FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Eid Mubarak! (Also, Goodbye)

Feature image via whyain / Tumblr

Welcome to the Friday Open Thread, the weekly affair in which we report our progress towards realising the Queer Agenda and also love on each other’s cats. Today I’m counting on you to keep me entertained as I endure a marathon of comments on my hair, weight, and the fact that now that I’m done studying I should be applying myself to religion and finding a good husband.

Confession: I have never actually the phrase “Eid Mubarak” out loud, and it’s unlikely I will anytime soon. Today marks the end of Ramadhan, the month of fasting, a day likely known to most of you as Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر) but to me as Hari Raya Puasa/Aidilfitri (Malay). I have strong feelings about the growing homogenisation (often Arabisation) of global Islamic discourse and practice, but those are perhaps saved for another time and place.

So happy Eid anyway!

How has the internet not put a kitten into a baju Melayu and songkok set yet? I'm disappointed.

How has the internet not put a kitten into a baju Melayu and songkok set yet? I’m disappointed.
via Shutterstock

Hari Raya has always been the family holiday of the year for me, akin to Christmas for many of you theists and non-theists alike. I lived abroad for four years and never missed one here in Singapore (though admittedly this was rarely by choice). Most of this takes the form of visiting tens of relatives’ homes over the course of the month of Syawal: cramming as many people as possible into tiny, overdecorated living rooms, cramming as much kuih into your face as possible before you feel sick and/or get called out for finishing the honey cornflakes, trying to remember who’s related to whom and how (always complicated by cousin marriages), watching Malay dramas with Strong Religious Messages and an inexplicable number of dramatised rape scenes on Suria, and asking and granting forgiveness to those whom you’ve wronged and been wronged by over the past year. During Ramadhan you sort out your own shit, during Syawal you sort out your shit with other people.

But I didn’t come here to talk about that family, not least because many of them would not be pleased with me doing so on a queer feminist website. (This is a tried and tested theory.) In the year or so since I last hosted an open thread, I’ve moved into and out of NYC, in the process recruiting more members to my transnational Militant Homosexual Army. In polite company, I refer to them as my “queer family” or “queer community.”

Just some queermos in my living room watching some quality Netflix. (Professional photography and screencaps by Laura W and Gabby respectively.)

Just some queermos in my former living room watching some quality Netflix. (Professional photography and screencaps by Laura W and Gabby respectively.)

It’s been almost two months now since I’ve left, and I miss them all acutely. It’s been even longer since I’ve been regularly writing and participating in things round here (grad school and visa regulations got in the way, I’m sorry) and I miss all of you too! Next month or so I’ll be starting work with the Overlords, which means the end of my love affair with the queer internets and Autostraddle dot com. I am not done processing my feelings about all this — mostly I just want to lounge about with my cat and PS3 while I still can, being neither in school or at work right now — but on this day that is set aside for us to celebrate what and whom we have in our lives, I want you all to know that you’ve been a huge part of mine and I am thankful for the two years I’ve had getting to know, learning from, and growing with this community.

And of course I wanna hear from y’all too: if you’re celebrating Eid/Raya, how’s it going? If you aren’t, what’s going on anyway? How do you deal with leaving people and places you love behind? What are the favourite things you’ve read about major life changes, especially if they’re not ones you’d have chosen if you’d had other options? How do I keep you all with me forever? Talk to me, folks, I’ll be here for the better part of the weekend.

How To Post a Photo In The Comments:

1. Find a photo! This is the easy part. Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL,” and then…

2. Code it in to your comment! Use the following code:

<img src=”http://imageurlgoeshere.jpg”>

If you need to upload the photo you love from your computer, try using imgur.

*How To Post a Video In The Comments, Too:

1. Find a video on YouTube or Vimeo or WHATEVER and click “embed.” Copy that code, but first make sure it’s for 640px wide or less. If your player is too large, it will not display properly.

2. Copy the code and paste it directly into your comment.

3. Go forth and jam.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Fikri has written 61 articles for us.


  1. I LOVE YOU and I am so sososososo happy to have been recruited into your queer familial army. <3

  2. Sorry to see you go, Fikri.

    Leaving people and places behind is tough. I’ve moved around a lot in the last few years and most of the people I love don’t live in this country – they’re back in the UK or in other European countries, and my partner is in the US. I guess all I can recommend is shedloads of Skype and having a collection of photos to look back on.

    I also tell myself often that if a place/person is really important to me, I WILL see them again someday. It might not be in the near future, but it will happen sooner or later. It’s still hard to say goodbye, but believing there’ll be a “next time” makes it a bit easier.

    • Oh man, I am the worst at being on top of photos and Skype and things. Everything is always so messy when you move! I usually blame jetlag, but it’s been something like 1.5 months since I’ve been back and a 12-hour time difference is bad but it’s not that bad. Few seem to have noticed this though so I think it is okay to fly under the radar for a bit more.

      I always say “goodbye forever!” when I leave people, which makes them go D: even though I know I will probably see them again, because I travel a lot plus I’ve only lived in major cities (Singapore, NYC, London) that other people tend to pass through a lot too. I actually find it easier to think of not seeing them again; dealing with final goodbyes seems to give me more closure then the thought of “maybe next time.”

  3. Wow, good luck with family stuff& major life changes…at least you had the chance to create/ know you have your very own personally crafted queer family, which is awesome.
    I’ll admit i kept waiting for the FOT to go up yesterday& then i remembered it was Thurs…but i was just so stoked& wanted to share with the straddleverse that i found out I’m going to be camp staff at a camp for queer youth& I’m so excited!!!
    Hope everyone’s having a great week& looking forward to the weekend.

    • I WAITED FOR THE FOT ALL DAY YESTERDAY TOO because it was Friday my time (I’m 12-15h ahead of the continental US) and then it got published just as I fell asleep so now I’m catching up on everything.

      I’m really excited for you!! Camps for queer youth are a magical thing I couldn’t even have imagined as a queer youth so I hope you come back and tell us all about it.

  4. Sorry to see you go. I don’t know you, but I wish you the best with all of life’s changes.

    I don’t have any good advice with dealing with missing people. Most of the time, my way of staying connected has involved the internet. My friends who I’ve moved away from are kept in touch with via email and Facebook. And many, I’ve lost touch with altogether, especially my friends from before college. I just can’t relate to that circle anymore. That was from a time that seems so distant and different. My immediate family I’ve remained close to, but I’m not that good at staying close to other friends after moving.

    Leaving places you love is hard too, almost as hard as moving away from the people you love. I don’t have any particular advice. But people are amazingly adaptable – were good at creating new homes and communities for ourselves. You can do this!

    Also – Can I just say how much I’ve loved this comment-themed week? Seriously, the community here is the best part of this website. <3

    This week:

    Look what I got in the mail yesterday! My official sticker!

    Cats for autostraddle:

    I went backpacking this week with my Dad to Snow Lake, which is by Snoqualmie Pass, about an hour from Tacoma. There were tons of wild blueberries! Or are they blue huckleberries? I don’t know how to tell the difference. They were really sweet too, not tart as they often are. I picked a bunch and stained my fingers purple and then made wild blueberry pudding.

    Purple fingers!

    In case any fellow berry-loving backpackers are interested…

    Camping pudding recipe: makes 2 cups (enough for you and a camping buddy!). Ingredients: 1 packet jello instant vanilla pudding, 2/3 c. powdered milk, 2 c. COLD alpine lake water (purified with filter), and wild edible berries of your choice. Vigorously stir pudding mix, water, and powdered milk vigorously for a couple minutes. Then stir in berries. Serve in a cardboard soup container from your dehydrated camping dinner.

    I normally think food photos are silly, but I was very proud of my foraging skills, okay?

    me! (First time posting a photo of my face… But I figured if I’m hosting an event, I should show I’m a real human.)

    Has anyone read “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed (about her journey on the PCT)? I would definitely recommend it for anyone who likes the outdoors or travel writing (or just memoirs in general). I finished it on my backpacking trip, which seemed rather appropriate.

    More photos!

    Snow Lake:


    • Wow, those pictures are beautiful! Snow Lake looks gorgeous. I’m also impressed with your foraging skills! I just got back from a camping trip at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and it was gorgeous. We saw a herd of bison! Then we went to Zion National Park and it was so beautiful (but hot!) Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay in Zion, because my mom got heat stroke, but the ambulance came really fast, so she was okay. So then we got a motel room near the hospital in Saint George, Utah, and we went to a dinosaur museum the next day. So it all worked out. Yay for adventures!

      • Ooh, that sounds beautiful! I’ve wanted to go to the grand staircase region ever since taking a national park geology class in college: Zion, arches, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, etc. Scary about your mom though! Glad she’s okay!

