I am gay and Muslim

Young people who are Muslim and gay can feel conflicted about their religion, sexuality and gender identity. For Pride Month, we spoke to Imaan, who provide information and support for LGBTQI Muslims in the UK.

Coming out as gay, bi or trans can be difficult at the best of times, but what should you do if you or your family are from a Muslim background? We spoke to Faizan, a trustee for Imaan, the London based charity that supports LGBTQI Muslims, to find out more about supporting young people who feel conflicted by their faith and sexuality.

We offer a safe space for LGBTQI Muslims

Imaan is 20 years old and run by volunteers. We have monthly social meet ups for LGBTQ Muslims. Ramadan and Eid are also big in our calendar. We provide free Iftar meals throughout the month, and offer a safe space for LGBTQI Muslims to participate in Ramadan. We also have an active programme during Pride which is very popular.

There is a conflict between Islam and sexuality

Most Muslims think homosexuality is against the teachings of Islam. This can cause problems for LGBTQI Muslims who feel caught between their faith, sexuality and gender identity. Many LGBTQI Muslims are unable to be open about their identities, which can cause social, psychological and relationship problems. It can be difficult to reconcile opposing aspects of their identity. This can cause great anguish, depression and anxiety.

There are different ideas on homosexuality in Islam

It depends on who you speak to. Traditional scholars, who do not consider sexuality or gender identity, have one view. Other scholars, such as Siraj Kugle, have more liberal views.

LGBTQI Muslims in the West face opposition

People can be challenged on all aspects of their identity including homophobia, bi phobia, transphobia, as well as Islamaphobia. There is a Western narrative that encourages coming out as the only way to be whole or happy, as LGBTQI. This can be at odds with how LGBTQI Muslims in Muslim countries often live their lives.

We are diverse

Muslims come from every part of the world. There are over a billion of us, so it’s impossible to cast everyone, or even most Muslims, in one light. Likewise, all families are different, some families discuss personal issues, others do not. You should identify who, if anyone in your family, you feel able to talk to.

There is more support from straight Muslims than we think

Some Muslims support Pride, and others do not. However, we often see straight Muslims at the Pride March, cheering for us and waving, so I think there is much more support out there than we think.

If you are confused about your sexuality, get in touch

There are groups like Imaan around and available for you to get in touch with. Come to a meeting, meet others like yourself and gain the support of your community.

Next Steps

  • Imaan offer information and support for LGBTQI Muslims in the UK.
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 02-Jul-2018

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