative. I think this could be due, in part, to the societal shift to being conservative about sex- as with Christians. Kugle also describes the interpretations of the Quran, and the way people use it to reinforce their own beliefs. However, the Quran is undeniably sex positive- despite the Western belief of its sexual oppression. Overall, this article was insightful to me and I enjoyed the different take on the Quran.

Source Review 1

LGBT groups barred from attending UN aids conference

This is a popular source, it is posted on BBC, which is accessible to everyone. This is not an academic article, because it’s not a peer reviewed source and it’s on a common website. It is easy to read and follow. The article discusses the ban that was placed on transgender Muslims from being prohibited to attend the UN Conference about HIV/Aids. Therefor, the article does not have an opinion it is more a factual based source. However, there is a slight bias present favoring the side that supports LGBT being a part of the conference. This source reflects the transphobia, specifically in Muslim countries, by jeopardizing the health of their citizens. The US Ambassador, Samantha Power, critiques this decision stating “given that transgender people are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, their exclusion from the high-level meeting will only impede global progress in combating the HIV/Aids pandemic.” I was startled reading that transgender people are 49 times more likely to have HIV, however these are the people being hindered to go to the conference. I wish there was more insight on why the 51 Muslim countries decided to ban LGBT Organizations from the conference. I think this article will be useful in discussing the ways transgender Muslims have been excluded, mistreated, and judged by other Muslims. This article also exemplifies the prevalence HIV has in the transgender community and the threat it places on LGBT community- which will be very useful in my paper.

Illicit Sex in Islamic Jurisprudence

I found it interesting that this is overall based on male sexual urges- especially how God would reward men for having sex with their wives after being sexually aroused by another woman. I feel as though the relationship with men having sex and women having sex are drastically different. While consent is a crucial part of sex in regards of Islamic law, there is still a contrast between women and men having sex. We see this same contrast in Western society, where men are applauded for having sex and women are shamed for it. I do think that Islam is better at protecting women from sexual assault and rape due to the importance of consent in their culture/religion, which is interesting because people often assume Islam treats women poorly.

Polygyny part 2

I found it interesting that polygyny is more common in Muslim communities than polyandry for the purpose of producing more children. It confuses me a bit why it is so important for one man to have so many children that they acquire multiple wives (acknowledging the desire for your family name to live on). I also found the different perspectives women shared on the subject fascinating. Some women were perfectly fine, some even encouraging their husbands to marry another woman. Others felt betrayed by this, one instance in particular a woman slapped her husband’s new wife- this was because he had failed to mention and thoroughly discuss the idea of having another wife with her first. Just like with monogamous relationships, honesty and communication is crucial in creating a healthy relationship here. The stigma around polygamy has resulted in a lot of misconceptions here in the US. I personally believe if each person in the relationship is consenting and happy- polygamous marriages should be legal.


“The pervasive Anglo-American idea that polygyny is sexually motivated on the part of the husband probably tells us more about the sexual fantasies of Anglo-American males than about the culture and values of Arabs, Africans or Native Americans” I find this quote very telling of the way Americans view other cultures. Americans tend to discriminate against different religions and make assumptions that reflect their own biases. This article demonstrates the ways polygyny is embedded into Islam, and is not always used in a misogynistic way. It’s also interesting to me that Americans were opposed to polygyny due to the association with Native American culture. I found this article very informative and interesting.