Bre Campbell sat rail-straight in a red and gray flowing skirt, pushing her long red and brown dreadlocks off her neck. She’s 27, lives in Detroit and is a convert to Islam. She also identifies as transgender, male to female. Campbell talked about how it’s often hard to be transgender at a mosque, which segregates men and women.Crazy. Couldn't she have become a Buddhist? You certainly don't have to become Muslim to dress modestly. Talk about making her life even more difficult.
A few gossipy women at her place of worship have tried to figure her out. “Bre, you know, you shouldn’t pray at the mosque when you have your period, right?” she recalled some of them asking.
Yes, she would answer, she understands.
She didn’t want to tell them that she was transgender, partly because it was personal and partly because she realized they might ask to her to pray on the male side of the mosque.
“Not everybody is willing to have that conversation,” she said. “But I feel, God doesn’t make mistakes. I can be myself and keep my faith.”
She converted to Islam last year because she felt that the Baptist religion in which she was raised was anti-gay marriage and anti-gay in general.
“I would go to the church, looking for solace, and I would come back feeling even more hurt,” she said.
She realizes that some Muslims aren’t comfortable with gay and transgender people.
Sometimes, she said, she feels like she’s leading a double life. By day, she’s a well-known LGBTQ advocate, who counsels the African-American gay community about HIV testing at Wayne State University.
But at the mosque, she at times feels “forced back into the closet.”
Still, she liked that Islam focused more on God and that she could cover her hair and wear modest clothes and not be ogled for being different.
“I could just be a human being,” she said. “I could just be Bre.”
Read the whole Washington Post article.