100 Women We Love: Class of 2017

Every June, GO compiles a select list of talented tastemakers, influencers and all-around inspirational women who are making their mark on the LGBT community and on the world at large.

Fawzia Mirza

Photo courtesy Fawzia Mirza

There are many facets of Fawzia Mirza’s identity—actor, producer, writer, storyteller, Muslim, Pakistani, queer, woman—but what she doesn’t want to be is “the model minority.” “My mission as an artist is to use comedy and art to break down stereotypes,” Mirza says. “I wasn’t always a writer—I started writing because I was tired of waiting to be cast and I was tired of waiting for other people to tell my story. I wanted to create the stories of my family and communities and my different identities.” Chicago-based Mirza co-wrote, produced and starred in “Signature Move,” a QWOC-themed feature film that premiered at South by Southwest this March, and will be at fests this summer. She’s also working on the adaptation of her one-woman play, “Me, My Mom & Sharmila,” with screenwriter Terrie Samundra. What all of Mirza’s work has in common is that it’s as multi-faceted as the star herself. “The idea of ‘coming out’ to me isn’t the same thing as it may mean to a lot of people,” she says. “Like I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol or wear a bathing suit growing up. I wasn’t allowed to go to prom or date boys or even hang out with boys so suddenly, according to Western standards, I was supposed to say, ‘Mom, by the way, I’m having sex with women!’ It took me a while to realize that because I identify as South Asian and Muslim and queer and a woman, that my intersectionality creates a much more complicated conversation about how you may end up talking to your family or your community about who you are. And that’s OK!” —TB

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