Posted: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 4:47:12 AM
Other gay kids are ambitious. They fight for marriage equality. They march in pride parades. They know who they are and what they want, and they’re not afraid to go after it.
Me, on the other hand? I’m deep in the closet. My family is Muslim, and conservative. I pray five times a day, wear a headscarf, and know one-sixth of the Quran by heart. And yet, I’m gay. God made me have feelings for girls. It’s that simple.
Most Muslims, unfortunately, don’t see it the same way I do. The amount of hate I observe, going to Islamic school every day, is appalling. Teachers call gays “unnatural” and say we should “just become normal,” as if we can turn it on and off at will, like a light switch.
When I was fourteen, I sometimes felt so empty, like having these “unnatural” feelings made me a despicable person. Then I discovered the blogosphere. There, in that bright, crisp, digital world, I found LGBT Muslims. These people were going through the same things as I was. They became my support system. We inspired and encouraged each other; we struggled and laughed together. Gradually, among these wonderful people, I became comfortable with my sexuality.
Now that I’ve accepted myself, it’s time for the next step. I will run my own queer Muslim blog. I will blog until the skin of my fingertips rubs raw, until the muscles around my knuckles stiffen. I will prove being gay is okay. I will share my experiences. I will tell people that God loves them no matter what.
I’ve already gotten haters. “Don’t you fear hell?” they comment. “Don’t you know homosexuality is wrong?” These comments only make me work harder, because this needs to be done. People should know they’re not alone. Queers are often bullied, discriminated against, and disowned. Understandably, they develop many psychological issues- self-injury, depression, dysphoria. 1 out of 3 LGBT people has tried to kill themselves. As if the external pressure isn’t enough, we have all this inner turmoil, these waves of chaos crashing inside us, like waves upon sand..
That’s where faith comes in. It isn’t for everyone, but religion actually helps some people find peace. Faith is a bit like falling in love. It might not make sense to others, but when you find the right religion, you’ll know it. Being Muslim feels right to me, and I want to spread that feeling. I want people to know that, yes, they can be both queer and faithful, no matter what “mainstream” Islam says.
I’m helping in the way that I can. All I can do is help people accept themselves. It won’t be a revolution. Change, as Libba Bray said, happens “one person, one gesture, one moment at a time.” Maybe someday queers and straights will be equal. But for now, I take satisfaction in knowing that I might make someone out there smile a little wider, laugh a little louder, breathe a little easier.