Performing identities: intersections of Muslim sexuality, gender, and race in Touch of Pink and Shades of Ray

Intersections of Muslim sexuality, gender, and race in Touch of Pink and Shades of Ray

Aman Agah

This chapter examines the intersections of sexuality, gender, and race of Muslim men as portrayed in the films Shades of Ray (Jaffar Mahmood, 2008) and Touch of Pink (Ian Iqbal Rashid, 2004). Both films create space for narratives counter to common themes of Muslim representation as part of a progression toward inclusivity and more diverse explorations of Muslim identities. I argue that Western ideologies of sexuality and gender can be applied to these narratives and are also at times limiting in their understanding of sexualities of religions and races outside of white Christianity. Using queer theory texts, primarily Butler’s discussions of performance in terms of gender and sexuality, as a means to analyze these two films I examine how the main characters’ identities as Muslim men place them in the position of queering space; how queer theory can be used to understand the importance these films play in redefining Muslim sexuality in mainstream media, while also critiquing certain aspects of the films, including casting choices and the ways in which genre both shapes and limits the structures of identity.

Queer theorist Lee Edelman argues that “queerness can never define an identity; it can only ever disturb one,” meaning that while many of the characters in the films may not identify as queer in terms of their sexuality, it is their “Otherness” as Muslims and non-white/non-dominant people that places them in the position of queer.1 The main characters in Shades of Ray and Touch of Pink, Rayhan (Zachary Levi) and Alim (Jimi Mistry), respectively, queer space, broadly as Muslim men, and more specifically in terms of other identities each occupies, and both characters use performance as a mode of survival in their Muslim and non-Muslim communities. This idea is further supported by Alberto Fernandez Carbajal’s analysis of Touch of Pink, stating that the film “queers the generally heteronormative mainstream genre of the Hollywood romantic comedy, appropriating, and playing with, its techniques, while focusing on an under-represented community.”2 Touch of Pink follows gay Pakistani Ismaili Muslim Alim as he navigates the intersections of his sexuality, race, and religion as they weave in his relationships with his boyfriend Giles (Kris Holden-Ried) and his mother Nuru (Suleka Mathew). Shades of Ray follows mixed race heterosexual Rayhan, who

Performing identities 71 similarly struggles to find balance between his multiple identities and relationships with his girlfriend Noel (Bonnie Somerville) and Pakistani Muslim father Javaid (Brian George).

Genre is critical in analysis because it helps viewers understand what to expect. As romantic comedies, viewers can anticipate a happy ending, caricatures, stereotypes, action “for laughs,” and some drama scattered in. Comedy is significant in creating space for performance with the intention of garnering laughter, though can easily fall into parody. Butler’s framing of parody is useful in understanding the complexities of representation in both films and my arguments against casting in Shades of Ray.

Parody requires a certain ability to identify, approximate, and draw near; it engages an intimacy with the position it appropriates that troubles the voice, the bearing, the performativity of the subject such that the audience or the reader does not quite know where it is you stand, whether you have gone over to the other side, whether you remain on your side, whether you can rehearse that other without falling prey to it in the midst of the performance.3

As stated earlier, comedy relies partially on parody and caricatures to help advance plot; where this becomes problematic is that caricatures can reinforce stereotypes and, as Butler indicates, cross over into parody that results in laughing at as opposed to laughing with. Parody is defined as performing or creating an exaggeration with the intention of producing humor. Ultimately, because the genre comes with the expectation of parody, one can assume that these caricatures are written without malicious intent, however, given the complication of lack of representation and already existing stereotypes, one is left to wonder what is parody and what is authentic. The characters in these films create a space of familiarity for South Asian and Muslim viewers “in the know,” but perhaps also affirm existing stereotypes for viewers outside these communities.

