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!
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.”
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:
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3. Go forth and jam.