    • So beautiful! Snow Lake is one of the best camping spots I’ve ever been to. And yes, as a fellow backpacker, I am very interested in your blueberry pudding recipe – thanks for sharing :)

      • I love the Cascades so much. And I’m glad you appreciate the recipe :D I imagine it would be good with blackberries too.

    • Those look like blueberries to me. Huckleberries don’t have that powdery-looking surface – so they’re darker and a bit shinier. The ones here, anyway. Dunno if there are different varieties. Thanks for the recipe!

      • Yeah, most of the huckleberries I’m familiar with are red! But I know they can be blue up in the mountains. I think you’re right though- these tasted like blueberries.

    • Beautiful pictures, haven’t seen wild blueberries over here in years. Whilst hiking to the beach we saw a gooseberry bush hiding amidst the thistles, sadly only 2 berries on it. Also I took pictures of 4 kinds of washed up jellyfish, including a yellow one :)

      • I’ve never tried gooseberries. Wow, 4 different kinds of jelly fish sounds cool. I’m glad someone else appreciates my fascination with these creatures washed up on the sand.

    • Aghh Patricia. Your photos make me want to cry. Just the sheer beauty, y’know?

      Sounds like your backpacking trip was amazing!! I hope it was refreshing for both your body and mind. That’s so cool how you guys found blueberries, and then made pudding?? Okay, Wilderness Chef. ;) Made me want to get some blueberries from my fridge. They’re such fun, healthy little things.

      • Well, I’m normally a very lazy chef. But instant pudding I can handle. :) Yeah, you should definitely get some blueberries! Or pick them at a berry farm! I should do that too this summer… or at least pick some blackberries at a local park. Brings back childhood memories of vlackberry pies and scratched up legs. But I digress…
        Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the outdoors in california!

    • Oh, man. Everything about these photos is perfect. Feeling this acutely as I sit in the overcrowded waiting room of a polyclinic. I miss being outdoors!

      I joined FB around the same time I started writing for Autostraddle, a couple of years ago, when it became clear that it was necessary to stay in touch with people all over the place (does anyone ever know each other’s e-mails/phone nos./etc. anymore??) but sometimes it distresses me how much of my social life is now wrapped up in proprietary tech services. I’d resolved to not lose track of friends who weren’t on FB — having been one of those people for a long time myself — but that didn’t last long.

      • Yeah I get itchy if I’m forced to be inside for too long. I always try to take my breaks at work outside, even of only for a few minutes. I can relate on the fb stuff. Sadly, most of my social life is on the internet, but at least that’s something – better than losing touch. It has it’s good and bad points.

    • Other people here know about huckleberries?!? This makes my day! (and has caused me to post for the first time – homesick much?) And yes, those definitely look like blueberries to me.

      AND there are other backpackers on here?!? This is proof AS is the most badass amazing community ever!

      Gorgeous photos – you’ve inspired me to go plan a mini-backpacking trip…

      • Yeah, the AS community is pretty rad… And considering what a big deal a-camp is, I’m pretty sure there’s lots of other outdoors loving people here. (I’ve never been to a-camp but NEXT YEAR…)

        Huckleberries! I grew up with them everywhere! But they were small and red, so I still don’t know how to recognize the blue ones.

        • I grew up with huckleberries all over the place as well – if you could wrestle them away from the bears… Mmmmmm huckleberry pancakes and huckleberry pie! Yes please!

    • Your photos are beautiful! Makes me want to go hiking and backpacking in the States :)

    • Nth-ing the sentiment on the photos! And somewhat jealous of your trip. I miss the northwest.

  5. My guilty pleasure is Sex and the City (yeah yeah I know). When I was moving to Tennessee someone wrote this in a card they gave me, because I’d been talking so much about whether or not it was a mistake to move. I recognized the quote right away and it instantly made me feel better. I always cling to it when I’m making big changes.

    “Maybe mistakes are what make our fate… without them what would shape our lives? Maybe if we had never veered off course we wouldn’t fall in love, have babies, or be who we are. After all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. But it’s comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart… and if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away.”

    • Whew glad I’m not the only SATC watcher here! I started having withdrawal dreams after I finished the show. So I rewatched it…three times through. It’s turned from guilty pleasure to, well, just pure pleasure.

      “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

      • I feel the same way about Sex and the City. I get a kick out of it, and I think it actually has some wisdom about it.

        The movies never happened, though.

  6. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to leave people and places you love behind. Over the last week, my girlfriend and I have decided to move to Georgia (we currently live in Vermont), but we aren’t telling anyone yet (you guys are actually the first to know). We don’t have any solid plans in place yet, except knowing we want to go to Savannah, so we aren’t breaking the news to our families or employers yet. This all means that I’ve spent the last week swinging between jitter inducing excitement and tear inducing sadness about leaving my family. I have never lived far away from my family. My dad lives next door and my mom and siblings live an our away, but I make the trip at least once a week. This whole process is going to be really hard, but I also know it’s going to be incredibly rewarding. It’s just hard to think about being away from my family and the life I have hear.

    On a different note, this is the last weekend of my play and I am excited to have my nights back. I’m already making plans with a friend to go to a slam poetry night (just to listen).

    • That sounds exciting, I think you will bask in the winters that don’t see much snow, and from the things I have read here the ubiquitous amounts of waffle houses.

    • Good luck with the move and congrats on finishing up your play! I’m working through the opposite problem: moving back in with my family, back to a place where aunts are two blocks away and you run into people you know everywhere. I guess it’s one thing to think about the life/lives I’ve left behind (insofar as you really leave any part of your life truly “behind”) but a whole different thing altogether to imagine a new life somewhere else, especially when that place is not actually new, and I’m still on unsteady ground there. We’ll see how it goes.

  7. How did you know I have all these feelings about these topics? I just got a job, and put in notice at my current job, and I have SO MANY FEELS. I’ve waited for this moment for a long time, and it’s finally here, and I’m so torn. I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life, but at the same time, there are things I’ll miss about my current situation, even if it’s not working for me anymore. I’m taking risks, being bold, and moving on. This means leaving the only job I’ve had post-academia.

    “How do you deal with leaving people and places you love behind?”
    Please let me know if any of you have a good answer (or just an answer) to this question. This will be the hardest part for me.

    I was not put on this earth to be comfortable. That’s my mantra. And I’m being uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing.

    • “I was not put on this earth to be comfortable.” This is a good attitude to take. I have left lots of people, places and situations behind, but I don’t really have any advice for how to deal with it. You just end up… dealing with it. (Sorry if that’s not helpful.) BUT I can say that every time I’ve left a job for a new one, it has been a good decision.

      Congratulations on your new life-chapter. I hope everything works out great for you!

    • I feel you… I will be moving in August and I have no idea at all on how to deal with leaving people behind. I’m dreading it, tbh. But it’ll eventually get better. I hope.

      Much love sent your way!

  8. Your contributions will be missed, Fikri! Thank you for your part in building this community. I wish you all the best in the next chapter of your life.

  9. Fikri! If you do write those feelings about Islam, I hope you share them on AS. Sorry to see you go; I don’t know you except that your multi-colored hair and your words are awesome. All the encouragement for you and your army on the road ahead.

    • Haha! Some of those feelings are in my thesis (or at least I imagine they are… it’s been a while) and sorry it’s unlikely I’ll revisit that anytime soon. My hair has been redyed black but my army is still intact and awesome. Thank you!

  10. The best thing that happened to me this week was that a friend did a “woman crush Wednesday” post on FB and her WCW was … ME! She said all kinds of nice, sweet, complimentary things about me and it felt so, so good to read them and I believed every single one of them. Totally awesome-sauce friend, she is.

    The second-best thing that happened to me this week was that the doc who prescribes my antidepressants basically said (heavy paraphrase), “Hey, you’re so consistently happy the last few times I’ve seen you, why are you still taking this stuff?” And then we decided to taper me off, cautiously. People, I’ve been taking those things since 1990, and it looks like I really don’t need them any more. That feels huge. And it feels like a huge validation of having decided to, just, you know, be myself.

    • Wow, those are both awesome things but especially the second one. I’m happy for your happiness!

    • Amazing news (both things). That must be so freeing to know that your brain is healthy and to feel like yourself again. As someone who is also taking anti depressants, I can relate and wish you the best.

      • It’s really like I’m feeling like myself for the first time ever, and it’s pretty amazing.

  11. Things I thought about between 5:42 and 7:12 a.m. this morning instead of sleeping:

    -I have to go to the bathroom. But if I get up and open the door the cat will think it’s awake-time and harass me to let him out, and I don’t want to let him out yet because if he goes out then I’ll spend the rest of the morning half-listening to hear if he meows to come back in and I won’t be able to fall back asleep. I wish this bedroom had an ensuite.

