Queer Muslim Sex Worker is a groundbreaking podcast documentary about the real life of a young, genderfluid Londoner.
Through a series of interviews across a year of Maryam’s life, the podcast tells her real story as she speaks candidly about her gender, sexuality, Muslim identity, and demonstrates on-air how she interacts with clients via online messaging for sex work.
Maryam (not her real name) is from London, of Pakistani heritage and is highly involved in her local mosque.
Through the 42-minute podcast, listeners will follow Maryam’s incredible true story as she navigates her identities, meets new clients, and comes out as queer.
The podcast looks at how Maryam’s identities intersect and shape who she is, while letting Maryam tell her story in her own words.
“I’m from an immigrant, Pakistani, Muslim family. I am a queer, gender fluid sex worker who’s currently in a relationship with a woman and I am very involved with my mosque life,” Maryam says in the podcast.
“I will think sometimes, this is f***ing insane – half an hour ago I was scissoring my girlfriend, and the next minute I’m at the mosque translating a religious sermon against gay marriage.”
An independently-funded project, the podcast is produced and presented by journalist Amy Ashenden (formerly LGBTQ Correspondent at the Evening Standard, now Senior Video Reporter at the Mirror Online), who produced the viral documentary The Gay Word in 2015.
Producer and presenter Amy Ashenden said: “This podcast tells such a unique story, I’m really excited for its release.
“The interviews took place across a year so you’ll see how much Maryam’s life and identity change over the course of the documentary.
“Maryam’s story is extraordinary but it’s also her real, everyday life, and she tells it so candidly and articulately in a way I’ve never come across before. I hope people can learn a lot from her story and that it will make listeners rethink what it means to be queer or Muslim.
“I was very careful to ensure the documentary took an intersectional approach and that Maryam was telling her story in her own words and not misrepresented. I wanted to avoid simplifying the narrative or putting her into boxes, as that would erase the fascinating intersections of her identity. Retaining Maryam’s anonymity was also really important.”
Many thanks to Amy Ashenden for this post!