Pride 2021: Queer Muslim author Adiba Jaigirdar discusses her newest book

Adiba Jaigirdar has published a book about two queer Bangladeshi girls (Picture: Lia Carlotti)

It was an MTV show that inspired Adiba Jaigirdar to write her new book, Hani And Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating.

When watching the now-cancelled Faking It, a show in which two best friends pretend to be lesbians in an attempt to be popular, Adiba grew frustrated by the representation of queer characters on the show.

So she decided to reclaim the narrative.

‘I wanted to make this trope my own and claim it in a way that felt authentic to the queer experience,’ Adiba tells Metro.co.uk.

‘The book just came pouring out of me. I wrote it in three days with only one round of revision edits.’

That book tells the story of two queer Bangladeshi Muslim girls, who decide that fake dating will solve all their problems.

Adiba drew on her own life experience as a queer Bangladeshi Muslim woman to inform the story.

Like her characters, Adiba has been told that parts of her identity cancel out others and couldn’t exist in the same person.

‘It’s ridiculous but for most people, it comes from a place of ignorance. When you exist in a space only confirming your own biases, you just have stereotypes,’ she says. ‘I hope books like mine help expose people to different intersections.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating book cover

‘I didn’t know I could be queer, because growing up I only really saw white queer people.’

Only after reading Malina Lo’s book, Ash, and learning that the author is a lesbian, did Adiba realise LGBT+ people of colour existed.

‘Asian people can be queer,’ Adiba remembers thinking. ‘I didn’t know I could exist as I am.’

The author hopes that her book can fulfil that same task for other young LGBT+ people, showing them that they are valid.

She adds: ‘I really want my readers to have a good time. The book is a rom-com and it’s supposed to be fun and entertaining.

‘But I also want to reach queer Muslims, I want them to see a reflection of themselves, one that I didn’t have growing up.

‘And I want those who are different to me to celebrate my identity with me, because as a hijabi Muslim woman you are put in boxes both inside and outside of your community.’

In her book, one character comes out to her parents but the other doesn’t. Many people have claimed that the other character thus isn’t ‘really’ queer.

But Adiba has a simple response: ‘You only ever have to come out to yourself.’

‘There is a lot of gatekeeping when it comes to PoC experiences of queerness,’ the writer adds.

‘The way queer people of colour navigate queerness is different and sometimes that’s just not respected.’

You can buy Hani And Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating from Amazon and Waterstones.

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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