    -Maybe I could just leave the screen door closed so he can push through the hole in the corner. But then somebody might break into my house and steal my computer while I’m sleeping. I wish he had a cat door. I wish he could teleport through walls. But if I’m going to wish for that I might as well wish for a whole teleportation machine so I could also go anywhere I want whenever I want to. Then I could take my bike to Kelowna today and not have to worry about how to get it back.

    -I wish someone would invent a sleep pod that’s completely soundless and climate-controlled and also suspends time, so I could sleep for as long as I want without missing out on any life things. I might even be able to handle having kids if I had a time-suspending comfy sleep pod.

    -I’m hungry. Do I have an intestinal parasite?

    -I hope [pregnant friend] has a girl! All my other close friends have boys. I would hate to raise kids these days with all the judgement about everything. How would you ever decide the best things to do in the middle of so much yelling? I wonder how many of my friends keep their vaccination decisions secret. I wonder why ancient humans ever started circumcising in the first place. It seems like an odd thing to decide to do without precedent. There must be a reason.

    -Is docking the cis gay male version of scissoring? Do people really do that? Does it actually feel pleasurable? Is it something couples try and then go, “ok, that was weird, but at least we can check it off our list”?

    -Funny FB status to file away for later: “When my cat leaves ‘gifts’ on my front doorstep, it literally means he gives a rat’s ass.”

    -No, don’t think about that. No, no, don’t think about that. Let’s take a break from thinking about that today.

    -Maybe if I keep a mental list of all the things I’m thinking about, I can reverse-psychology myself to stop thinking about things, and then I can fall back asleep.

    -Did Lauren Morelli name Lorna Morello after herself? And if so, what is she trying to tell us? …Will Lorna and Poussey end up together?? I like Poussoso, though. I wonder if Lauren Morelli reads Autostraddle now that she’s been to A-Camp. (Sidenote: LAUREN MORELLI, IF YOU ARE READING THIS PLEASE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS SO I CAN SLEEP IN TOMORROW THANK YOU.)

    -I’m going to get my laptop so I can write this list down and post it on the Friday Open Thread later. I guess that means I’m staying awake now.

    -I am a ridiculous person.

    • I’m sorry that you couldn’t sleep (I was actually awake around that time, too, and had my own thought spiral going). But I thoroughly enjoyed reading all your thoughts, especially about cat teleportation.

    • The number of times I’ve wondered if I have an intestinal parasite is a little embarrassing. That also inevitably leads me to thinking about how they used to get those things out of you in ye olde times. It is gross. So I feel you on that random thought.

    • I want that sleep pod. I would do so much to get that sleep pod.

      My mind is so blown by that Lauren Morelli – Lorna Morello similarity. Whoa.

    • consistently thinking about the lauren morelli/lorna morello thing, i’m glad someone else is losing sleep over this.

    • I’ll take one of those sleep pods too, thanks, and you’re not the only one who stays up with bizarre sex-related questions in mind. (My girlfriend does. And then I gotta stay up and talk them through with her too.) I’ve been having a tonne of trouble sleeping since moving back too but I never thought to file away all my insomnia thoughts for a FOT, I admire your dedication.

  12. Awww Fikri! I have really enjoyed reading all the things you’ve written here, I’ll miss you!

    • I was on wifi-minimal holiday when the Pluto thing happened but I was SO EXCITED. Well okay mainly because I just finished the Mass Effect trilogy again and the Charon relay is located around there. Did you see this?

      Good luck with the job/s!

      • No, I hadn’t seen that, but it’s adorable. A little sad, yes, but adorable. I really wish we’d gotten NH into orbit around Pluto, but maybe the next Pluto mission we’ll have better data and feel more secure about leaving automated orders for the orbit. :D

        Thank you! Good luck with the coming phase of your life. Sorry to see you leaving AS!

  13. This open thread is EVERYTHING. I am currently dealing with too many feels re: moving away from home, leaving friends and family behind, coming out to parents, thinking hard about my gender identity, and other stuff… Constant partying during the week, plus a complicated situation with a questioning girl also compound the feels. (Random side note: how would y’all read a questioning friend just randomly kissing you after you say you’re done with her antics?)

    How am I dealing with leaving people and places I love? Simple… Ignore the fact I’m leaving. Party a lot with these people in these places. Create new memories. And hopefully it’ll all fall into place in a few weeks when I leave.

    • Done with her antics as in you don’t want to be friends, or done with her romantic antics … aka her romANTICS? ;)
      I’d talk about it, and then probably steer clear – it’s not your job to be her experiment, it’s your job to make sure you feel secure and happy. Help her sort it out, but not at your own expense!

      • Kat, this comment wins at life. I’m gonna make this my mantra: “it’s not your job to be her experiment, it’s your job to make sure you feel secure and happy”

        Thank you. I really needed to hear that

    • I’m with Kat. Talk to her, then move on — you don’t owe her anything! (But I’ve also made similar promises to myself and then ignored all my better senses… so maybe don’t listen to me. I can’t even tell you to not get into anything as you’re leaving because yup, done that too.)

      I am so good at sitting around ignoring the fact that I’m leaving too. I mean now sometimes I’m still sitting around ignoring the fact that I’ve left. I endorse your life decisions.

      • @capri you are the best (side note: super sad to see you go! But I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors with the overlords)

        I’m on the side of ignoring my better senses kinda… It’s been a long, confusing story with this girl. But for some unknown reason I wanna see where it leads. Bad idea, I know. Not only am I leaving in less than a month but I’m risking being someone’s experiment. So guess we’ll see about that… *sigh*

        Lesson: don’t fall for one of your good friends who identified as straight and now questioning.

        • True story: I have (LONG-TERM) dated so many straight girls in my life that in my current non-monogamous relationship “no straight girls” is one of our only rules. I’m glad people out there are experimenting and exploring their sexuality! Just not with me anymore, thanks.

          • I’m sorry to hear you’ve long-time dated straight girls. I can’t even imagine how tough that must be, as I’m not even dating this one and it’s complicated as hell.

            I’m glad too that people experiment and explore, but not when I feel like I’m getting a bit emotionally invested in the whole thing. I legit told her “look it’s better to just be friends and forget I ever told you I like you.” Then bam! Kiss. Wtf. So. Done.

  14. Fikri…noooooo don’t disappear from AS!!!!!!!!
    I’m always super excited to see what you write, and I’ve been really interested in seeing what you’re up to next. Plus you’re one of the voices that is not just American/Western culture on this site which I really really value.
    And you’re just so damn lovely generally.
    No ooooooooo…don’t go ooooo.

    Ok….trying to pull myself together. I hope your next adventures are exciting/fulfilling/bring you great things. There may be tough and/or boring days, but I hope you have many brilliant ones to compensate & balance.

    Also, Happy Raya/Eid to you!

    I hope you survive the relatives…. I have relatives staying with us for two weeks, which is why I went to work half an hour early today.

    p.s…did I mention we don’t want you to go and will miss you terribly?

    • Aww, thank you. <3 So far the relatives marathon has been not the worst. (It helps that I’ve dyed my hair back to black and put on ~appropriately gendered~ clothes!) I pretty much only function at night now, when everyone else in my overcrowded family home is asleep, but I look forward to hopefully earning enough money to get a place of my own.

  15. SELAMAT HARI RAYA! I’m with my aunt and co in Virginia, probably the first time I’m having Eid in the US.

    and OMG I have feelings about the Arabicization of Islamic cultures everywhere too, especially growing up as a Muslim minority in a Muslim country where I kept being told that my people were “doing Islam wrong” because we came from a more lax mazhab. All these Bangladeshis rich and poor migrated due to the promise of “Muslim brotherhood” and Malaysia – ruling party AND “progressives” – treat us like SHIT. And Tumblr Islam scares me too – it’s supposedly more progressive and queer-friendly and blah, but it’s also really orthodox, to the point that any bending of Islam (e.g. incorporating witchcraft, which isn’t uncommon in some places – bomohs anyone?) is seen as NO THAT IS HARAM.

    Good luck with the Overlords, may they don’t consume you too much.

    • And actually it’s funny that you complain about saying “Eid Mubarak” because of the Arabization when you’re familiar with “Selamat Hari Raya”…just across the causeway from you is me, being forced to assimilate into YOUR culture to the point that me wearing a salwhar khameez instead of a baju kurung is weird -_-

      • Salam lebaran! And yeah I feel you, for me the Malay culture/language is growing to be a place of resistance but I also know it intimately as a site of oppression (though not in the exact ways that you do obvs). The funny thing is I am Arab but as a SEAsian one it’s really bizarre to me when people use words like “hijab” or “iftar” in local contexts. I also think it’s far more a class thing than a cultural one: S’poreans who use these words aren’t necessarily more religious or closer to Arab/Muslim culture; rather, they’re more likely to be transnational travellers influenced by “global” Muslim personalities/movements (sometimes ironically based in the West).

