Queer and Queerer Ep. 7 – Drawing Muhammed and Same-Sex PDA

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Zack is drawing Muhammed and Peterson’s not so sure about it! It wouldn’t be an interesting podcast if they always agreed. What is the value of “Everybody Draw Muhammed Day” and what are some of the real concerns? Speaking of public demonstrations, big gay kiss-ins might be fun on the International Day Against Homophobia (and just as offensive to some as drawing Muhammed), but what about just holding hands with your same-sex partner in your rural central Pennsylvania town? Peterson muses and worries about holding his partner’s hand as he walks around town. Also, what is the significance of names for transgender folks? Peterson tells us about an exciting new ceremony to celebrate trans identities. All this and more on Episode 7 of Queer and Queerer!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to this week's episode:  

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Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Hemant Mehta’s compilation of Muhammed drawings.

» International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)

» Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference (June 3-5)

» Read more about the imprisoned couple in Malawi.

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There are 6 Comments to "Queer and Queerer Ep. 7 – Drawing Muhammed and Same-Sex PDA"

  • Jane says:

    Okay, I took notes this week. I’m such a dork!
    Two questions came to mind during the episode:
    1 – Is there a difference between being an ally and being in solidarity?
    2 – How can we be in solidarity with two groups,  i.e. the cartoonists and Muslims?
    Let’s start there. Yes, we spoke on the phone, but I will let you get some answers out before I step up to my soapbox. Hehehehe (BTW, it was great talking with you.)

  • from our friends at Wikipedia:

    Most Shi’a scholars accept respectful depictions and use illustrations of Muhammad in books and architectural decoration, as have Sunnis at various points in the past.

  • Eric Stoller says:

    I met Hemant when I worked at UIC. What a small world…
    I am reminded of Larry Roper’s article on Leading from the middle…I don’t feel that polarization is going to help very much….in fact, it may make us feel good, but in turn, it pushes us all further away from each other.
    I’ve been briefly discussing this with a friend – http://ericstoller.com/blog/2010/05/13/leading-from-the-middle/

  • ZackFord says:

    Eric, I read both your post and Larry’s article. The sense that I get from it is that he’s talking about more of a hands-off administrator role. It has nothing to do with leadership; it has everything to do with management.

    When we’re dealing with issues as student affairs professionals, yes, it’s true, we often have to set aside how we feel about issues so that we can solve the conflicts among all the other parties and preserve the institution. Thus, in that scenario, we relinquish any real contribution or participation in that issue. We become sterile negotiators. While I know that it is often necessary, particularly when thinking about our work as educators, I disagree that it’s an admirable way to personally commit to issues.

    I pursue student affairs because I’m committed to social justice. I am not going to hedge in that commitment because I meet a student who thinks a woman’s place is at home or who thinks affirmative action is reverse racism. I’m not going to try to pacify legislators; I’m going to join the effort to make it clear to them that if they don’t undo the wrong they’ve done, then their whole state is going to suffer economically. Just as in student affairs, sometimes it’s our job to enforce accountability for mistakes. It’s not enough for me to just be a model of civility. I also need to be a model for passion. I think the worst message I could pass on to students is that they should be more concerned about appeasing everybody than standing up for what they believe in.

    The last thing we need in this country are more self-righteous unproductive Democrats.

  • ZackFord says:

    Jane, in terms of being an ally, I’d be interested in your reactions to this video. Maybe we can continue the discussion of Question 1 on that post.

    In terms of question 2, my first thought is the importance of being clear about intention. Like Peterson referred to in the podcast, I similarly abhor racism and the fervent anti-Muslim sentiment that has plagued the US since September, 2001. It certainly disappoints me that many used Everybody Draw Muhammad Day as an opportunity to express that kind of racism, but that wasn’t the point of the day, and it is also not reason enough for me not to support the day.

    For me, it’s a war of ideas. I respect Muslims. I don’t respect Islam. I don’t respect Christianity or any other religion or set of superstitious ideas either for that matter.  I don’t encourage the drawing of Muhammad because it offends people, I encourage it because the idea that it’s offensive is ridiculous in and of itself.

    When I think about religion, I think about a set of ideas used to control people, largely through fear. Humanity tends to fear that which it doesn’t understand. Thus, I think it makes perfect sense that religions would do what they could to empower themselves by hiding their figures to give them a more supernatural power. If you can’t see Muhammad as just a man, then he becomes so much more. Fear of retribution is only accentuated by fear of the retributor, if you will. It’s not unlike the way wizards so feared Lord Voldemort that they came to fear saying his name. The discretion itself comes to embody the power.

    I think Everybody Draw Muhammad Day is all about dismantling that power. It’s breaking the illusion. Yes, it’s about empowering free speech and resisting censorship and threats of violence. It’s also about saying that a particular religious idea that is used to control huge populations and that often motivates violence is completely absurd.

    If you really think about it, the belief is self-serving. “I believe it’s offensive to portray Muhammad, thus I’m offended if Muhammad is portrayed.” If I told Eric I’m offended by well-groomed facial hair or if I told you, Jane, that I’m offended by pictures of sleeping kittens on shoulders, would you both go out of your way to accommodate me? What if I threatened you? Would you bow to the threat and just say, “Oh, I guess if Zack doesn’t like it and he’s going to get all upset about it, it’s not a big deal if I bow to his wishes?” Or would you say, “You’re being ridiculous, your threat is criminal, and I’ll lead my life the way I want to?” I would hope you’d have the sense of mind for the second.

    So why is it different just because it’s a religious belief? And like all religious beliefs, the most important question is: where do you draw the line?

    Can I stand with Muslims while openly offending them? Or is my capacity to respect people contingent on my respecting their beliefs (or, essentially, following them)? If I think I can support them as people by resisting the very religion they subscribe to, does that just make me the bad guy because there’s no forgiveness for not abiding by their beliefs?

    And I’ll end my epic comment with one last question: Which is more important, not being offended or not being oppressed?

    (In addition to Hemant’s comments, here are two more arguments defending the day against its detractors.)

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Peterson Toscano, Zack Ford. Zack Ford said: Queer and Queerer Podcast w/ @p2son – Ep. 7 – Drawing Muhammed and Same-Sex PDA – http://is.gd/chErf – #lgbt #trans #muhammad […]

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