The romance classification of the films can be tied to the characters’ identities as well. In Touch of Pink Alim summons the imagined spirit of Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan), who serves partially as a source of humor, as well as romantic guide. Grant had a well-received career in slapstick and screwball comedies, as well as romances. Alongside Doris Day, he starred in the romantic comedy That Touch of Mink (Delbert Mann, 1962), which is directly referenced in the title, and serves as another reminder of performing heteronormativity, and the importance that genre plays in Alim’s life. While humor is performed by supporting characters, Rayhan and Alim tend to be more serious and focused on their romantic lives. Rayhan is especially romantic, which means he is in some sense written against type. The expectation generally set in Hollywood, as evidenced in countless films and TV series, is for Muslim men to be devoid of emotions, particularly romance. The only way Rayhan is overbearing is through gestures of romance. Touch of Pink, keeping with a romance genre expectation, there is a montage sequence showing budding love between characters, only in this case, it plays out between Nuru and Giles, as he escorts her around London. The scene is complete with a shopping trip that gets Nuru in a suit Giles compares to an Audrey Hepburn look. The comparison to Hepburn is a reminder that in order for brownness/queerness to be appreciated, it must be in some way aligned with whiteness/normativity, and another example of classical Hollywood offering meaning and value in this story. Alim’s relationship with romance is more personal, and revealed in his love for classic romance films and guidance of Cary Grant. Alim’s romance plays out in large gestures - surprising Nuru at her home and kissing Giles in front of his entire community, for example.

Shades of pink: performing multiple identities

Written and directed by Jaffar Mahmood, Shades of Ray follows Rayhan, an aspiring actor in Los Angeles, who is half Pakistani and half European American.4 Within the first ten minutes of the film, Rayhan is seen auditioning to the camera. His name and brownness questioned by the casting agents, and presumably the viewer. In Bodies that Matter, Judith Butler, referencing and agreeing with scholar bell hooks, asserts that “within this culture the ethnographic conceit of a neutral gaze will always be a white gaze, an unmarked white gaze, one which passes its own perspective off as the omniscient, one which presumes upon and enacts its own perspective as if it were no perspective at all,” therefore, the director cannot help but create space within a white gaze, and the viewer cannot help but position themselves there as well.5 This is further complicated by casting Zachary Levi in the title role. Although Rayhan is perhaps not intended to be positioned as making fun, there is a challenge in separating Levi’s whiteness and position in a dominant group from his portrayal of a man who is in a space of queerness/Otherness. Upon confirmation that Rayhan is South Asian, the agents ask him to do an “Indian” accent. The camera moves between Rayhan and the agents as they correct Rayhan’s impression. The camera serves as the eyes of the viewer, watching as Rayhan becomes increasingly demeaned. Rayhan is not just auditioning for a role in a fictional film, but auditioning to tell his own story to the viewer, to explain himself, ultimately to perform. Butler states that:

If the ground of gender identity is the stylized repetition of acts through time, and not a seemingly seamless identity, then the possibilities of gender transformation are to be found in the arbitrary relation between such acts, in the possibility of a different sort of repeating, in the breaking or subversive repetition of that style.6

Rayhan is in a cycle of repetition in terms of both gender and racial identities. These repetitions vary depending on his audience, as well as his feelings

Performing identities 73 toward himself. With Noel, Rayhan feels compelled to perform gentle masculinity, which can be tied to his racial identity, as he struggles to work against the assumption of domineering Muslim man. Rayhan is not interested in performing as a brown man, while simultaneously aware that his appearance pushes him into specific boxes. An example of Rayhan’s inability to perform his own identity is found in an overly used gag: Rayhan is unable to handle the level of spice in Pakistani food, ironically served to him by a white woman. Keeping Butler’s idea of performance, and its ability to change, in mind, throughout the course of the film Rayhan does move through a sort of evolution of who he is, who he believes he is expected to be, and how he perceives himself. Javaid eventually convinces Rayhan to meet another mixed person, a girl named Sana (Sarah Shahi) and Rayhan’s point of view suddenly shifts. Rayhan is surprised to meet another half Pakistani person, someone who understands his struggles with identity and what it means to feel out of place.