  16. First off, I wish you all the best Fikri, leaving is really hard.

    Today I finished my first year of teaching and left the school where I was working, now I didn’t enjoy it much because the working environment wasn’t great and it was also a very traditional Catholic school so I often felt really damn uncomfortable there. But even with all of those many reasons for feeling happy about leaving it behind, it still felt weird, if only because I’d become used to the place and lots of the students were great. So leaving somewhere you like must be even worse. I hope what follows is just as good.

  17. I got dinner and a show today at work; one of our rooftop HVAC units exploded and was pumping toxic gas through our building and the fire department came. It was pretty exciting.

    P.S. No one was injured, just so you know.

  18. Visa regulations fucked up my life for a long long time
    Big giant hug to you from another foreigner
    Best of luck with your future endeavors

    • What is the world coming to when overpoliced borders fuck up Carmen SanDiego’s life?? Hug back and thank you <3

    • I hope this doesn’t come off as insensitive but the idea of Carmen San Diego being stuck in one place is completely foreign to me. What would be the games objective? Terrible. I’m sorry you had to experience that. Hugs.

  19. You could always take a screenshot of your favorite comments & have it on your phone to take with you wherever you are. Thank you for all the articles & comments you wrote. You will be missed.
    On a more personal level. I was watching Caitlyn’s segment on the ESPYS with my parents, trying to hold back my tears as she was doing a very good job with her speech. My father in the middle of it gets up & leaves mostly due to disgust. My mother is harder to gauge. But, I’m slowly giving up on him being accepting, at least for now. Caue I don’t think any words will ever change his opinion. Sucks, but whatever I going to be me & work on being a better me.
    Last night I went to a gay bar to celebrate a fellow straddlers birthday. It was real nice, though there may have been a few too many fruit flies that night. After the bar I went to 7-11 in a neighborhood not known for it’s safety by myself. I almost wanted to cry cause I felt unsafe & a bit helpless. I was wearing purple lipstick that looks very good on me, had my breast forms on with a thin jacket on. So, one could say I looked like a masculine person with breasts & lipstick on. Didn’t help I drove my mother’s Audi. There was a group of men who I’m 75% sure were looking at me and sneering. Like how do I protect myself in a situation like this? How should one react in terms of safety?

    There is this wall block away from my work that I’ve posted pictures from as it changes frequently. This is the new that was put up this week. Look carefully at if you can.

    I saw people contributing to the wall so I decided to contribute to the wall. This is just one of them.

    Thank your for reading & viewing my post. Have a positive weekend!

  20. I’ve been thinking about leaving people a lot this week, as well. I just accepted an offer for a new job this week, which is both good and bad. I’m excited for the new opportunity and to pursue my dream of no longer working for my current company, but I’ll be leaving behind some people that I really like. Not sure how I’m going to handle it, but I’ve got a month or so to figure it out. But anyways…best of luck in your future endeavors!

    On a happier note, I’ve got a bunch of Watson snapchats to share, especially since I didn’t have the opportunity to post last week.

    Watson has outgrown his collar (sad face), so we had to go to to Petsmart today to get him a new one. I had to put his harness on him, which he hates, in order to take him to get a new collar. This was his reaction:

    This is probably my favorite snapchat I’ve ever sent, which is saying something because I’ve sent some doozies. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

    I’ve got more, but I’ll post them in a comment on my own post, just so I don’t blow up the thread with a ton of awkward snapchats of my dog.

    • So this is more or less what my relationship with Watson looks like on a daily basis. He’s such a fun dog. Also, this is probably the first (and also the last) time that a post of mine has my face in it.

    • My dog hates her harness too but I need her to stay attached to the seat belt and not under my feet when I drive anywhere. Best of luck with his adorable grump.

    • I support awkward puppy snapchats! I came home to a deeply traumatised cat yesterday because while we were out visiting, other relatives came over to visit my grandmother, many of them bringing small children who tried to coax him out to play. He is terrified of new humans. He hadn’t even dared to venture out to his food bowl (next to the living room) by the time we got back late at night.

      Here he is in a bowtie:

      • The look on your cat’s face is priceless. And I feel the same way your cat does around new humans. Watson, on the other hand, loves people. It’s so bizarre. He also enjoys meeting other dogs, and chasing butterflies. Clearly, he’s vicious.

  21. Oh my god you guys, this week has been another crazy one…
    I’ve finally gotten my temps so I’m having to deal with the scary exciting semi-humiliating stuff that comes with learning how to drive when you’re almost 20. Let’s just say it’s been an adventure.
    Also, on Wednesday I was like TWENTY FEET FROM CARA DELEVINGNE. I went to the Paper Towns Tour stop in Colombus to see my favorite author talk about one of my favorite books and then got to see it in the form of an awesome movie. Even though I was sleep deprived as all get out due to waking up at 2AM to get in line for eight hours, it was 100% worth it.

    (I hope that picture shows up, I’m so bad at HTML stuff)

    But anyways, how are you guys?? Did anyone else go to the Paper Towns tour? Or am I just a super crazy white girl for going?

  22. Mostly, when I leave, I’m ready to move on in that I’ve outgrown the place in at least one dimension. As to people, well, that’s tough. But lives evolve, and there are there are lots of other good people, and hopefully travel will occur, and internet comm, and such?

    I have re-crate trained a dog this week. Moving the crate was too confusing. Waaay too confusing. Hide under the bed but dog too big to fit under the bed confusing. She’s hyper aware of setting, and it’s really impactful.

  23. Leaving places, leaving people. My partner and I broke up last week and I am having a little bit of trouble hauling myself up by my bootstraps not because we were perfect or because we won’t be friends, but because I am so wretched about the endings of things. I so want to be more zen and remind myself that nothing is permanent but instead I get stuck in this really frustrating feedback loop (similar to graduation syndrome) where I just wallow in idealized memories and get all bitter that things have changed.

    You guys are a bunch of super smart queer ladies. How do y’all deal with change?

    • I watch sad Warehouse 13 Season 3 fanvids and cry into my Ben&Jerry’s.

      Side note:
      It is perfectly normal to be wretched about a break up, no matter how amiable!
      There are two kinds of people:Some that paint the past golden in a break up, the other who paint it black.
      Be bitter, be sad, be wretched, the zen part is not holding on to any of those emotions.
      And good luck with that!
      Some of us will always keep a pint or two of B&J in the freezer, but that’s ok, too.

      • “Be bitter, be sad, be wretched, the zen part is not holding on to any of those emotions.”

        You are very wise.

      • This is a very good comment, except I do think the path of “zen” would allow you to feel those feelings and recognize them, but also tell you to appreciate them because they are part of your emotional range and every emotion is good ?

        Sorry I don’t know anything about zen I’m just auoting “inside out” now…

        Editors, could we have a post about emotions ? I’ve been doing thinking lately (I know I know) and I keep thinking back to some point three weeks ago where I felt a deep, deep anger like I’ve rarely felt and it made me reaaaally uncomfortable because I wasn’t used to that feeling and I don’t count it as a positive feeling and how do I recognise an feeling that brutal can be legitimate / even positive ?

    • “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

      A lil’ Albert Camus for you. I love this because it makes me think of the possibility to embrace nostalgia while charging forward. They can coexist.


      • Thanks for the Camus! I dig the idea of that coexistence. Basically any change I make in my life, I have to drag at least 50% of me along, kicking and screaming. :-)

    • Oh shit…that’s really rough. I hope you are taking care of yourself, and know that these feelings are completely valid! It’s okay to feel bitter about things that could’ve been better, and about memories long gone. It’s natural, actually.
      I can’t give much advice about how to deal with change other than…just feel it. Feel that bitterness, wring it out of the rags. With time, that bitterness should become insignificant. Nothing is permanent, but change is constant. Or something… All in all, positive vibes to ya.

