Today I am so excited to welcome Zainab, a Queer Muslim Bengali bookstagrammer & book blogger, who also is one of my best friends!! In this post Zainab talks about ‘Discovering One’s Queerness While Living in the Reality of Having Little To No Queer BIPOC Representation in Mass Media.’
But, before I share with you what Zainab has written for us today, I want to take a moment to spotlight the amazing work that Zainab has done as a bookstagrammer and book blogger. If you haven’t met Zainab before today, then I am excited for you to see the wonderful work that she does!!
Zainab’s Bookstagram, Blog and Twitter 💗
Let’s start with Zainab’s bookstagram. I love her bookstagram so much because it has so many great recommendations, especially amazing recommendations of BIPOC books, so be sure to follow her!!
Also, Zainab’s twitter is a mix of stanning BTS, things about her WIPs, and books!! Goals, honestly
Zainab Discusses ‘Discovering One’s Queerness While Living in the Reality of Having Little To No Queer BIPOC Representation in Mass Media.’
Hello, hi I’m Zainab and I absolutely have no idea where to begin this discussion from, so let’s start with me. I recently realised how I might not be as straight as I thought myself to be, during the pandemic to be exact (thank you Tiktok), while the whole world was busy making dalgona coffee, I was busy questioning my sexuality. I honestly think the hardest part was, realising and accepting that I’m not society’s “default setting”, which is what I thought of myself to be for 17 years of my life. Different people have different experiences with their coming out, and for me coming out to myself, and labelling myself gave me anxiety. I quite literally, don’t fit into any of those labels, I’m not bisexual or aroace— I’m somewhere between, and that’s when I found comfort in the term queer.
Even though I quite literally showed no signs of straightness (which I realise now) I was too oblivious of my own self. From having a crush on a senior (I went to an all girl’s school) to being jealous of Beck from victorious, to making a Gigi Hadid fan page at one point. Now looking back, it makes me wonder if everyone around me already knew.
The main reason for why I never thought of myself to be queer, was because of how LGBTQIA+ characters were shown in media, and how I never quite felt seen through them. The quirky gay side character, or the man hating Lesbian friend, I am not any of those (even though I’m not that big fan of men). But when I first read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo *spoiler alert* and Loveless, I felt like I understood what the characters went through, their struggles and questions about their own sexuality made sense to me. This makes me wonder, how we have little to no representation, especially diverse queer representation in mass media.
The media has hand picked certain “safe” stereotyped representations and never goes beyond it. But the reality is almost none of us really fit into that box (maybe some do and that is good for them). But now as I read, review and talk about more books with queer BIPOC characters, and diverse characters, like Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating , Ophelia After All and so on, I feel like we are getting to the point where one day, perhaps, no one will struggle to find a fictional character equivalent to them.
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Thank you so much Zainab, for visiting Misty Realms and having this discussion with us!! We love and appreciate you so much 💗 HAPPY PRIDE 🏳️🌈