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"In my headcanon, Rainbow Dash is a Sudanese Muslim in a wheelchair."

Rainbow is a pegasus pony from Cloudsdale. Sudan and Islam don't even exist in her universe, and she obviously doesn't use a wheelchair. The term you're looking for is "AU".
There's nothing wrong with personal AUs, but they're not headcanons. And at a certain point, just admit you're making an OC.

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redweasel
Duck - "someone befriended them, saved them, coaxed them out of their shell, and showed them that sex is nothing to be afraid of. I’m kind of envious of that rape victim"

Fuzzbutt
once upon a time everything was exactly like in the show but then between episodes a portal opened up into the human world. rainbow dash liked sudan so much she earned her sudanese citizenship and became muslim, but unfortunately she hurt her leg and had to be in a wheelchair for a while. then the portal closed, her leg got better, she spent some time in a celestial reeducation camp, and they never spoke of this again. the next episode happened exactly as in the show.

dash still plays with her my little muslim action figures sometimes off camera.
Background Pony #371D
@Yet One More Idiot
No, you're about right. Actually, that's a better explanation then I had in mind.

My argument, however, is why does it matter? Or, rather, why does it matter if someone uses the term incorrectly when it doesn't have any real impact on the canon outside of someone's perspective.
Yet One More Idiot
Artist -

World's biggest idiot xD
@Background Pony #371D
I think the difference is that a headcanon is a "fact" the fan has made up to try to explain something in the canon (or to fill in something that is missing in the canon, like a missing name for a character).

An AU is when you take the characters, settings, or established events of the fandom and completely re-write them. It's a completely different scale of alteration.

Believing that Rainbow Dash's parents originally named her Sparkly Twinklehooves but she was so embarrassed by that name that she changed it, counts as headcanon.

A setting where the characters are, and always have been, centaurs is an AU.

…I think.
Background Pony #371D
@TheSultanAkbar
Okay. Show me a definition of headcanon where it has to be possible. And if the problem is just a label and that they should be calling it an Alternate Universe where character X is interpreted as Y, then why is it so upsetting? It's all just fanfiction/fan art.
Background Pony #371D
@TheSultanAkbar
Yes, it is. The post says "Alternate Versions of Ponies are AUs, not headcanons."

My rebuttal was "I agree, but this feels like just an excuse to play Fandom Police".

I fail to see what isn't the point of the post.
Background Pony #371D
@TheSultanAkbar
Good advice. Maybe you should take it yourself. :)

Jokes aside, this is the internet. Where opinions can be shared, both in the hopes of sharing information and in the hopes of finding like-minded individuals. If it bothers you to see some other headcanon, then nothing's stopping you from ignoring it if it bothers you.
Background Pony #371D
I mean, on the one hand, I can get behind this concept. After all, I've seen a lot of fanart and fanfics where a character is depicted in such a way where I'm thinking that the guy should just make an OC or write an original fic on AO3 or something. Hell, I've seen a lot of awesome art on here that makes me go 'holy shit, dude, transcend the fandom already and make bank, this is an awesome concept for an original story'.

But, on the OTHER hand, I feel the spirit behind this message is wrong. It's not some kind of criminal offense to say Rainbow Dash is a Muslim or needs a wheelchair. Yeah, I do think that second bit teeters on AU, but it's their business. Not my business, not your business. If an alternate interpretation of a character bothers someone, then that guy really needs to rethink their priorities. Because, well, who cares? Like, who really cares? And besides, these kinds of AUs and Headcanons or whichever you wanna call them can be the stepping stones for OCs and fandom is often the springboard for original projects. It's always gonna be easier, and more fun, to concoct different interpretations of characters and it's not like everyone's gonna have this universal idea of a character anyway.

Again, I can get the message, but this just feels like a mean spirited way to shut someone up and tell them their different interpretation is wrong.
redweasel
Duck - "someone befriended them, saved them, coaxed them out of their shell, and showed them that sex is nothing to be afraid of. I’m kind of envious of that rape victim"

Fuzzbutt
no, this is a terrible idea. you are making an awful mistake. you are the reason people writing unbelievably dull stories that do nothing but retell the exact plot of the show then get praised for their lack of creativity. you are the reason people are afraid to write stories that make a controversial interpretation of the show, because somebody's gonna get triggered by it, especially if it's a good interpretation. then they come on the comment section screaming about how it's an au and they're going to call hasbro inc and tell them they did the characters wrong because twilight/dash/pinkie/etc would never do that.

the AU tag is for when the ponies discover a portal to an alternate universe. using it as nothing more than an insult for stories that you don't think are headcanony enough to be allowed to be called a headcanon is stupid. every story that didn't literally appear on the show is not canon. nobody will agree on how not-canon stories should be allowed to be, before they are an alternate universe, so it's a bad tag that just makes people disagree with each other.

besides it's scootaloo who's a muslim.
Background Pony #9752
OP is right but does it really matter? Literally everything can be an AU thing, and the veil between having an AU and a headcanon is so thin that it really makes no sense arguing against that. Yeah ok, I'm modifying the canon in my mind at a point in which the "canon character is not that character anymore so it's just an OC", ok fine… what is the problem with that?
There are way more important things in this world.