Advocates for Pluralism, a community group of LGBT-identified Shia Ismaili Muslims, proudly marched as their own contingent following a history of active participation in other community groups like Khush, ASAAP, and Salaam. This is a groundbreaking event for the Ismaili Queer (IQ) community as it speaks to the mobilization of support within the larger queer and Muslim communities that will make visible its multiple generations of history on July 1st. The theme of their first ever float is “Love – Connecting Ismailis of Many Ancestries.”
There are Ismailis throughout the world with many different cultural roots—it’s a community comprised of South Asian, Middle Eastern/Persian, Central Asian, and East African influences. This plurality was reflected in the Pride attire and float decor.
IQ, more formally organized in 2008, is a support group for anyone who identifies with the Ismaili faith/community religiously, culturally, ideologically, and/or politically and also identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender, queer or questioning. The goals of this group have been to create visibility, advocate for LGBT inclusion and acceptance within the greater Ismaili and queer communities, and most importantly to provide a ‘safe space’ for Ismaili queers, regardless of their comfort with being “out” in the general public.
For Toronto Pride 2012, spectators cheered on the group in affirmative response to the strong messaging put out by the contingent, e.g. “Allah is my Ally” and “Marching for those who can’t”. If you would like more information about our group or the IQ contingent, please feel free to contact us. Official group photos attached; photo credit: Hamidah Hemani.