As a a Queer, Pakistani, Muslim womxn, Sanah Ahsan has at times internalised the shameful narratives imposed upon her by systemic societal hierarchies. Through her poetry, she has embarked on a transformative and expansive process of re-authoring her truth with her own voice. Inspired by bell hooks and Audre Lorde, Sanah shares how she continues to learn to meet herself with unconditional acceptance, her poetry becoming a loving protest against structures defined by institutional dehumanisation and profit. By sharing her words with us, Sanah encourages us all to speak to ourselves with a little bit more love. A trainee clinical psychologist, spoken word artist and poet, Sanah’s performance journey began with BBC Words First and since has taken her to the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. She won the Outspoken Prize 2019 in the Performance Poetry category for her piece “My Dua is Love”. Recently, she was a reporter on and presented “Young, British and Depressed,” a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary that aired in July 2019. Sanah works closely with the grassroots organisation Jawaab to help tackle Islamophobia, and her community work has involved collaborating with organisations such as Human Appeal and Childline. Currently, she is conducting research to deconstruct whiteness within clinical psychology, while developing community projects promoting further dialogue around queer and trans people of colour (QTPOC), young people’s mental health, and spaces for queer muslim womxn. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Sanah Ahsan

Spoken word poet, reporter and trainee clinical psychologist

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