Some wore T-shirts that read, “Muslim + Gay = Fabulous.” They prayed. They attended workshops about pioneering progressive Muslims. Ever heard of Isabelle Eberhardt, a.k.a. Mahmoud Saadi, a convert to Islam who challenged gender norms at the turn of the 20th century?
And they held discussions on struggling to reconcile their faith with their sexuality, and their sexuality with their faith. (Many folks said that they face Islamophobia from inside the mainstream LGBTQ community.)
At the retreat, women and men prayed side by side, rather than in separate quarters as is customary. Some people found potential partners. Others wept in workshops when they talked about their family’s reactions. Under a blue sky, the final prayer took place on Monday. A woman was allowed to lead both the call to the prayer and the prayer itself.