  24. Oh Boy,
    I don’t know if this helps, but life has this thing about moving around and maybe even away from you, even if you’re the one that’s staying.
    And then all of a sudden it’s you and not some plot point in a lame rom con who reconnects with friends after years and years and still it’s like you just saw each other last week.
    Time starts to pass more quickly, and friendships shift from hanging out everyday family situations to having coffee, sitting down and rehashing life.
    There’s a certain kind of peace and beauty in that, too.
    I don’t quite understand why you have to cancel out your online social life, though?
    My entire social life in University revolved around the gay community, when I started work, that abruptly shifted to where I suddenly hung out with co-workers mostly and was too busy and tired to keep all of those other friendships and social appointments intact.( I usually even forgot to schedule pride in.*sigh*)
    But the internet kind of kept (and keeps) my gay(nerd) heart happy.
    Dancing to Peaches might now be happening more in my kitchen while washing the dishes than at four in the morning in some basement, but then I get a message from a friend needing a virtual hug, whom I just roped into watching The 100, or twitter chat with another girl about Person of Interest after getting home from a late shift at three am, and that’s good,too!
    Maybe life is this sailing ship, and sometimes it just shifts and turns and rolls with the waves.

    I’m unemployed right now, willfully so, to catch my my breath, finish my thesis and make all the big decisions(like, move to Switzerland, apply for a job in Boston, stay here, University job, yes/no?).
    Well, catching my breath sounds so charming.
    It’s been almost six months, but I am still struggling with the burn out thing!
    Every day is still a struggle even though it has gotten a lot better, but I feel like I’m just not really carping my diems!
    Binging a couple of shows was nice the first couple of weeks, meeting friends was nice the first couple of months,binging on fanfiction is nice a story or two at a time, but I’d like to get this beast of a thesis written and get my ass back to work.

    • I’m dialling down the internet stuff significantly because my employers are really strict about that kinda thing, and I’m in a country where gay is not okay. While the internet has been a huge part of my life (and specifically my queer life) for a good number of years now and a lot of it has been wonderful, significant parts of it have also been really awful and I quite welcome a break from it all, actually. (I’m probably gonna eat my words in like half a year.)

      Most significantly, when I’m selling my labour in an all-consuming desk job I’m not gonna have the time/energy for anything else. Capitalism, man!

      “Not really carping my diems” is my whole life right now. I don’t reaaaally wanna start work just yet but also there are only so many RPGs I can play before I feel like I should be doing more with myself. Gonna start by trying to finally write a bunch of things I’ve wanted to write for Autostraddle forever but never got around to, especially now that there’s a hard deadline to all of it. Good luck with your move/thesis/job situation!

  25. I’ll miss your writing Fikri, all the best in your time with the Overlords, may it be speedy and bearable if not wonderful. I’m close to the end of my MA and having to work out what to do next…it’s scary, and there are no jobs so I’ll be carving a niche somehow. Not only that but in order to get my MA stuff anywhere I have to be a big old out gay because the work I’ve made is about queer visibility. So yeah… Coming out at the art world as I enter the art world, start as you mean to go on…stress stress stress. Uck.
    This week missus, dogface and I went on holiday to Northumberland. And *to the tune of my girl* “I got sunburn on a cloudy daaaayyyy”…because I was reading The Price of Salt which was wonderful and I read it in a day and you should probably read it too I have so many feelings about it…. and then the next day the sun came out. It was nice to get away and live in the van without technology for a bit. Although I did miss Autostraddle and the interwebs in general as I only had data 2 miles from camp at the beach.

    Look England can be sunny and beautiful too!
    Also we played Elder Sign a few times which was cool, so tabletop folks does anyone else play?
    Have wonderful weekends guys. I have a rare Saturday off and I’m planning on spending it chilling as on Monday I will descend into the last dash/hard grind towards completing my uni work by August.

    • I used to be so excited whenever it was sunny in the UK but now that I’m back in Singapore sun = it’s fcking hot, stay inside. (It is both sunny and fcking hot all the time here.) Your entire holiday situation sounds ideal, I just came back from a wifi-minimal beach holiday in Malaysia myself.

      • Yeah 19 C in northern England doesn’t compare. I’ve only had the too hot to go out feeling in Crete where it was high 30s-40 at worst. There was much napping.

      • When the weather is good it is amazing over here. Northumberland and Yorkshire are stunning lots of hills and rocks and stunning coastline, the midlands is flat and has rolling country, forests and occasional thatched cottages quaint and lovely. Scotland is amazing too, different country though :) I’ve not spent much time down south, just London really but hopefully next year we’re doing a massive road trip. The Isle of Wight is the only place South I’ve spent time and it is beautiful. If you find the quiet spots the UK is pretty nice.

  26. I just love you so much!

    I’m also having a lot of thoughts and feelings about home and family and chosen family and our kickass queer army. Mostly, though, at the moment I’m just feeling really content and hopeful and stable, even though I’m about to embark on a huge transition. I dunno! I dunno. Life is a thing.

    • I love you back! Life is a thing, yes. I am feeling neither particularly hopeful nor stable but I do feel content, which isn’t the worst place to be.

  27. Good luck out there, Fikri!

    I don’t exactly have a home right now- or, alternatively, I have several. I’m living with my fiancée in Tempe, but I’m still technically a resident of Washington state, and will have to return there for my last semester of classes in the spring. It makes settling down in any one place kind of complicated, at least from a psychological perspective.

    In other news, I’ve been promoted to being a session chair at the science conference I’m going to next week! Basically, all that really means is that I’ll be MCing some of the research presentations at the conference, but it’ll look awesome on my resume!

    Lastly, found out that one of the other employees at where my fiancée works is (we think) openly trans, which makes us hope the place is sufficiently queer friendly that she maybe able to stop pretending that I’m her “boyfriend” when she mentions me.

  28. Happy Eid! And thank you for sharing, Fikri.

    I’m moving to London in the fall and while I am going to miss the Twin Cities (more and more I realize this), there’s something beautiful about starting fresh, with new people, new food, new streets, and a new dating scene.

    And speaking of new…my mom’s text response to my new half-shaved head:

    “wtf did you do to your hair. Jesus.”

    Regardless, a new haircut feels like a great way to celebrate changing airs. I highly recommend!

    • LONDON! London is my favourite place on earth except for the part where it’s in a country that just voted in an awful government for another five years. I hope you have the best time there. Here’s the London Straddlers group, in case you haven’t found them:

      My parents comment on my girlfriend’s undercut every time they see her. I’m sure your hair looks amazing.

      • SAME. I was there for a semester in college dancing and clearly just can’t get enough. Come visit? And I already joined the Straddlers group woohhh! Thanks for the link though! You’re wonderful.

        As for parents…oyyyyy parents!

  29. Hi Fikri! Good luck in what’s coming next– it’s been really wonderful to read your articles here. I’m stuck in the US while my girlfriend celebrates Idul Fitri on Java with her family; made it through three weeks’ of fasting until my 10-month visa expired. Heading back in September. As a queer American teacher living in Indonesia for most of the past five years, it’s been useful for me to be able to share your articles with my social media audience (I know you know that’s a LOT of people)– primarily young Indonesians, some of whom are queer and living in rural areas, all of whom can benefit from at least seeing or reading *something* about the queer experience from a SE Asian / Muslim / SE Asian Muslim perspective, even if it’s just an article in an FB feed that shows that community is a thing out there they can seek out, online if not eventually in person. Oddly enough, the internet censorship stuff in Indonesia doesn’t block Autostraddle– it’s a shame you won’t be here anymore, but I’m sure your posts will continue to be circulated and useful to people out there in the world :) Thanks for all you’ve contributed!

    • Aw, this makes me happy! Thank you and lmk if you ever make your way into Singapore sometime.

  30. I’m having feelings about minor-life-changes (hanging out with a fellow queer who I’m into and is into me and will hold my hand, maybe even in public) and also future major-life-changes (school about to pick up loads and graduating next year and it all being over and all this work I need to do) and I’m trying to let it happen without overthinking it. It’s working quite well because I’m not an overthinker, but it’s still a big deal so maybe I’m underthinking it all??

    • THIS IS ME don’t worry. So many things happen and I’m like “eh, okay” then I think maybe I should be more worried because they are Big Things but then… nope. So many people have given excellent advice in this week’s thread which I appreciate but now I’m beginning to think it’s not that I haven’t processed my feelings, it’s just that I really don’t have very many!

  31. “How do you deal with leaving people and places you love behind?”

    Well damn. This question is extremely relevant this year, and it seems many of you are in the same boat.
    I am not sure how to answer this question. My friend died earlier this year. His death made me want to leave this dreadful town as soon as possible. To start fresh, to find myself. And I still feel the same way! But I can’t help but know how much I’ll miss my family and friends once I move to my college dorm. I am sentimental trash, y’all. Moving away will sorta be symbolic of a slap in the face followed by the words “No. Things will never be the same. Death is permanent.” …
    But despite all these mixed feelings, I have never been this ready to leave. I’m SO ready, guys, no matter how painful. There honestly couldn’t be a better time for moving away. It will still be challenging, it will still be emotional…but I will come out on top. I will heal. Good times await.
    Sorry if this doesn’t actually answer the question. Thank you all for reading, this was more serious than I planned. Yikes.

