My Reconciliation, Fear and Courage

My journey of reconciling my faith, sexuality and culture at the best of times has been beautiful in its diversity and at the worst, well, considering suicide. Wow, what an awfully blunt way to begin a blog post. It’s the truth though. For a long time I found myself waking up with one thought and going to sleep with the same thought. This question would often plague me into the small hours of the morning rendering me unable to sleep properly. Kind of like a constant tape playing in my mind so that no matter what I was doing, no matter how far removed the activity was from religion, culture and sexuality, I still found the tape playing in the back of my mind incessantly. What was the question? Well, it was this: ‘How on earth am I going to make my sexuality work with my religion and culture?’

It wasn’t until years after that a friend suggested to me that she thought that I might have been depressed. Now that was something quite difficult to hear at first. After finally getting to grips and indeed  digesting what she had said I came to the realisation that actually yes I was depressed and that I also, some days, even now, I find myself having moments of wondering what my future will look like and the barriers I will undoubtedly face.

Due to my lived experience of multiple-discrimination and being born in a country which I have many rights extended to me that I arguably would not have in many parts of the world, particularly my mother land of Pakistan, makes me not only very thankful but ferociously more adamant in my activism and my desire to do as much as a I can in the advancement of universal human rights starting with my local community and student politics. Globalising the local and localising the global is a brilliant way of phrasing this and indeed explaining what I mean. It doesn’t even start and end with universal human rights; I am always being reminded of the importance of visibility and indeed the importance of me being visible as a queer, Black, Muslim woman.

It’s late, I’m tired and I feel like I’m rambling but the point of this post is to try and articulate that no matter what you have been through or continue to go through always remember this: ‘Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.’ It is through feeling vulnerable that we are able to truly gage just how passionately we feel about something and it is that very passion that ignites and fuels the fire within us which gives us the confidence and self-belief to pursue whatever it is that we feel scared about pursuing. In some cases it all starts with feeling vulnerable. We should never be ashamed of vulnerability or even exposing our vulnerable side… ‘As we let our own lights shine we unconsciously allow others to do the same’ is another quote that sums up what I am trying to express in a neat little package of beautiful literature.

Let me leave you with a quote. It’s one that I hold very dear to me and use often especially during times of struggle whether that be on a personal or professional level.

‘Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the recognition that some things are more important than fear.’

Irshad Manji


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