Life can be particularly tough for an LGBTQ person
living in a strict Muslim community. Islamic teachings
forbid homosexuality. Many LGBTQ persons live in fear,
hiding their sexual identity.
and lesbians be Muslim? Can Muslims be gay and lesbian?
Of course. Sexuality is who you are, it's not something
you can change and it doesn't have anything to do with
religion. You can't chose sexuality like you can with
religion. Even if one was raised to believe
homosexuality was something wrong or even disgusting, it
wouldn't change your preference.
causes a lot of people to suppress their feelings and
hide their true sexuality which can cause a lot of
self-hatred. Some people believe that it is okay to have
homosexual feelings an long as you do not act on them
but this just doesn't work because you can't spend your
whole life pretending to be something you're not.
Unfortunately, in some places, people are still
uneducated and traditional and therefore it can cause a
lot of problems for homosexuals, especially if they live
in Muslim countries.
To Be Gay
Al Arabiya News
Guardian: Being a Gay Muslim
LGBTQ in the Middle East
recently, people have become a lot more open and more
Muslims are becoming more open minded about these
things. But what would happen to a gay or lesbian Muslim
completely depends on where they live and what their
family is like. By the tenets of their faith, it's not
possible for Muslim people to be gay or lesbian.
Realistically, of course they can. They should probably
look for a liberal, reformed sect of Islam, if there is
one, that accepts homosexuality, just as many Christian
sects do. But, depending on where they live they may be
accepted or they may be put into prison and killed by
their government and/or their family.
Typical blog comments from Muslim lesbians include the
I am a lesbian and a Muslim living in an Arabic country
and I have a girlfriend. We cannot be public about our
relationship because the law prohibits same sex
relationships. If we are discovered, we can go to jail
because of our relationship. My family does not know
anything nor my friends because it is shameful to us. I
must still follow the traditions because we are in a
country where everything is forbidden.
I have lived all my life in an Arab Muslim country and I
know firsthand how oppressive, judgmental and simply
uptight Muslims can be when it comes to homosexuality.
There are a lot of Muslim lesbians like me and my
girlfriend who are scared about their future but
daydream about having a house and cat or dog but deep
down inside we know this is will never come true. So
sad. I pray 5 times a day. I read Quraan and I'm a good
person and I love my god. I think being gay doesn't make
me a bad Muslim.
I have been treated very badly because I stand up for
gays or lesbians. The Muslim community doesn't realize
that there are many Muslim gays and lesbians who feel
very scared and lonely and don't know where to turn for
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Homosexuality in the
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LGBTQ in the
The rights and freedoms of lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, and queer people in the Middle East are
strongly influenced by the prevailing cultural
traditions and religious mores of people living in the
Several Middle Eastern countries have received strong
international criticism for persecuting homosexuality
and transsexuals by fines, imprisonment and death.
However, some of Middle Eastern countries have developed
more tolerant social attitudes and taken some steps to
protect LGBTQ people from discrimination and harassment.
Israel has, since the 1960s, gradually developed more
social tolerance for LGBTQ people, and taken steps to
recognize LGBTQ rights.
Jordan, Bahrain and Iraq are some of the few Arab
countries where homosexuality is not illegal.
In some other Middle Eastern nations, including Turkey
and Lebanon, changes in social attitudes and laws have
slowly come about as part of a larger campaign for
greater tolerance, pluralist democracy and respect for
Some Middle Eastern nations do not allow a LGBTQ
community or human rights movement to exist. Countries
such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates
criminalize same-sex sexuality, cross-dressing and any
expressed support for LGBTQ rights.
Some Middle Eastern nations have some tolerance and
legal protections for transsexual and transgender
people, but not for homosexual or bisexual persons. For
example, the Iranian government has approved sex change
operations under medical approval.
An LGBTQ rights movement has existed in other Middle
Eastern nations, including Turkey and Lebanon.
Israel and Arab
Countries on LGBTQ Rights
society accept homosexuality? In America, where the US
Supreme Court decided to recognize same-sex marriages ,
60 percent of respondents to a Pew Research Center
survey said “yes” and 33 percent said “no.” But in most
of the Middle East, the issue of LGBTQ rights isn’t
likely to spark the spirited debate that it does in the
Arab countries including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, in
addition to the Palestinian territories, all had more
than 95 percent of respondents answer "no" to the same
question in the Pew survey. But then there are Israelis,
who, although divided in their attitudes, are undeniably
more accepting of the LGBTQ community than their Arab
neighbors. Forty-seven percent of Israelis responded
"no" to whether society should accept homosexuality, and
40 percent responded "yes."
Israel is an oasis in an otherwise-barren Middle East
for LGBTQ rights. A number of Palestinian LGBTQ
individuals who experience persecution seek asylum in
Tel Aviv, a city that hosts its annual Gay Pride parade
attracting more than 100,000 people, and was voted “Best
of Gay Cities 2011” in an American Airlines survey.
[Source: Outward Magazine / Alina Dain Sharon]
Manji is a Muslim Canadian author, educator, and
advocate of a reformist interpretation of Islam. Manji
is also a well-known critic of traditional mainstream
Islam. Manji has written several books, two of which
have been banned in Malaysia, both of which describe and
develop her philosophies. The banned books are The
Trouble with Islam Today and Allah, Liberty and
is a lesbian, is troubled by how Islam is practiced
today and by the Arab influence on Islam that took away
women's individuality and introduced the concept of
group honour. In here books, Manji shows how to
reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with
repressive dogmas. Manji’s key teaching is "moral
courage," the willingness to speak up when everyone else
wants to shut you up.
She married her partner, Laura Albano, in May 2016.
Helpful Books on
Liberty and Love by Irshad Manji
Trouble with Islam Today by Irshad Manji
Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam
by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Unspeakable Love: Gay and
Lesbian Life in the Middle East by Brian Whitaker
L’Armée du Salut
(Salvation Army) by Abdellah Taia
Homosexuality in Islam by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle
Travels in the Muslim World by Michael Luongo
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