Touch of Pink, written and directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid, revolves around love and familial relationships. Kugle states that “Muslim families are often widespread and close-knit. . . [and] often extend seamlessly into the wider Muslim community,” a point that is particularly relevant in Touch of Pink, as Nuru finds herself performing for a small family unit and a broader community.7 Like Rayhan, Alim struggles with his Pakistani and Muslim identities, and also in terms of his romantic life, his sexuality, and how he will be received by his origin community. Alim is forced to confront his issues when Nuru unexpectedly visits. Alim knows that coming out will mean an inability to fulfill the expectations of not just his mother, but the community as well (Butler, 2004). Like Rayhan, Alim is caught in multiple layers of performance, sometimes conscious, sometimes not.8

Cary Grant plays an important role in guiding Alim on his journey. Unlike Shades of Ray, which opens with the camera on Rayhan, Touch of Pink opens with Grant as narrator, essentially giving ownership of the story to a dead white man. While Grant is part of Alim’s own imagination, that is not at first clear, and the tone is set by Grant, indicating that Alim aligns his sexuality and identity with a gay white male icon and whiteness overall. Scholar Momin Rahman’s states that “gay Muslims represent an intersectional location [and] ... challenge^] the positioning of Western and Eastern cultures as mutually exclusive and oppositional,” meaning that gay Muslims represent a reminder that Western and Eastern sexualities, genders, and other identities are not necessarily as adversarial as assumed.9 Toward the end of Touch of Pink, it is revealed that Nuru’s cousin Dolly (Veena Sood) knows her son Khaled (Raoul Bhaneja) and Alim are both gay, but takes no issue with Khaled’s sexuality because he is fulfilling his cultural and religious duties by marrying a woman and providing for his parents. There are multiple layers to unpack here, and in terms of this particular argument, the key is that Dolly does not see Khaled’s sexuality as counter to his Mus-limness or Pakistaniness, in fact, like many Christian and Westerners, Dolly is essentially stating that as long as he does not act on it, or keeps it hidden, there is no issue. She may as well employ the often used line, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Additionally, Dolly has gendered performative expectations of her son - that he is just a boy acting on sexual impulse, and ultimately, Khaled performs his masculine expectations: he marries a woman and provides for his family.

As Butler iterates in multiple pieces, heterosexuality, binary genders, and whiteness are viewed as established norms, what many are striving to achieve and perform, the counter to what Edelman emphasizes as queer. These normalized understandings of race, sexuality, and gender can often intertwine, even in queered spaces. As Rahman states “queer theory can help us to think about these issues of researching intersectionality precisely because it is focused on the uncertainties of identity categories.”10 Western queer theory is helpful in analysis of these films, because the films were produced in the West, by men raised in Western countries. This is not to dismiss the reality that to be non-white and non-Christian in these spaces, is to be queer, as Rusi Siraj and Asifa Jaspal point out, “these models . . . fail to consider other aspects of identity, as well as the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, class and religion may intersect with sexuality.”11 The primary tension between Alim and Giles is Alim’s inability to come out to his mom, and Giles’ inability to see the complexities Alim faces. Giles’ identity and place of privilege prevent him from fully understanding Alim’s struggles, or as Carbajal describes it, the “western expectations of Muslims’ need to ‘come out’ and thus join modernity.”12 Alim’s character is further queered by the fact that he is a minority, within a minority. There are multiple references to Alim being Ismaili, a Shi’a Muslim minority; likely an indication that Alim’s family immigrated to Canada as refugees.13 Similarly, Rayhan faces his own coming out, first to his dad about Noel, later to Noel about Sana. These examples only scratch the surface of how Alim and Rayhan’s identity categories intersect, create uncertainty in themselves and their surrounding communities, and how the two create multiple sometimes oppositional performances in order to establish, maintain, and protect their identities.

Judith Butler’s idea that “race and gender ought not to be treated as simple analogies” can easily be applied to both films.14 Alim’s life is built around multi-layered and complex performances. Alim seems to think that performing gender and sexuality involves a certain level of decorum and slyness, hence the imagining of Cary Grant, whose primary purpose it seems is to keep Alim’s sexuality closeted from his mother and brownness closeted from Giles. Giles declares that Alim is a coconut, “brown on the outside and white on the inside,” as if Giles’ whiteness is in a position to dictate how Alim performs brownness. Alim accuses Giles of his own performative behavior, calling Giles out for thinking he’s superior for being into “spice.” Given the film’s genre, these exchanges are not critically analyzed and resolved superficially.

