Sabah Choudrey is a Pakistani trans activist with a passion for his communities.
Many people from the LGBT community have faced discrimination, abuse and prejudice. For those who also seek to practice their faith whilst being from BME backgrounds, the struggle is much greater.
Sabah is seen by other LGBT members as a faith role model. He is seen as someone tackling the stigma around having faith and identifying as LGBT.
Sabah co-founded Trans Pride Brighton in 2012: the first trans march and celebration in the UK. He also started online social and support spaces for queer, trans, and intersex people of colour in Brighton (QTIPOC Brighton). Additionally, these spaces were created for LGBT and queer desi people in London and the South East (desiQ).
He spent his rebellious years living in Brighton where he fell into LGBT youth work and development in LGBT BME/faith communities. Once he had enough of being the token person of colour, he moved back to West London.
It is in London where he is currently a trans youth worker for Gendered Intelligence. He mentors and facilitates groups for trans young people and trans young people of colour.
Queerness is not something visible in non-white cultures
Having been published on Black Girl Dangerous, xoJane and republished on Everyday Feminism, he shares his experiences of being a hairy brown girl, an angry brown man and a queer brown person.
“I knew from the moment I accepted I was trans, that my story was not one that was told”, he says. “For queer and trans people of colour, our stories are often told for us. Our voices are silenced, our identities are erased, and our own stories become very quickly about survival.
“It has always been apparent to me that queerness is not something visible in non-white cultures. This was the history I was told. But this was the history rewritten by those that colonised the land of my mother and father.
“Who criminalised queer in our land, and from then on, queer became synonymous with sin. It is no surprise to me that it has taken me three more years to speak publicly about being Muslim and trans.
“Accepting that I am Muslim again has been the hardest part of my journey. Accepting Islam back into my life has been the most challenging part of my identity. It does not feel easy yet. But it does feel true”.