A gay Muslim female character featured on newly launched U.S. TV series The Bold Type has sparked social media controversy with thousands labeling it as "offensive" to Islam.
According to The New Arab, the hijab-wearing lesbian character is played by Canadian-Iranian actress Nikohl Boosheri.
The drama, which began airing last month, follows three young women living and working in New York city and is reportedly based on the life of a former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan.
While many attacked the character on social media, others thought it was progressive, bold and barrier-breaking.
Boosheri's character has been called "bold" and "barrier-breaking"
But, not everyone thinks it is...
As soon as news of the show's portrayal of a queer Muslim began to make the rounds online, intense backlash followed.
Some thought the portrayal was "disrespectful"
Others seemed to be in denial
"She's not to be called a Muslim"
The backlash was heavy
But not everyone attacked the portrayal
Even though many of the comments were harsh and unaccepting, others, including many from Muslim tweeps, reflected more positive feelings towards the show's portrayal of a Muslim queer character.
People also noted that she is represented as a talented, successful and strong individual.
This is certainly not the first time Muslims stand up for the LGBTQ community. In recent years, several Muslim politicians, activists, and journalists have been vocal in their support of it.
"I love seeing a strong, queer Muslim woman like Adena on television"
Some made this point
"If you don't agree with the show then don't watch it"
To many queer Muslims the show comes as a breath of fresh air
In an interview with The Cut, 8 queer Muslims spoke out about the show and explained how it felt to finally be represented in a television drama.
One of those interviewed, Nor, a 21-year-old pansexual said:
"It was very nice to be represented. Especially the fact that she’s a successful Muslim woman who wears a hijab, and that she’s out and proud, of course. I want people to know that Muslim women who are LGBTQ exist and that we can be religious too at the same time."
Yara, a 16-year-old pansexual also explained how important the character is to her.
"Positive LGBT+ representation in general — on shows like Orphan Black and Sense8, and a YouTuber as well called Miles McKenna — helped me figure stuff out [about myself], so with the character being Muslim, it was amazing. I love that when Kat first tried to interview her and asked if she was scared to say that she’s a lesbian, she replied that she has a 'Proud Muslim lesbian' in her Twitter bio. Truly iconic because I’ve never seen a positive Muslim LBGT representation on TV at all before."
The interviews highlighted the difficulties that those who belong to the Muslim LGBT community face amid backlash they often receive.
They also shed light on how important it is for them to see themselves represented in powerful and empowering media roles that can help challenge people's flawed perceptions on the issue.