    • I realize I didn’t even bid thee a goodbye, Fikri! I just got caught up in thoughts I guess. Good luck out there, and feel free to take a peek of AS every now and then<3

    • <3 you've got this. Sending positive thoughts your way. Life will be good- emotional and difficult at times, but good. You have so much amazing stuff ahead in college. So many new opportunities, possibilities, friends. Hang in there. Be kind to yourself.

  32. You’ve been an amazing voice in our community, so I’m really sad to learn that you’ll be stepping down from writing here. Best of luck with everything <3

  33. I’ve moved around an absurd amount as an adult, so I totally get those feelz about saying goodbye to a community you’ve built and having to move on. Leaving places sucks, but the internet is awesome and the vast majority of people from my past are still casual facebook acquaintances. I feel like this leaves the door open enough for me to occasionally say “Yo I am coming to [insert city here] let’s hang out!” and then it happens and is generally awesome. But I’ve learned that in spite of the best intentions, most friends, even very good friends, become casual internet friends after you no longer live in the same town.

    However – I have held on to about 1 friend per city I’ve lived in that will be a BFF part of my family forever and ever that I have regular phone/skype dates with and visit on my vacations. And that’s not nothing.

    So I guess life keeps moving on and we all have our own journey but I believe that when people are meant to stay in your life, they do.

    In other news (and on the topic of friends) I had literally the worst day ever yesterday at work. It was a terrible horrible no good very bad day. BUT I am trying this thing where I make myself reach out for help and when I asked facebook to cheer me up, the people in my life totally delivered by showering me with calming manatee pics and videos of adorable cats hugging kittens having nightmares and this picture which makes me laugh every time I see it

    And then when I arrived at my bestie’s house for Operation Cheer Up Alex, he was like “I have pizza in the oven, cheese flavored potato chips, ranch for dipping, your favorite beer, and cookie dough.” So you know, operation success.

    And then today I took a sick day because fuck it and had a boosey brunch with a friend and then spent way too much money at Lush, including this piece of awesome

    So life’s all a balance, self care is awesome and other inspirational quotes.
    Also I’ll miss you Fikri!!!!!!!!!!

    • Is that a gay soap? A gay, glittery soap?? Honestly I thought it was peanut brittle at first…haha.
      May the soap cleanse yourself of the patriarchy and heteronormativity.

      • Ha yes, citrusy sparkly gay soap. It is amazing. If only it had the power to repel homophobes and cis dudes. *sigh*

    • That gay soap makes me feel like a glorious unicorn every time I shower and it smells amazing. Hope it helps with the cheering up! Plus they’re donating money from it to a charity right? My gf bought the soap and I forget which one.

      • Yeah, I can’t remember which charity it goes to either, but I think in countries that have even worse discriminatory laws than the US? I think?

      • Well okay, right after hitting “submit” I realise my former roommate made pizza all the time, often at the most perfect times (not to mention we lived above a pizza place), and my girlfriend does too. Ugh, people who understand our pizza needs are the best.

        • They really are. Pizza needs are essential. And on top of that, he had Cookie Dough, which is my ultimate comfort food. Friends are awesome, is basically the moral of the story.

  34. Looks like there is trouble in the romance department at Silas University. Seriously Laura, everything that you’re looking for in Carmilla is right there next to you in Danny.

  35. Oh! You’re leaving leaving for good? :C Regardless, it sounds like a lot to have to process, definitely.

    I got back from family vacation today and once again, we all go to our own separate rooms. Which is needed sometimes, but feels a little weird off the bat. Also I really miss the ocean, and having a pool to swim in.

    Overall I’m in an icky mood; I feel very sad and also very irritable, which is confusing. And I don’t know why! Which is frustrating. I keep trying to focus on the Lord of the Rings party I’m going to tomorrow night to try and get my mind off it. Which means LotR will be on in the background while we all get drunk. Ultimately.

    I finished reading Tipping the Velvet for the first time while on vacation. Phwoar, that book! It stressed me out so much but was so good. And that eNDING THOUGH my god.

    I also got very sunburned. I am now crispy.

    Happy Eid to everyone who celebrates :) I hope it’s lovely.

    • Tipping the Velvet was probably the first queer book I read and I love love love it. I recommend Fingersmith too (very different vibe/pace, still queer af), and the BBC adaptations!

    • Ooh, I’ll have to read that! I’m kind of new to queer literature and am always looking for suggestions! “Annie on my Mind” was the first queer book I read and it definitely gave me the feels!

      Hope you feel better! :(

  36. Had a nightmare that I got sent back to high school and had to start all my education all over again. I was angry, so implacably angry.
    Foster pup ate big fucking chunk out of one of my favourite shirts, it was soaking in a bucket next to a running machine so I didn’t catch her in time.
    While sure I can get another tie dyed shirt that isn’t the thing that made it important to me aside from good memories. It was the way it fit, the way it was just right thickness that is so hard for me to find as a centerless person with undergarments of indiscreet colours

    Oh and the keyboard holdy thing on my desk broke just detached on it’s own and sent the keyboad flying, which smacked me on the ass. I should be grateful I was walking away from my desk when this happened rather than sitting at and getting cut my the runner or screw bits.

    I don’t leave the things I love, they leave me or I have to extract them from myself because they’re hurting me and my sense of self preservation is stronger than anything else I’ve got. If there’s an apocalyptic event that leaves survivors I will likely be among their number.
    I’m terrible at being a Real Adult and social skill stuff but fucked up things I come through like a champ. It’s my best stupid human trick.

    My nightmare is rooted in real fears.
    Fears of going back into survivor mode, of being a living ball of anger waiting and begging to lash out at something or someone and being seen as a non person no matter how much I try to be person, of losing my meager Real Adult progress, of being stuck and not getting any farther in my life.
    Life is not suppose to be stagnant and go backwards it’s suppose to change and move forwards.

    Arabisation makes me sad not because I’m a phobe but because it’s wiping out beautiful unique ways various peoples practiced and celebrated their faith. Diversity is one of the most beautiful things about humanity and a evolutionary strength. Our ability to think and view things from more than one perspective gives us a power bone crush jaws and flesh rending claws could never.
    Also that sock style mass produced hijab is duller than a river stone compared to some of the local styles its supplanting and less suited to some climates.

    • Do you mean those that look like this?

      Mass-produced hijabs are really common in Malaysia and Singapore, particularly the former where covering your head is more strictly enforced (yet policing Islamic modesty is a patchy business, so it’s also quite common to see women in short-sleeve t-shirts wearing hijabs/tudungs). It’s the opposite that’s happening here: women are taking on more and more complicated hijab/tudung styles, often mimicking fashion trends elsewhere, which is not in itself an issue (women of all stripes do this obvs) but the tudung increasingly serves as a class marker — so e.g. there are differences in Singapore in how people perceive the femininity and womanhood of someone wearing the mass-produced hijab, who is likely to be a migrant domestic worker (or Malaysian), versus someone shopping from the Uniqlo x Hana Tajima range, who is likely to be a young, educated urbanite.

      • That is much prettier than what I’m thinking of but still much plainer than what its replacing in than the countries my mind is stuck on. Some of the ones I’m thinking of had really elaborate wedding wear that persisted even after years of Soviet occupation only now to be replaced by Arabisation.

        I’m pretty unfamiliar with Malaysia but kinda familiar with some of the fashion and class in American muslimah style so I can see a bit a parallel.
        The modern world is hard on my poor 15th century fashion brain sometimes, but class markers always exist in fashion.

  37. Well, for me, very soon I’ll be in the situation of having to say goodbye to my friends and family because in the spring (hopefully) I’ll be going to Old Dominion University after struggling in obscurity at a community college. It’ll be the first time I’ll be away from my family and on my own and after driving to my cousin’s house in Norfolk for the Fourth of July, it kind of dawned on me how far away it was. I’m eager to be my own but I’m also kind of nervous about making that leap. :/

    • Best of luck! I was super nervous about leaving everything half a world away when I went to London for uni but it turned out I reaaaaally loved being on my own, so I hope it goes well for you too.

  38. I’ll miss your words here, thank you for everything. Good luck and I hope we are all lucky enough to hear from you again some day.

  39. Fikri! I will miss your writing and your awesome hair! I wish you nothing but the best in all your future endeavors. You’ll be awesome.

  40. Hi wonderful people! I’m feeling pretty down about being genderqueer today. I’m sick of being misgendered and not taken seriously. I’m tired, angry and sad. Work has also been exhausting this week, so that’s a thing.

