[CN: Homophobia; Islamophobia; Ableism]My name is Аyman. I am Autistic; I am a Muslim, and a lesbian. While I am Russian by birth, I do not belong to Russian culture. I don’t understand it although many people suggest that it is my culture. My perception of culture is reflected in little things; in that sort of stuff that seems irrelevant at the first sight, but it very clearly defines me as a “foreigner.”
My differences are almost invisible from the outside. People are not aware of my sexual orientation. I do not look like the stereotypical “butch” or “femme” lesbians that people expect me to be, or the “masculine women” that people of my mother’s generation imagine when they hear the word “lesbian”.
I was born into a conservative Russian Orthodox family. I suffered from serious psychological problems because of religion, and initially I was afraid even to think about leaving Christianity. Transitioning to Islam has influenced my worldview more than the way I look, dress or speak. But I do not look like what people expect a typical Muslim to look like. I have light brown hair, light skin, and I speak with no accent. I do not act like a typical Muslim woman as the majority of people think she would. I listen to metal rock music. I talk a lot about politics and about human rights, and I wear European clothes most of the time.
My national identity is fairly American. I chose it myself, but at the same time, I didn’t.
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I don't have my own English-language platform, so it's very cool that Cas published it.