Non-binary writer and drag performer Amrou Al-Kadhi teamed up with BBC Ideas to release a short film that explores the gender spectrum through quantum physics. The filmmaker started reading quantum physics following an existential crisis when they were 25.
In this video, Al-Kadhi explains how studying the sect of physics helped them understand their gender identity, sexuality, and how to navigate being both Muslim and queer.
“For most of my life, my identity has felt fractured. I was raised Muslim, but my homosexuality and gender non-conformism caused conflict with my faith.”
Al-Kadhi looks at quantum physics and Newtonian physics as a metaphor for queer theory and heteronormativity:
“Quantum physics is a beautiful, strange and glorious sect of physics that looks at the subatomic particles that govern our world.”
For Al-Kadhi, the field “reveals that there is no fixed reality and it’s full of beautiful contradictions.”
“Quantum physics to Newtonian is to me what queer theory is to heteronormativity, i.e., looking for normative constructs of society – male, female, of gender, of race, categorising everything in a neat, rigid way.”
Al-Khadi commented on the sense of reassurance this sect of physics offers to queer people:
“I am very comforted by this as a queer person with no real fixed identity. It gives me immense hope that there’s this model of the world, this real physical, philosophical model which shows us that reality is just a set of contradictions with no real fixed foundation.”
“It is in this model of space-time as a series of entanglements that I’m able to piece together all of the fragmented sects of my identity – being able to identify as British and Iraqi, as queer and Muslim, as someone of many genders and potentially no genders at all.”
Al-Khadi’s first non-fiction memoir Unicorn will be published by 4th Estate Harper Collins next year.
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