Samra Habib has spent most of their life searching for the safety to be themself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, they faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From their parents, they internalized the lesson that revealing their identity could put them in grave danger.
When their family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, their need for a safe space—in which to grow and nurture their creative, feminist spirit—became dire. The men in Samra’s life wanted to police them, the women in their life had only shown them the example of pious obedience, and their body was a problem to be solved.
So begins an exploration of faith, art, love, and queer sexuality, a journey that takes them to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within them all along. A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one’s truest self.