Performing identities 75

Rayhan’s performances are multi-layered as well, and similarly take on a form of breaking the fourth wall, in that his character is an actor, it is his literal job to perform. Much of Rayhan’s performance revolves around race. The overall story is framed around, and propelled by casting calls, as if performance is what moves Rayhan’s story, and reflecting transitions and growth. By the end of the film, Rayhan has more fully embraced his mixed identity, creating a character he thinks the casting agents/viewers want. Gender performance is also a part of Rayhan’s identity, as he is motivated by heteronormative gender roles. Amplifying his dedication to performance, Rayhan uses a film set to propose to Noel. Noel’s failure to embrace the scene is in essence a rejection of Rayhan’s entire life performance. Sana, on the other hand, is a more willing participant in Rayhan’s world, though like Rayhan is introduced to him out of familial obligation. And perhaps this obligation is in part why Sana can comprehend Rayhan’s performances. Ultimately, for Alim and Rayhan, it is when they strive to abandon performance which negates or diminishes portions of their identities, and embrace the broader spectrum of who and what they encompass, that they each find happiness. Once Rayhan accepts his identity as a mixed race man, and his attraction to this piece of himself as he sees and knows it, and as it is reflected back to him in the eyes of those who see and know him, such as Sana, he is able to find love and success in his work. Alim’s acceptance of himself as a gay Muslim man, coming out to his mom, and living openly with Giles allows him to abandon Grant and heteronormativity. In the fashion of queer theory, and specifically Butler, one can assume that performance will shift for both men, taking on new meanings, performing Muslim, South Asian, queer, and whatever other identities they occupy. As Butler argues, performance, whether in terms of gender, sexuality, or race, is “instituted through a stylized repetition of acts,” and while Alim and Rayhan occupy a genre that ends on a happy note, their stories are presumably not over.15 Perhaps, they will find themselves repeating new performances of who they believe themselves to be.

Another way of highlighting performance of race and religion, specifically within their genre, is in using the parents who represent more stereotypical ideas of Islam and brownness as counters to the less foreign children, and in many respects serve as the most obvious examples of parody. Parody is a tactic used heavily in terms of Javaid and Nuru, who are often positioned as sources of laughter for other characters and viewers, and also as caricatures of parents, specifically Muslim and South Asian parents. Alim’s mostly serious demeanor is contrasted by gags at the expense of his mother’s “foreignness” and age. Viewers are positioned to question whether Mathew’s portrayal of Nuru is a parody of a mother, a Pakistani mother, a Muslim mother, or all three. Ultimately, Nuru is written as a more complex character, indicating that her creation is not intended simply for laughter. That said, she is not free from complication. While Javaid seems mostly written for laughs, he too has moments of growth, helping catalyze Rayhan forward, ultimately making amends with Rayhan and Rayhan’s mother Janet (Kathy Baker). Finally, considering the final scene is Rayhan doing a well-received impression of Javaid in a casting session, the film reiterates Javaid’s status as a mere caricature, to be parodied, to be used for self-discovery, for performance, perhaps for an opportunity to exploit Rayhan’s own identity.