    If you want to comment with cute animal gifs/videos of support, I will be very grateful. :)

    • Awwww….*cuddles from my cat*…

      I’m sorry, imgur and my phone are not on speaking terms at the moment, but just imagine an incredibly fluffy dark tiny tiger with a feathery ~ soft tail coming to bring you love and acceptance.

      I hope you have a much better week coming up, and that you will feel supported and refreshed.


      • These gifs made me giggle. Definitely what I needed!

        Also, thank you for your contributions to AS (outside of these 3 great gifs!). You’ll be missed!

      • Oh my gosh. Those baby leopard cubs made me feel so warm and fuzzy. They bought tears to my eyes.

  41. YOU GUYS. It is Friday, I had a good 3 mile run after work and IDK what to post on here!!!

    I hope everyone is doing GRRRRRRREAT!! (like the way Tony the Tiger would say it) I’m doing okay, pretty tired but ‘there ain’t no rest for the wicked’ because I still have to work all the way to Sunday!!! I can’t wait for Monday because I get to do a Metal earth that I can probably share next week. They are having so many new releases!!

    I hate having to leave places and people i love behind. I try to tell myself I will return but sometimes I remember how long that takes and then I haz a sad. I cry it out until I can’t but I still do until I really really can’t. It’s so hard to say goodbye to things, places and especially people that we hold near and dear to our little queer hearts.

    I AM FINALLY ON THE FINAL BOOK OF GAME OF THRONES OMG. I am really trying to get through this without losing my head and getting confused. LOL. It takes so much imagination. And all the characters! People who watch the series at work have been threatening me with spoilers but I told them that when the next book comes out before the next season I’ll have all the spoilers. MUWAHAHAHA.

    Guys, why does Andy McFlufferson have to grow up so fast. =,( It doesn’t seem that long ago that Andy was this tiny thing who didn’t know how to selfie. And now, he’s stealing the fried chicken!! HALP what should we do so he will stop stealing food from the table and counters? He’s even tearing open the bag of bread when people aren’t there? -.-

    I went to little Tokyo near downtown LA a few days ago and found this PUSHEEN!!!!!! My nieces are saying it’s a Pusheenicorn?? Also they’re now addicted to everything Pusheen thanks to yours truly. As you can see Pusheen and I agree on equal rights! =)

    • I have the same Pusheen! My girlfriend got it for me after I well, hinted very strongly that I would like it in my life. My usually super docile, timid cat has recently taken to stealing food from the kitchen too (probably because we just put him on a diet) but I have no idea how to get him to stop, so I’m gonna wait for other answers to that question.

    • RE: The cat stealing food from the counter – Have you tried lining the area with tin foil? I can’t remember where I read it, but I tried it with one of my cats. He hated the feeling of tin foil or something, I’m not quite sure how to explain. But he would jump into areas he wasn’t suppose to. I lined said areas with tin foil and he would jump and then proceed to freak the fuck out, much to my amusement. He then stopped.

  42. hello merino angora sweaters of my heart,

    (do vegans wear angora? even ethical angora? did you know folks in nz have possum yarn and it’s very soft?)

    I have to leave a job soon, which I don’t feel super sad about, but we had a “this isn’t working, is it” conversation today, and so how this is going to go exactly is unclear but the end result = I will be leaving that job before they decide to ask me to leave.

    but in terms of leaving the thing you love, I am sort of bad at that thing. I tend to read a lot of poetry, like there is a marty mcconnell poem about breakups and imagine the woman you are a year from now etc. I sometimes do stuff like get tattooes or write a letter to the apartment that I loved, but ultimately I try to integrate threads of the past into the newest thing, which can be complex, but it feels important.

    • As a vegetarian-for-environmental-reasons I go back and forth on wearing animal products: on one hand, the clothing industry is just as fucked up as the food one when it comes to handling animals and their byproducts; on the other, pleather never decomposes. Ideally you’d go for secondhand stuff? I am no longer in a place where it makes sense to wear anything made from animal skin/fur though (since warmth is the main benefit) so from now on it’s just sweatshop-produced cotton for me. Idk everything is fucked up and I am now just so cynical of consumerism-based activism.

    • Possum like Opossum?! Like the giant rat-looking animal?? I can’t even deal with this idea.

  43. i am dealing with figuring out a process to come out at work as trans and starting transition.

    i have a meeting with the big boss and i work with children so they said i need to consider how families will take this.

    my head hurts and my heart hurts.

    i think i should finish off the year, ask for 3 – 6 months off if they will give it to me and come back as a casual if i have to under a different name without having to explain the transgender stuff to families. (but disclosing to staff)

    idk if they will hold my job open.

    it is the first time i’ve had a permanent position and i am not dealing very well with this but i am at a tipping point where not starting hormone therapy is really, really making daily life a ridiculous struggle.

    • Working with kids is hard, mostly because of the fear of parental reaction to queerness. Such a shame your boss is unsupportive. Mine sort of doesn’t see a problem with me being gay, not sure how they’d be if I was trans (for a while they tried to get me to be less butch and then they gave up) but it’s a bit don’t ask don’t tell even though we have a policy on the wall saying we accept no discrimination. I hope they keep your job for you or that you find one with a better support network for you if working with kids is what you love.

  44. Fikri! Oh my gosh. I can’t believe the time has come. I’m so sad and sorry to see you go, you are one of Autostraddle’s best. Will you be able to keep in touch in the comments and still be a site member? I will miss your intelligent, thorough, right-on articles which always teach me so much. And your hair. I will miss your hair a lot.

    Selamat Hari Raya! I hope I got that right :) And so much love and luck for you for the next exciting phase of your awesome life. xxxxxxx

    • Thank you, and I’m really glad I got to meet you in NYC! All the best to you too. <3

    • Yo I’ve missed you since whatever camp it was we met at (4.0?). I hope (know!) you’ll continue to be awesome.

  45. Hello Fikri, Eid Mubarak and كل عام وأنت بالف بخير (may you be well every year x1000)! I’m so sad you’re leaving. I don’t normally post in the thread, but I saw the Eid Mubarak and got so excited, then saw the goodbye and got so sad :(

    Eid’s been a blast. I’ve had…a million reminders of my lack of husband. I was sick, threw up all over the place on Friday after Eid salah, possibly a negative reaction to all the proposals. My hair has been very well accepted as “oh there goes Al again”, and my aunt told me to never get married and she has 9 kids and is married to a sheik so I’m guessing she knows what’s up.

    I got presents, ate lots of sweets and cake, made so many people tea and coffee but it was overall a better Eid with lots of grandma hugs. I don’t know it you’re family does this, but we have presents for the kids and presents for the married folks. I got a present for the married folks. It was strange, a sign that I’m getting old by my family’s standards, but a sign they’re accepting my independence.

    I’ve been travelling and moving countries since I was 13, and the only way I got over leaving those I loved is having a good cry and actually never really getting over it. I don’t think I ever have, I just look at them as part of a puzzle that made me and one I’ll eventually reunite by being my awesome badass self as influenced by their love.

    I’m going to miss seeing your posts. If you ever want to talk about the homogenisation of Islamic discourse, I’m your person!

    • Can I vote for you writing a post about the homogenisation of Islamic discourse?

      I’ve been proof-reading some entries my aunt has been writing for an Encyclopedia of Islam, which has been really interesting. The most recent one has been about Qurratulain Hyder, and again I was struck by the plurality and diversity of past Islamic experience.

      Glad to hear you’ve been having a great Eid – thanks for sharing!

    • Happy Eid to you too! I like how the two categories are “kids” and “married people.” We don’t do gifts, but working adults give kids and retired adults token amounts of money in green packets when we go round visiting. It’s my last year getting $$ since I start work soon, but already I get less because I’m 23 and it’s weird in my family to have studied for so long. But yeah, SO MANY “what’s next, getting married?” “do you have a boyfriend yet?” “no need to study so hard anymore lah just get married” comments. I didn’t really get this when I was in school but now that I’m not, I’m apparently fair game.

      • The boys/MAABs are responsible for gifts once they start earning, the ladies/FAABs are another game. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Eid despite the questions and pressures. Spend your Eid cash wisely!

  46. Um, Im not sure where the right time and place is, but I’d actually love to read something about the homegenisation of global Islamic discourse. Anything educational or informative regarding Islam is not something Im used to seeing in my usual reading. My knowledge level is woeful, given the statistic of 1 in 4, and I’d like to understand more about it, especially if that information is coming from someone who also has a queer or feminist viewpoint.

    We’ll miss you, good luck with your future writing and adventures. :)

  47. Lol. Celebrating eid is surprisingly very familiar between us, sporeans n msians. I dont know why im surprised dont ask. From d who finished d honey cornflakes to d typical dramas on tv. Selamat Hari Raya!

