In July 2011, at 64 years old, Ifti Nasim, an openly gay Muslim Pakistani poet, human rights activist and Chicago radio host (even a luxury-car salesman), passed away. His death attracted about 1,000 people to the Muslim Community Center on Elston Avenue in Chicago to pay their respects.
Nasim broached the topic of homosexuality in religion and conservative culture. He wrote, "Narman," the first believed book in Urdu that centered on gay storylines. He immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1971. In an interview with Chicago radio station, WBEZ, Nasim said, "In Islamic society, gays have no place... America sold the gay culture to me back home. They're living happily ever after in America. That's my place, I've got to go to America. I was sold. Completely sold."
Nasim's time in Chicago was spent advocating for civil rights and shedding light on being gay and Muslim. He founded the group SANGAT/Chicago, a South Asian LGBT organization and was honored in 1996 by being inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for "his courage as an international ambassador of tolerance."
Each day in October, which is LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring a different LGBT icon. Check back tomorrow for a look at another incredible individual who changed history and visit our LGBT History Month Big News Page for more stories.