They are gay. They are Muslim. They are proud.

Every year, Pride serves as an opportunity to celebrate inclusivity, tolerance, and acceptance in the LGBTQ community.

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.

For queer Muslims, Pride month is all the more special.

Since traditionalist views of Islam consider homosexuality a sin, it's a common myth that you can't be both queer and Muslim. But every year, tons of practicing Muslims who identify as queer come out and engage in self-affirmation of their complex, intersecting identities.


If there's one thing that Pride month's proved so far, it's that being LGBTQ and Muslim are not mutually exclusive.

Now more than ever, Muslim-American citizens are rallying together to support the LGBTQ people within their community.

A recent study revealed that 51% of Muslim-Americans support marriage equality, according to the May 2018 Public Religion Research Institute study. This is a huge leap from four years ago, when that same percentage were opposed. To put numbers into comparison, according to the study's findings, marriage equality is opposed by 58% of white evangelical Christians and 53% of Mormons.

Queer Islamic scholars and imams have also risen to prominence. Daaiyee Abdullah, based in Washington, D.C., is one of the eight openly gay imams in the world. He is known to offer religious services to Muslim LGBTQ members who have been turned away or cast out from the community.

LGBTQ Muslim representation in entertainment is on the rise, with Tan France's prominent role in "Queer Eye," "The Bold Type's" lesbian character Adena El Amin (played by Nikohl Boosheri), and Mahershala Ali's starring role in "Moonlight."

Plus, several prominent non-queer Muslims that have come forward in support for LGBTQ rights. Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American public intellectual, and comedian Hasan Minhaj penned an open letter urging Muslim-Americans to stand against anti-gay bigotry and support marriage equality. Meanwhile, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, our country's first Somali-American legislator, marched in her local Pride parade.

Despite this outpouring of visibility, queer Muslims face discrimination at every turn.

Laws in many Muslim-majority countries are influenced by these religiously driven homophobic beliefs. Same-gender marriage is often not only illegal, but being queer can warrant prison time or even death. These threats keep many Muslims in the closet.

In the U.S., with the sweeping tide of Islamophobia, the "not-a-Muslim-ban" Muslim ban, and an administration adamant on rolling back LGBTQ rights, queer Muslims' safety is constantly at risk.

These realities are daunting. But the swell of support during Pride of religious tolerance and LGBTQ acceptance proves that progress is being made.

If all people can set aside differences and see each other as fully human, the future will be bright.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

A young boy tried to grab the Pope's skull cap

A boy of about 10-years-old with a mental disability stole the show at Pope Francis' weekly general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican auditorium. In front of an audience of thousands the boy walked past security and onto the stage while priests delivered prayers and introductory speeches.

The boy, later identified as Paolo, Jr., greeted the pope by shaking his hand and when it was clear that he had no intention of leaving, the pontiff asked Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, the head of protocol, to let the boy borrow his chair.

The boy's activity on the stage was clearly a breach of Vatican protocol but Pope Francis didn't seem to be bothered one bit. He looked at the child with a sense of joy and wasn't even disturbed when he repeatedly motioned that he wanted to remove his skull cap.

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