Mohammad Mohammad Defies Odds with Election Victory

With his recent victory, Mohammad Mohammad has become the first openly gay, transgender, Jewish convert of Muslim descent, with the same first and last name, to be elected governor of Arkansas. As a prior resident of Moscow, Arkansas, Mohammad now also holds the title of coming from the smallest town of any Arkansas governor.

With his long list of firsts, Mohammad joins the long list of other noteworthy firsts in recently elected officials. One noteworthy candidate, Sharice Davids, was the first lesbian Native American woman to be elected into congress in Kansas. This inspirational accomplishment shows the ability of everybody, regardless of gender or heritage, to accomplish anything that they set their mind to. Additionally, Jared Polis has become the first openly gay governor in U.S. history. The Colorado elect has broken down barriers for the LGBT community with his recent victory. With his strong advocacy for universal healthcare and strict gun-laws, he should be able to create a much more welcoming and inclusive environment in the state of Colorado.

 In response to critics calling his list of firsts “worthless” and “excessive,” Mohammad has made a public statement about what his victory means to him. 

“It has come to my attention that many people do not feel that my groundbreaking achievements are noteworthy. For a Muslim woman, undergoing hormone replacement therapy, changing her name to one that is more masculine and converting to Judaism are massive undertakings that, in my experience, have been met with fierce opposition.” Mohammad was disowned by his family after coming out as openly transgender. He cites gender stereotypes as his primary reason for the change and now feels much more comfortable in his own shoes. Following his decision to undergo hormone replacement therapy, Mohammad changed his name from Aziza- a name that in Arabic means “powerful and bold”- to his current name that honors the prophet Mohammad, upon whose teachings his religion at the time was founded. Despite the gender change, Mohammad continues to be attracted to men, as that was the only aspect of his previous gender role that he was able to identify with. 

Following his transition, Mohammad has converted to the religion of Judaism as he felt that the Muslim faith, and his parents in particular, were too judgmental of his choices regarding gender and sexual orientation. He has yet to change his name to fit his new faith but plans to do so while in office. This decision will add yet another first to his already extensive list as he will become the first governor to legally change his name based on his religious beliefs while in office.

In addition to his struggles with his gender identity and his religious views, Mohammad cites having the same first and last name as one of his greatest obstacles to overcome. “People just don’t understand the difficulty that comes with having the same first and last name,” Mohammad stated in a recent interview with the Jefferson County Post. Mohammad has been ridiculed about his name ever since legally changing it in 2014. “It creates unnecessary confusion in many of my conversations,” added Mohammad as he further explained the challenges that he has faced. People have frequently been confused when asking his first name and then hearing that his last name is the same. It is often assumed that he is not fluent in English, and as a result is confused by the seemingly simple question. “This problem has followed me for several years and I am often misjudged as being uneducated. I had to muster all of my remaining self-confidence in order to even begin campaigning for governor,” explained Mohammad as he attempted to further illustrate the many challenges that he has faced.

Mohammad’s victory serves as an inspiration to people of a multitude of backgrounds. He is able to relate to many demographics including the LGBTQ community, followers of the Jewish faith, and Muslims who disagree with their religion’s stance on transgenderism and homosexuality. With his ability to relate to a variety of people on many levels, Mohammad was able to edge out his competition in the election and could prove to be one of the most inspirational public figures in this nation’s history.