Narrator Ian McKellen
Link to Original Streaming : Channel 4 Link
I have the tendency of liking documentaries that inspire change, that raise awareness on some social issues and that give voice to minorities. It is not easy to find tv products who can satisfy all the three points mentioned, but Muslim Drag Queens succeeds in doing that and in introducing us to a scene almost impossible to believe it exists.
its hard to be Muslim and gay…
The documentary centers around LGBT activist Asif Quraishi, londoner, who is first out and proud Muslim drag queen who performs under the classy and shiny alter ego, Asifa Lahore. The documentary starts by taking us in her room filled of clothes and wigs. In her princess’s world, Asifa, is constantly receiving anonyms death threats by e-mail from other Muslims who despise her lifestyle.
Asifa is a proud person who has totally embraced her identity; in her racy and provokative numbers she often blends cultures by wearing burkas who she later peels off.
Her performances are made for a very niche public who is often afraid to come out. The so called gaysian community is very hidden, but is thriving as Asif points out in the interviews. And it’s just this community that Asifa her activism is trying with to reach and shake, still with no much results. Fear in fact is still ruling and also a city like London is not immune from the plague called homophobia also inherent the Muslim world.
Zareena Khan is looking for love – Muslim Drag Queens
The feature also recounts of other people that surround Asifa, her family, friends and fellows Muslims Drags. Zareena (Imran when not in drag) in particular is an interesting character, always changing her looks with style and searching for love on apps.
…They weren’t allowed to be gay and they feel like this (his drag persona) is a woman but it’s a man, so if we go with this person we’re still straight.’ – (Zareena on Muslim men hitting on her online profile)
Asifa started a movement in order to fight homophobia, she desperately needed the support of the gaysian community who still lives in fear and shame, impossible to take out in the streets. Eventually her charisma is deeply touching and influencing the life of Ibrahim, a young Mauritian man who, enpowered by Asifa’s courage will start aswell performing in drag.
Asifa won the Attitude Pride Award for her achievements and for her courage. I appreciated how the documentary, narrated by Ian McKellan. did not indulged on the terror part of the death threats but instead focused on Asif’s daily life, art, beliefs and showing the support she gets from people, friends and fellows drags.
This is a documentary made for TV so don’t expect too much in depth analysis, but it is well filmed and it succeeds into telling real people stories, capturing their passions and dreams. This is a documentary on people that happen to be transexuals and not about sex after is finished you’ll feel that what’s next i wanna know more taste in your mouth.