When you put out a documentary titled ‘Queer Muslim Sex Worker’ it’s hard to see how you would argue – it wasn’t about having an extreme title.
But that’s exactly what LGBTI documentary maker Amy Ashenden does as she talks about her documentary on the #QueerAF podcast by National Student Pride:
‘I didn’t choose it because it’s a crazy title. But it does play into the fact that people only see those labels. This podcast is about listening to a young person tell her story – in her own words.’
Ashenden’s documentary follows Maryam, a young queer Londoner who doesn’t identify with traditional gender norms. But she is also from an immigrant Pakistani family.
‘I don’t want to play up the drama but if I’d have gone through what happened to Maryam, but I would found it traumatic.’
The podcast is released ahead of the National Student Pride event on February 10, which is focused on homelessness.
#QueerAF caught up with Ashenden to find out what she took away from her time with Maryam. Exploring being made homeless, how sex workers are fetishized, and intersectionality she reflects on making the documentary:
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or search ‘#QueerAF by National Student Pride’ in your podcast app.
‘If you’re a firm believer in Islam, you don’t drop that to jerk off to a girl’
The podcast explores the different themes of the documentary including Maryams intersectionality and her sex work.
In one scene Maryam is speaking to one of her clients online.
Ashenden explains to #QueerAF that while she was there recording, one Asian client asked to buy Maryam’s tights that she was wearing for the ‘cam’ show. But he requested she wore them for a number of days before sending them.
However, he also insisted that he wouldn’t want her to wear them to the Mosque because:
‘Even he has his own boundaries.’
Maryam found this bizarre and interesting, remarking for the show:
‘A little hypocritical of me to say but, if you’re a firm believer in Islam – you don’t drop that to jerk off to a girl.’
But despite this experience – another comment they discuss is how Maryam finds it easier to be queer in the Muslim community, than Muslim in the queer community.
Gay Star News is a media supporter of National Student Pride. Gay Star Students sponsors Clifford Chance and Deloitte support coverage of the #QueerAF podcast.
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