I had a traumatic experience with a man. Now I am scared to be Muslim AND gay.
Hey! I’ve been put through so many difficult times in my teenage years. Even though i’m still a teenager, I feel as though i’ve lost my true identity. I am a Muslim and i’m very proud to be, even though the world has degraded my religion in many terrorist aspects. I’m very close to my religion and don’t want to lose it. But two years ago *when i was 16* I had a secret boyfriend, to which he was 20 at the time. He took advantage of me in all sexual aspects and basically destroyed my mental and physical wellbeing. I ended up telling my parents as i collapsed one night from everything that he did to me. I eventually exposed the truth of me being ‘gay’. Ever since then my family has tried to convince me that i am not. I’ve even lied about the truth to them saying that ‘i was young and dumb and i’ve moved on’, only to get them off my back. I am attracted to men, and only value women as ‘friends’. I’m seriously scared. I pray to God that he will assist me through this. But hope is fading.
Thank you for your well articulated question. It is clear that you have been through traumatic experiences. It seems also clear that you know yourself well and are able to be truthful with yourself and assert your identity and are trying, in an articulate and well thought-out way to reconcile various aspects of your identity, namely your homosexuality and your faith in Islam. Such honesty and assertiveness are to be commended!
First, I would like to address your emotional state. You say that you are “scared” and that “hope is fading.” Your reasons are that you feel there is no way to reconcile your faith and your sexual orientation. You have also been through a very traumatic experience 2 years ago which is perhaps still weighing on you. I would like to encourage you to first talk to a trusted friend about how you are feeling. Oftentimes, just talking to someone we trust can help. But I would also encourage you, if you want, to contact your family doctor, your school counselor, a therapist, or another professional, preferably in the mental health field. I say this because in your question to us I am hearing someone who is asking for help, and the best help available, when we are sad, scared, and losing hope, and when family (and perhaps friends) are not available, is face-to-face help from a mental health professional (or other type of professional) who can assess the situation and direct you to the appropriate resources – if need be! – or just be available to talk things out without judgment. There are also crisis hotlines and the Emergency Room of your local hospital if ever the hopelessness becomes too severe that you have thoughts about suicide.
Second, I would like to offer some resources that may start you on the path to reconciling faith and sexual identity. I do not usually quote Wikipedia, but the following article, which perhaps you have read in the past, seems helpful, especially as regards the information given under the heading “LGBT movements within Islam” and “Rights activists.”
I would also like to direct you to the following website (which appears currently to be under construction):
They also have an online group you can join. They are dedicated to helping LGBT Muslims.
I would also like to direct you to the work of Irshad Manji (and her book, The Trouble with Islam Today) who is a Canadian scholar, out-spoken author, Lesbian and Muslim who speaks about how to reconcile Islam with “her love of freedom.”
I know this must not be an easy time, especially in the situation where you feel that you are not accepted by your family. I would encourage you to take care of yourself first – emotionally and as regards your own religious beliefs. Coming out to your family is rarely easy. I would like to believe that in most situations, families learn to accept, in time, their children as they are and I hope this will happen to your family as well. Your responsibility is to ensure your own well-being and to give time for your family to understand the situation. Remember, your family were first introduced to the idea of your being gay when you were in crisis after your traumatic experiences. I think they must care very much about your safety and happiness. They may equate, in their minds, being gay with suffering, violence and, depending on their religious beliefs, on a life that is alienated from God, and probably fear that their son will have such a life. They may fear, more concretely, that being gay will equal abuse for you in the future, or that the abuse somehow influenced your thinking you were gay. You may find that they will be more accepting of your sexual orientation when they see you happily living out your life as gay.
I hope this helps. All the best. And do write back if you have any questions.
Rimma, for Alterheros.