    • Selamat Hari Raya! Ha yes it’s unsurprising, though Raya is (also unsurprisingly) a lot more intense in Malaysia. Here it’s just a small bubble of us dressing up and going around while the rest of Singapore enjoys their long weekend, most not even knowing what “selamat Hari Raya” means (a non-Muslim person on the radio translated it as “happy new year” I wanted to stab someone).

      Honey cornflakes tho amirite

  48. Fikri! I will miss you and your articles! I’m working on dealing with moving away from chosen and given family too. I just graduated in May, and in June moved to Cusco, Peru sort of randomly to get my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate (and I just got it!). I am staying to hike and work, and won’t be moving back to the States for the foreseeable future.

    Skype helps a lot, and I also FB message my friends whenever I can. I try to get out of the “immediate future” tunnel vision- and realize that my friends and I have whole lifetimes to live. We will see each other again eventually. No rush. FB is a blessing for making and keeping friends from all over the world :)

    Best of luck! And with AS, you’ve got a loving community forever!

    • Oh wow, that sounds amazing! Congrats on getting your cert and all the best with your new home.

  49. Hello I am about to see Idina Menzel in concert and I am going to cry so hard because Maureen Johnson is the first woman I ever saw kiss another woman and it broke my whole world open. I needed to share this with someone and I picked y’all. Gonna go freak out now. Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

    • I saw her in concert about 5 years ago! You’re going to have a great time!

      (It was funny because it was shortly after she had her guest appearance on Glee and so she grudgingly sang “Pokerface” which she sang on the show and in the middle she turned to the LA Phil who was backing her and she was like “I’m so sorry, half of you probably went to Juilliard and here you are playing Lady Gaga.”)

      • I cried SO hard, she was sick and you could tell she wasn’t feeling well and she was still better than like every other singer ever.

  50. Goodbye Fikri! I will really miss your posts and the perspective that you bring to this website.
    We don’t have a lot in common but as a non-US person and someone who moves around the world a lot and lives in counties that aren’t my own, your posts always contain a really satisfying mix of things I relate to and things that open my thoughts.

    I clicked the link and reread your description of your situation with the overlords, and one thing that struck me is that if that overlord you met with says that loads of people come back from abroad and mention things like gay rights. .. Even if on an institutional level and a senior level they are homophobic (or scared not to be perceived as so) you will have loads of colleagues who are more minded personally. All these people who say that to her must be lurking somewhere!
    Not sure if you already thought of that… but anyway something to take heart in when the going gets tough. You are not alone.

    much love and luck

    • Ps. Editors, I enjoy reading about queer perspectives of Islam. Please find more awesome people to cover this now Fikri is gone.
      Not being Muslim myself I generally don’t comment on articles so as not to take up space that is not mine but I’m very interested in reading about it after travelling extensively through predominantly Muslim countries.

    • Those “liberal” colleagues become people like her, unfortunately, material incentives and conservative (“pragmatic,” they call it, given the homophobia of the Singaporean populace as a whole) workplace cultures do that to even the best of people. That’s the story she was telling: that she used to be like us and now she isn’t, and we won’t be either. I believe her. I mean, I could come out of all this significantly to the right of where I am now… or so fcking radical I’d be ready to burn down everything.

      But anyway, thank you! I too strongly value non-USian perspectives on queer issues/culture (obviously) so if you know anyone who might want to write for Autostraddle — including you! — tell them to submit something. You never know!

  51. Hey Fikri! I already treasure your Autostraddle contributions (since they are not only give a non-‘Western pov but also a Singaporean Malay(ish) Muslim queer pov, which I’m not gonna find in many other places lbr), but will cherish them even more now I know there won’t be any more of them :/ All the best for work with the Overlords!

    I’m back in Singapore for the next 2 months and Hari Raya’s been ok – my immediate family doesn’t make a big deal of it and I’m not close to my extended family, which makes visiting slightly awkward but simplifies matters in terms of not having to worry about what they think of my Lifestyle, since they don’t have to know much about it. Good to hear your family’s being not horrible though!

    I still have a year of uni left so I haven’t had to say many long term goodbyes yet, mainly I’m readjusting to the temporarily reduced privacy and independence that comes with living at home over the summer. It’s proving harder than this time last year and I’m finding myself missing London more than I did when I came home last summer (I’d had an exhaustingly busy summer and had had enough of white Britishness to feel perfectly happy to come back, whereas this year I’m spending 2.5 months back home and I urgently need to find a holiday job that will get me out of the house and away from my family for most of the day.) It’s odd because previously I’ve dealt pretty well with leaving one place for another, but I think that’s because I accepted everything as just part of life without questioning anything much. Which may have made it easier to adjust but is probably not the most enlightened way to live, but idk?

  52. I found a cat in baju melayu for you.

    credit goes to some guy with a cat in Brunei.

    Selamat Hari Raya from Malaysia. Easy on the rendang. :)

    • Yaaaaass THANK YOU

      Confession no. 2: this open thread was actually written in advance of Friday (esp given the time difference), and then Raya rolled around and suddenly everyone was posting photos of cats in bajus on Twitter/FB but I was too lazy to edit it

      Confession no. 3: I don’t eat rendang (am vegetarian) but I think I will be okay if I never eat lodeh every again

      Selamat Hari Raya to you too!

  53. Hello Queer Internet chat!

    My last visit to queer internet chat was in 2001. If i’m lying about my age? Mmm? i was 7 and had just graduated from high school. It was back in the days of dial up, a time when i was still patient. Today i’m on queer internet chat to make new friends and pass the time. Autostraddle seems like a smart choice. My girlfriend is absolutely obsessed with the site.

    this is Jane

    We participate in the administration of a Facebook group dedicated to Autostraddle local meet ups. Last month this site published a photo of me oil wrestling in my underwear. I’ve  shown you mine Autostraddle, now you show me yours.

    a picture from my wrestling career

    Speaking of losing people…it’s rough. I work nights and weekends as a dispatcher. I work with my roommate and we love hanging out.

    this is Jane and i with the BEST ROOMMATE EVER!

    My girlfriend is fantastic about being flexible and making time but it’s still rough. I usually see my parents each week. I live with the berd. James William Buffett lll.

    a family photo

    Otherwise it feels like i’ve almost lost everyone else and everyone else is just a short car ride away. Timing really is everything. I deal by creating a routine. I’m training in Brazilian jiu jitsu. i get to learn how to do this,

    a picture from fight club

    I originally started Brazilian jiu jitsu to improve my oil wrestling game at the Los Angeles Lezlympic games.

    the team at the games

    Now i actually prefer grappling jiu jitsu to exclusively wrestling underdressed lesbians. I know, the things you think you’ll never say – until you become a grappler. I’m still more often the ass kick-ee than the ass kicker but i would like to advance and belt and tournament.

    the belt i want

    My only other exciting news is writing my first ever Friday Open Thread entry! YAY! until next time queer internet chat!

    • Damn it honey this is like such a good FOT post it’s ridiculous. Are you sure this is your first time??

      Anyway I like all of your pictures, very good post do not be sad about people/we should each work on making time for all the people we love, A+++ love you bye

      • I studied from the best *snort laugh* i hope that doesn’t come off as too stalkery. I would hate to portray myself as stalker-esque. Because I’m totally NOT! oh babe! I was thinking about what our song should be again and i was thinking we could go with Every Breath You Take by the Police.

        • I feel weird commenting here and breaking up your insanely cute couple chatter, but I just want to let you know that everything about this is excellent.

          • YAY! 3rd wheel! Ride the chatter train! Trains have lot’s of wheels! A locomotive usually has 8 to 12 wheels and the caboose usually has 4 to 8 wheels. Jane’s caboose is off the rails! ;)

    • Can this be a recurring series instead of a one-off please?

      The Jane and Holly show – I am already lining up to subscribe.

  54. I am going to miss your words and face so much, Fikri! I feel like we were just beginning to get to know each other IRL and you are a fantastic person! I have this feeling you’re not gone forever, though, and that we’ll see each other in the future.

    Best of luck with your new job!

  55. Fikri, it was lovely to have you here, even if I wish it were for longer! good luck, good wishes, and if you ever need a very boring envelope with some very gay insides, pm me. You’re going to rock this!!

  56. NnnnnOOOOOOOOOO!

    Ahem, good luck and thank you for being you.
    All the love and all the light.

  57. i’m just now catching up on feedly but i just wanted to pop in and say that i love and miss you and that i’ve been pretending that we’re just taking breaks from nyc and that you’ll be in our apartment when i get back in a month.

Comments are closed.