It’s Pride month! So, to celebrate Pride and raise much-needed awareness of the issues faced by the Muslim LGBTQI community, Voice of Salam is sharing a very special guest blog from a Muslim sister who for security’s sake must remain anonymous.
I urge you to remain open-minded and listen to her heartfelt story written in her own words.
From a very young age I was raised up with the mentality that you have to learn to read the Qur’an even though it what I was actually reading was never explained to me. I didn’t know what I was reading meant.
Around my late teens I then discovered I was a lesbian. The signs were there very early on but I was not aware of what it was that I was feeling at that time. For me that is when the inner turmoil started as I knew that this was something that was seen to be forbidden – that’s not allowed.
It started eating me up bit by bit, for several years. I was already experiencing honour-based abused from my mum as she found about my sexuality by reading my diary. I had no control over my coming out. Coming out is something you do on your terms – when you feel ready to do so and if it is safe for you to do so but in my case the control was taken away from me.
My mum could not accept the fact that I was a lesbian and treated me as if I had a disease, as if there was something wrong with me. She called me “paleath” which means impure and diseases. This was soul-destroying to hear. That is when I discovered my mother’s love for me was conditional, when in fact a mother’s love is meant to be unconditional.
Over the years I have had “friends” who have turned their back on me and simply flipped when I told them I was a lesbian. They said that I am no longer a Muslim. No one has the right to say that to anyone, no one has the power to do so, only Allah. It goes without saying that they are no longer in my life.
For so many years I struggled with my religion and I still do to this day at times. I have never lost faith and will never do so. I don’t claim to be very knowledgeable about Islam but I know that all that matters to me is that Allah knows my intentions with everything that I do, that Allah has made me this way and no one has the right to judge me for who I am. Allah has made me this way for a reason and I am who I am because of Allah. I am a Muslim and I am a lesbian and I now know that I can be both.
After suffering from severe depression for several years due to my mum not being able to accept me for who I am and having gone through such a dark period in my life, I am now working on my issues and becoming a stronger version of me.
I have fought for so long to be myself and I am now starting to like myself – which is in turn turning into loving myself for who I am today. I have had so much support along the way and I can’t thank those people enough for everything that they have done for me. If I hadn’t gone through everything that life had (and continues to be) thrown my way, I wouldn’t be who I am today. What I went through doesn’t define me – I define who I am today.
Along the way you do come across some very open-minded Muslims too and people of other faiths. There are quite a lot of people within the Muslim community who are not open to having these conversations. This is a projection of their own insecurities around this topic. However, there are also many progressive Muslims and not everyone is of the same mindset.
I want to use this platform to send this message to people out there: before judging someone and condemning them to hell or saying that they are no longer a Muslim, Christian or whatever – listen to their personal journey from their own perspective. Be empathetic towards others and do not be too quick to judge. You don’t know the struggles that that person is going through and all it takes is a comment like that to push people to having suicidal thoughts. Worst of all is that that feeling can take over and lead to people committing suicide.
Be mindful of the language that you use towards others. Words are very powerful and can cause so much hurt and pain. Love is love – let people be their true selves. There is so much support out there from organisations such as Imaan which is the biggest LGBTQ+ support group for Muslims.
For my fellow LGBTQI brothers and sisters, you need to be in place in your life where you want that help in order for you to get yourself out of the situation that you are in. It takes a lot of strength to reach out for help. The moment that you accept yourself for who you are is the moment you truly start living your life. Be who you were born to be, who you were meant to be all along.
Credits and acknowledgements
I’d like to offer a huge thank you to the sister who opened her heart and shared her story with Voice of Salam. All the very best for the future and may Allah continue to bless you in your life.
For more information and support, please visit Imaan’s website.
Peace, salam, shalom ♡