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I Am A Muslim Trans Woman: I Doll Up Every Raya Like A Queen. But I Choose To Pray As A Man.

I Am A Muslim Trans Woman: I Doll Up Every Raya Like A Queen. But I Choose To Pray As A Man.

I still remember my first Hari Raya after being reborn as a Trans Woman

I’ve transitioned for about 12 years already. If I look back at Hari Raya celebrations when I was pre-transitioning, things compared to my more recent Hari Rayas were very different. It took a lot of courage for me and my family to see me in female clothing for the first time when I celebrated my first Hari Raya as a trans woman. My immediate family had already accepted my identity as a trans woman so in that sense, my journey has been very very lucky. I know so many other queer Muslims who had to face the risk of getting kicked out of the house and other forms of discrimination from their own families. 

But all that being said, having to face my extended relatives like my uncles and cousins as a trans woman was tough in the beginning. I was comfortable with myself already — I was never worried about what the world would think about me because I was very secure and confident. But I was more concerned about them slandering my parents for allowing me to dress up as a woman. I mean I come from a Muslim family. Such things are a lot more taboo in our community even today.

Some of my relatives saw it coming but my distant relatives whom I only met once a year during Hari Raya, were shocked. But over the years they’ve grown to accept me for who I am. It wasn’t easy for my grandma as well but she embraced it eventually. 

When it comes to Hari Raya, to me it is the ultimate opportunity for me to show off my glamorous side.

I love Hari Raya. The festivity aspect of it is something I look forward to each year. I always go big or go home when it comes to social occasions. Let’s be real, I absolutely love dressing up and flaunting. So when it comes to Hari Raya, to me it is the ultimate opportunity for me to show off my glamorous side. I mean it’s the one time I get to meet my relatives I hardly talk to. And for those who don’t follow me on social media, when they get to see me each year, they’re always quite amazed or surprised by the changes that keep on happening with me. I see it as an unapologetic celebration of myself. 

To me, being Transgender is all about looking good. I’m not afraid to flaunt my botox and fillers.

As a trans woman, for me, at least, it’s all about the looks: People get to see the changes I did to my body and my face. It’s not about competing with other women. Personally, it’s more of expressing my identity of what it means to be a trans woman. Having done fillers, botox, and cosmetic surgery to beautify my body, I fully embrace the vibe of it. I am very detailed about my styling and my hair and make-up too etc. As far as I can see, among my cousins, and relatives, I’m the only one that really dresses for the occasion. For me, Hari Raya is a chance to really go all out. For them, perhaps it’s just another day. I want to be on top of my game and others may think it’s superficial but this is the way I express and embrace my identity. I do get stares or criticisms from people in my own community but I think it’s all about understanding. If they educate themselves about sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression, I think they’ll realize it’s not that complicated.

My sins are a lot more visible because of the way I dress and look. So I’m not bothered what others say.

Despite what people say I think anyone can definitely still be Muslim despite the things they choose to do in life. I’m even more embracing of my religion because of my identity. Everyone has sinned in their own ways. But for me, my sins are much more visible in terms of my outlook or expression. I don’t hide it, unlike others. I’m still a practicing Muslim because I know who my Creator is and I believe that’s one thing that is clear enough to me, so no one can say otherwise. I do what’s required in the pillars of Islam so I’m not affected by people who want to invalidate my relationship with God.

I practice Ramadan just like any other Muslim. But when I pray now, I still pray as a man I don’t pray as a woman.

This might be controversial to people from the queer community but that’s the way I choose to pray. I’m comfortable as a woman now but when it comes to praying and connecting with my Creator I want to be connecting as the person I was when I was born. 

I tried praying as a woman and it just did not feel right. There’s nothing wrong with praying as a woman if you’re transgender and many scholars have said it. But for me, it’s a personal choice and it feels right in my heart to pray as a man. Because of this, it’s complicated if I do go to a Mosque because I would not want to make either side feel uncomfortable. So I mostly pray at home.

The bottom line is, in any religion as well it’s all about accepting your fellow people. You should not be criticizing them. You shouldn’t force me to choose between my faith and my gender expression or orientation. And it’s really important to know that if you’re a queer Muslim because if you’re not strong you might end up sacrificing either your faith or your sexuality. It is okay to keep both. 

Do you struggle with reconciling your faith and sexuality? Or do you celebrate both in your everyday life?

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