Muslim People

Through most of Islamic history, Muslims have faced familial, social, and sometimes legal pressure to adhere to the norms of the sexes they were assigned at birth. Deviating from these norms could mean conflict, ostracism, and other penalties—often in the name of religion. Although it is problematic to apply contemporary Western labels and ideas of gender to those who lived in the past or in non-Western cultures, the challenges gender-nonconforming Muslims have faced relate to compliance with gendered expectations, regardless of the labels they claimed. Precolonial Islamic cultures sometimes fostered greater freedom of sexual behavior and gender expression, but repression and erasure of gender variance have been common in postcolonial times in Muslim-majority nations, just as it has in the West. In the late 20th ...

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