Butler states that “the body is always an embodying of possibilities both conditioned and circumscribed by historical convention. In other words, the body is a historical situation, as Beauvoir has claimed, and is a manner of doing, dramatizing, and reproducing a historical situation.”16 Rayhan and Alim are two bodies living out history in their genre, in the expectations of the viewer, and simultaneously living out expectations of their immediate and larger communities, as well as those of outsiders they encounter. What does it mean when these two men disrupt the histories of their bodies, of who they are meant to be? If the expectation of romantic comedy is along the lines of boy meets girl, in essence the films are themselves a performance of a known genre. As Western made films, both Shades of Ray and Touch of Pink queer the expectations of genre via their leads. Arguments have recently emerged in terms of Master of None (2015-2017), The Big Sick (Michael Showalter, 2017), and other love stories of Muslim men that pair the man with a white woman while simultaneously relying on negative tropes of brown women.17 With these criticisms in mind, Shades of Ray defies this, not only by having Rayhan end up with another brown person but also by actively leaving a white woman, and writing Sana as a strong woman. This triumph of pairing Rayhan with another brown person is somewhat lost considering Rayhan’s portrayal by a white man and the reality that Sana ultimately occupies that manic pixie dream girl space of propelling Rayhan’s narrative, existing for his self-discovery, a piece in the patchwork of Rayhan’s life performance. As Butler states, “there are cruel and fatal social constraints on denaturalization,” and if what is considered to be natural is whiteness and patriarchy, then Rayhan’s movement away from the whiteness of Noel to the brownness of Sana is only momentarily a celebration lost to the constraints of Levi’s whiteness and Sana’s existence as catalyst.18 One must ask how Alim also maintains naturalization while also defying the expectations of his genre? How is the final relationship of Alim with Giles a renaturalization of his identities? How do Rayhan and Alim perform whiteness as ways of maintaining naturalized states, and do the films require performances of whiteness in order to reach broader audiences and help create space for the brownness, Muslimness, queerness they strive to present?

In examining these films, it is important to note that in-depth analysis of Islam and Muslim sexuality is not part of either narrative, a fact that can be easily explained through genre. Sexuality in Islam is not necessarily dictated by the same Western Christian ideals of sex for the purpose of conception. For example, a hadith, a reported saying of Muhammad (PBUH), states, “Do not begin intercourse until she experiences desire like the desire you

Performing identities 77 experience, lest you fulfill your desires before she does,” meaning that sex is strictly not only for procreation but also for pleasure.19 Mahmood and Rashid play into Western stereotypes and instead of offering an exploration of Muslim and Pakistani sexuality, both created characters who play into the assumptions already there. While there are no physical acts of sex portrayed in either film, performing sexuality is at the core of the stories. Rayhan and Alim’s race and religion are tied directly into that sexuality. When Noel catches Rayhan after having kissed Sana she accuses him of making out with a “brown bitch.” Rayhan quickly asserts that Noel’s issue is not so much that he kissed someone else, but someone brown. So much of Rayhan’s sexuality is dictated by whiteness - he knows his mother will approve of his relationships, he has only sought the love and comfort of white women, and he is in direct contrast to Javaid. Rayhan’s performance of sexuality and romance, as well as whiteness, of the anti-foreigner, his opposition to Javaid, serves as a clear rejection of who he is afraid of becoming. It is only in meeting Sana, a distinct match in her bi-racial identity, that Rayhan can embrace a new performance of self: a sort of merging of his identities, a recognition that his Western and Eastern selves do not have to exist in opposition.

Like Rayhan, Alim does not engage in any actual sex scenes, keeping these films in the genre of romantic comedy, where sex is relegated to kissing and dialogue, to the idea of wholesomeness. The most aggressive sexual encounter in both films comes from Khaled kissing Alim and forcing Alim’s hand on his crotch, insisting they have an affair. It is the unwanted, the almost violent approach of Khaled that separates the two men, and positions Khaled into performing the stereotype of Muslim man - as aggressor. As cousin to Alim, Khaled’s actions are perhaps even more abhorrent to viewers on the outside who may not be familiar with the fact that for South Asian Muslims, religiously and culturally, cousins can have sexual relationships. Alim relies on whiteness and Western culture to navigate his relationship and life. Grant offers Alim the Western perspective on sexuality, on decorum, keeping things tightly in line, and keeping Alim in the closet. The fear being that to exit the closet would result in condemnation, isolation, and abandonment. But maybe part of that fear is a fear of liberation, not just from the closet but also from the confines of repressed Western sexuality. It is in removing Grant from his mind and narrative that Alim is able to fully embrace his sexuality. Once Alim is out, and knows Nuru loves him unconditionally, he is able to let go of Grant. Like Rayhan, Alim steps away from performing whiteness and heteronormativity and embraces his brownness and queerness.

