The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Cultural Arts & Education Department Presents:


A conversation with Ani Zonneveld and Ipek İpekçioğlu
Moderated by Naveed Merchant

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre
September 24, 2012


LOS ANGELES, CA. September 18, 2012— The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, proudly presents the next event in the Center’s ongoing series of free public discussions, Big Queer Convo. Cultures in Collision: Islam & Homosexuality will feature a discussion with Ani Zonneveld (songwriter, producer, activist) and Ipek İpekçioğlu (world-renowned Turkish/German lesbian DJ), moderated by Naveed Merchant (activist). Merchant will guide İpekçioğlu and Zonneveld in a discussion that will examine the seldom-discussed topic of discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Muslims, from both a U.S.-based and a worldwide perspective. Cultures in Collision: Islam & Homosexuality will also include a live musical performance by Zonneveld, and İpekçioğlu will DJ during the post-event reception. This hard-hitting event will take place at the Center’s Renberg Theatre on Monday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m.

Zonneveld is co-founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), an inclusive community organization rooted in the traditional Qur’anic ideals of human dignity and social justice. She is a straight ally of the LGBT community who works tirelessly in advocating for women and LGBT people within the Islamic faith. She is an award-winning songwriter/producer, and post 9-11 has written Islamic-themed music in English from pop to classical hymns. She also conducts Islamic wedding services for mixed-faith and same-sex couples.

As a first-generation Turkish/German lesbian, İpekçioğlu started life as a woman in an extremely patriarchal world. This humble beginning inspired her to pursue a degree in social work in hopes of changing the constructs of the world in which she fought to survive.

Then one day, fate dropped a life-changing opportunity in her lap—that of entering the music business—and within a very short time, she decided she was capable of inspiring more change as a world-renowned DJ who is both Muslim and a lesbian. Her new career gave her the ability to travel all over the world and share her ideals in her own unique voice.

Moderator Naveed Merchant, raised in the Bhora Shi’a tradition of Islam, is a native of Los Angeles and is of Pakistani heritage. He has traveled throughout the Middle East to educate himself about his faith and develop ways of combating LGBT discrimination at home.

Merchant co-founded and served on the board of the South Asian LGBTIQ Community Organization, SATRANG, and worked as a key member of the International LGBT Organization working to advocate and educate the U.S. about the plight of LGBT Muslims, Al-Fatiha. Merchant appeared in the documentary In the Name of Allah and has given numerous national and international interviews advocating for the acceptance of LGBT Muslims. For more information, visit 

WHAT: Biq Queer Convo: Cultures in Collision—Islam and Homosexuality
A conversation with:
Ani Zonneveld, co-founder: Muslims for Progressive Values
and Ipek İpekçioğlu: International Muslim/lesbian DJ
Moderator: Naveed Merchant (activist)

WHERE: L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theatre (200-seat mid-size theatre)

The Village at Ed Gould Plaza

1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood

(one block east of Highland, just north of Santa Monica Blvd. Free parking) 

WHEN: Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, at 8 p.m.

TICKETS: Admission: FREE
More information at


About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center provides a broad array of services for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, welcoming nearly a quarter-million client visits from ethnically diverse youth and adults each year. Through its Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic and on-site pharmacy, the Center offers free and low-cost health, mental health, HIV/AIDS medical care and HIV/STD testing and prevention. The Center also offers legal, social, cultural and educational services, with unique programs for seniors, families and youth, including a 24-bed transitional living program for homeless youth. Information about the Gay & Lesbian Center is available on the Web at