Premium Content:

What If You Were Queer and Muslim?

2012, London Pride, WorldprideThere’s no denying that religion and diverse sexuality don’t always go hand in hand. Although views are slowly shifting, this turmoil that many religious queers face day to day is still prevalent globally.

Imagine being part of a religion that doesn’t even like to discuss heterosexual sex? Traditional Islam holds conservative views that shun any discussion surrounding sex before marriage, sex in general, and sexuality.

- Advertisement -

Censured discussion has lead to a lack of understanding, a lack of tolerance, and a lack of support when it comes to the queer Muslim community.

Queer Islam being predominantly underground certainly doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Recently, Pakistan, which has a large Islamic following, showed that only 2% of the surveyed population believe homosexuality should be socially accepted. Pakistan also shows on Google Trends as the leading country in Google searches relating to gay sex. What do these contradictory statistics mean for those involved? It seems that a severely oppressed sector of the queer community is turning to the internet for release and support.

A member of the Australian, queer, Muslim community is part of that support. Alyena Mohummadally actively encourages anyone struggling to join an anonymous Yahoo! Group called Queer Muslims in Australia.

“We welcome and accept all Muslims and encourage involvement and participation as per the individual. Our vision is of a progressive and supportive forum that allows for and celebrates our diversity”, she explained.

As someone that considers their sexuality and religion to now be in harmony, Mohummadally explained how it wasn’t always that way,

“Hating myself.  Doubting myself. Trying to change myself.  I have suffered through depression as a young adult and know it was because I couldn’t’ find any people like me”, she said.

When asked how she overcame this inner turmoil, the answer was simple,

“Easily.  Because I truly believe this is how I am meant to be.  That my spirituality and my sexuality are both two halves to my whole.  That I cannot be happy unless I accept and celebrate both.  I didn’t get here easily and it took years to arrive at the place I am now at.  But I am here now.  And to those who say that you can’t be Muslim and queer – well I say ‘I can’.  Just by being me, I challenge those who argue against my existence”.

Giving an insight into Islamic views on homosexuality, Mohummadally explained that many Muslims accept homosexual thoughts, but oppose acting on them.

“For those that do want to discuss homosexuality, it is generally the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah that have Muslims insisting that homosexuality is ‘haram’ (forbidden) and wrong”, she explained.  

“Interestingly, there are many Muslims who believe that it isn’t the thought that you might be queer that is wrong – but the action or act of same-sex relations.  A person is not condemned

for mere thoughts, but is wrong if they give in to their desire.  This is the same for heterosexual unmarried sexual activity – it is forbidden”.

In regards to Muslim organisations that offer support for the queer community, Mohummadally is not aware of any that exist in Australia. On a global scale however, their existence is scarce, but certainly there. In an article called ‘I thought I was the only one!’ Mohummadally accounts for queer Muslim groups in Canada, America, and Britain. Just last year an openly gay Muslim man opened a queer friendly Mosque in Paris, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed stated ‘being gay and a feminist is not incompatible with Islam’.

It is also in this article where Mohummadally accounts the struggles of coming out in a traditional Muslim family.

“It was, like adultery, one of the taboo subjects: a terrible, terrible sin. All I knew of same-sex relations was the Qur’anic tale of Sodom and Gomorrah (or, as we knew it, the story of Lut)”, she wrote.

“In my early teens, I was afraid of my same-sex attraction, convinced I was ‘wrong’ for feeling that way. Growing up believing that Allah destroyed a city because of homosexual behaviour was enough to instill intense feelings of self-loathing, fear and guilt. I believed that I would be rejected by my religion if I acknowledged my feelings”.

Despite the fact being Muslim and queer might not garner support from Australian mosques or Muslim groups, Mohummadally points out that queer Muslims can find support on a one to one level, with family and friends.

“I don’t know of any openly out organisations in Australia that support queer Muslims, but I know many mainstream Muslims who support their queer brothers and sisters.  These same Muslims are in support of human rights for all and support same –sex marriage in Australia and are against discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity”, she explained.

Addressing queer Muslims that may be reading, Mohummadally promised ‘there are many, many, many people like you’.

Click here to read more of Alyenna Mohummadally’s story.

Nadine Walker

Latest

Andrea Thompson says John Quigley’s comments are unacceptable

Transgender rights activist Andrea Thompson says the removal of...

Gender law reform described as flawed but an improvement

One of WA's leading LGBTIQA+ support organisations has welcomed...

Mr Gay World competition responds to defamation case ruling

The South African based organisation that runs the Mr...

On This Gay Day | In 1965 The White House was picketed by homosexual protesters

So often the story of LGBTIQA+ rights is described...

Newsletter

Don't miss

Andrea Thompson says John Quigley’s comments are unacceptable

Transgender rights activist Andrea Thompson says the removal of...

Gender law reform described as flawed but an improvement

One of WA's leading LGBTIQA+ support organisations has welcomed...

Mr Gay World competition responds to defamation case ruling

The South African based organisation that runs the Mr...

On This Gay Day | In 1965 The White House was picketed by homosexual protesters

So often the story of LGBTIQA+ rights is described...

Ladyhawke announces Australian tour

Kiwi artist Ladyhawke, aka Pip Brown, is touring Australia...

Andrea Thompson says John Quigley’s comments are unacceptable

Transgender rights activist Andrea Thompson says the removal of the WA Gender Reassignment Board is welcomed but has also raised concern about some of...

Gender law reform described as flawed but an improvement

One of WA's leading LGBTIQA+ support organisations has welcomed the Cook Government's announcement that they will update the process people undergo to officially change...

Mr Gay World competition responds to defamation case ruling

The South African based organisation that runs the Mr Gay World competition has released a statement in relation their defamation court case against a...