Muslim Drag Queens: Bhangra, Bollywood & Bravery in Britain

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The Guardian has teamed up with writer Kieran Yates and director Marcus Plowright to produce a short documentary on the small but tight-knit community of London’s Muslim drag queens.

At 12-minutes long, the film takes us behind-the-scenes as Ali, a gay Pakistani asylum-seeker, prepares to perform for the first time. “Ali fled Pakistan, where he was persecuted for being gay, but now faces abuse from his neighbours in London,” reads the blurb. “Mentored by Asifa Lahore, the UK’s first Muslim drag queen, Ali is determined to overcome his fears and express himself in a dance performance at the UK’s biggest ‘gaysian’ club night.”

You can watch the video below and read more about it here.

Goodbye, Leelah

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“Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better,” the note reads. “The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender.”

leelah-alcorn16-year-old Leelah Alcorn died Sunday morning at 2:20 a.m. in a suspected suicide. Police believe she had walked three or four miles from her parent’s house in Kings Mill, Ohio to Interstate 71 where she leaped in front of a truck.

Following her death, a suicide note appeared on Alcorn’s Tumblr blog that suggested that she intended to kill herself. The missive offers a heartbreaking glimpse into the life of a teenager struggling with being accepted by her family and unable to see a hopeful future for herself:

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Ireland votes on Equality

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Ireland has set a month for a referendum on marriage equality. Groups both for and against same-sex marriage will rally as they prepare for the public vote in early May 2015. No specific date has been announced as of yet. The issue was discussed today by Ministers at their final meeting before Christmas. Recent surveys suggest that more than two thirds of the country’s population support marriage equality. The Guardian has more on the topic.