The addition of Khaled creates a space for viewers in the know, part of the community, a moment of recognition of self. It is of course important to note that what makes Touch of Pink relevant is that not only is Muslim sexuality explored but also Mistry portrays a queer character, a sort of Muslim unicorn according to Western ideas and stereotypes, and his queerness is emphasized once more through Khaled. To assume that queerness is nonexistent in Muslim cultures is to buy into the narrative Western culture has imposed that Muslims lack any identity aside from terrorist (Rai and Puar, 2002). Kugle examines various Muslim scholars’ interpretations of same-sex relations dating back centuries, proving that multiple sexualities have long existed in the Muslim world. “Same-sex sexuality is not something imposed on the Islamic world through colonial domination. Rather, these Islamic thinkers were responding to same-sex attraction and intimacies . . . that existed in their own societies.”20 Rahman states that “dominant identity categories are, in actuality, ontologically incomplete and achieve their (incomplete) coherence only through the exclusion of ‘others’” (953). So assuming that queerness and Muslimness cannot intertwine is a form not just of exclusion but of maintaining dominant status.

Shades of Ray at times plays into queerness as the butt of jokes, particularly in terms of how Rayhan and his best friend Sal (Fran Kranz) communicate. As Butler notes, “policing gender is sometimes used as a way of securing heterosexuality,” and in a sort of reversed Bechdel Test, the majority of Rayhan and Sal’s conversations are about women, with emphasis placed on their heterosexuality.21 Their heterosexuality is emphasized further in an encounter with a gay shop clerk, whose performance can certainly be read as parodic. One thing Shades of Ray does offer, albeit small, is that Muslim women are also sexual - Sana is assertive in her sexuality, she knows what she wants and is self-assured, and unlike Rayhan, Sana is not presented as performing whiteness, rather as a reminder to embrace performance of self.

One question that persists in these films is the idea of model minorities, and how Rayhan and Alim play into expectations as Southeast Asian men. How would they be received, for example, if they were aggressive in their sexuality? If they were bold and daring and hypersexual? What if they were more of a Don Draper sort of character? Or a cool Steve McQueen like lead? And would stories about Arab or North African Muslims play out in the same way? A recent episode of American Gods (2017) featured an explicit gay sex scene between two Muslim men, and the series The Bold Type (2017) featured a queer hijab wearing Muslim woman and a Black woman falling love. Maybe finally the idea has shifted from trying to fight Islamophobia with kindness and model minority stories and instead with visions of Muslims as funny, sexual, conflicted religiously and culturally, as diverse as anyone else on screen. While, to many viewers, Touch of Pink and Shades of Ray may seem simple and perhaps even rudimentary, they do have a place in the narratives of Muslims, in the move to create more well-rounded and diverse characters.

On the surface, Touch of Pink and Shades of Ray are simple romantic comedies that follow the expectations of their genre - there is love, there is conflict, ultimately there is resolution. What makes these films noteworthy is the multi-layered analyses they provide in terms of expectations and performance around gender, sexuality, race, and all identity categories. While

Performing identities 79 both films are in many ways dated and problematic, they have helped create space for divergent representations of Muslim sexualities and gender, and hold their own space in terms of redefining genre expectations.


  • 1 Lee Edelman, No Future (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 17.
  • 2 Emphasis in original. Alberto Fernandez Carbajal, “Negotiating Queerness in the Ismaili Diaspora in the Films of Ian Iqbal Rashid,” in Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology, ed. Kristian Petersen (Cambridge, MA: ILEX Foundation & Harvard University Press, 2020).
  • 3 Judith Butler, “Merely Cultural,” Social Text 15, nos. 3-4 (Winter 1997): 266.
  • 4 While Rayhan goes by Ray, referencing his alignment with his whiteness, for the purpose of this chapter I will refer to Rayhan by his full non-anglicized name.
  • 5 Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993, 2011), 94.
  • 6 Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (1988): 520.
  • 7 Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims (New York: New York University Press), 11.
  • 8 It is worth noting here that Touch of Pink is not the first film to tell the story of a gay Pakistani Muslim man and white Englishman, as My Beautiful Launderette (Stephen Frears, 1985), starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Gordon Warnecke in the main roles, was released twenty years prior.
  • 9 Momin Rahman, “Queer as Intersectionality: Theorizing Gay Muslim Identities,” Sociology 44, no. 5 (2010): 944.
  • 10 ibid., 951-952.
  • 11 Rusi Jaspal and Asifa Siraj, “Perceptions of ‘Coming Out’ Among British Muslim Gay Men,” Psychology & Sexuality 2, no. 3 (2011): 185.
  • 12 Carbajal, “Negotiating Queerness.”
  • 13 Arif Jamal, “Linking Migration and Education Across Generations: Ismailis in Vancouver.” (Ph.D. Dissertation, Simon Fraser University, 2006), 1.
  • 14 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism & the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990, 1999), XVI.
  • 15 Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution,” 519.
  • 16 ibid., 521.
  • 17 Amil Niazi, “ ‘The Big Sick’ Is Great, and It’s Also Stereotypical Toward Brown Women,” Vice, July 7, 2017, Accessed 13 December 2017; and Aditi Natasha Kini, “I’m Tired ofWatching Brown Men Fall in Love with White Woman Onscreen,” The Muse, July 6, 2017, https://themuse.jezebel. com/i-m-tired-of-watching-brown-men-fall-in-love-with-white-1796522590.
  • 18 Butler, Bodies That Matter, 91.
  • 19 Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 8:136. Cited on Wardah Abbas, “A Woman’s Right to Orgasm: Feminism in the Bedroom & Sexual Liberation Through Islam Not Despite It,” Amaliah, March 8, 2019,
  • 20 Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, “Strange Bedfellows: Qur’an Interpretation Regarding Same-Sex Female Intercourse,” Theology & Sexuality 22, nos. 1-2 (2016): 22.
  • 21 Butler, Gender Trouble, XII. The Bechdel Test, named after Alison Bechdel, is a test of movies asking if there are at least two female characters who talk to each other about more than a man or men.

80 Aman Agah

Works cited

Abbas, Wardah. 2019. “A Woman’s Right to Orgasm: Feminism in the Bedroom & Sexual Liberation Through Islam Not Despite It.” Amaliah, March 8,2019. www.

Butler, Judith. 1988. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4: 519-531.

Butler, Judith. 1990,1999. Gender Trouble: Feminism & the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge.

Butler, Judith. 1993, 2011. Bodies That Matter. New York: Routledge.

Butler, Judith. 1997. “Merely Cultural.” Social Text 15, nos. 3-4 (Winter): 265-278.

Butler, Judith. 2004. “Imitation and Gender Insubordination.” In The Judith Butler Reader, edited by Sara Salih, 119-137. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Carbajal, Alberto Fernandez. 2020. “Negotiating Queerness in the Ismaili Diaspora in the Films of Ian Iqbal Rashid.” In Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology, edited by Kristian Petersen. Cambridge, MA: ILEX Foundation & Harvard University Press.

Edelman, Lee. 2004. No Future. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Jamal, Arif. 2006. “Linking Migration and Education Across Generations: Ismailis in Vancouver.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Simon Fraser University.

Jaspal, Rusi and Asifa Siraj. 2011. “Perceptions of ‘Coming Out’ Among British Muslim Gay Men.” Psychology & Sexuality 2, no. 3: 183-197.

Kini, Aditi Natasha. 2017. “I’m Tired of Watching Brown Men Fall in Love with White Woman Onscreen.” The Muse, July 6, 2017. https://themuse.jezebel. com/i-m-tired-of-watching-brown-men-fall-in-love-with-white-1796522590.

Kugle, Scott Siraj al-Haqq. 2014. Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims. New York: New York University Press.

Kugle, Scott Siraj al-Haqq. 2016. “Strange Bedfellows: Qur’an Interpretation Regarding Same-Sex Female Intercourse.” Theology & Sexuality 22, nos. 1-2: 9-24.

Niazi, Amil. 2017. “‘The Bick Sick’ Is Great, and It’s Also Stereotypical Toward Brown Women.” Vice, July 7, 2017. Accessed 13 December 2017.

Rahman, Momin. 2010. “Queer as Intersectionality: Theorizing Gay Muslim Identities.” Sociology 44, no. 5: 944-961.

Rai, Amit and Jasbir K. Puar. 2002. “Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots.” Social Text 20, no. 3: 117-148.

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