Married, Muslim and gay

I’ve heard about people who have struggled to reconcile their religious convictions and their sexuality but in truth I had never actually met anyone who had dealt with that struggle.

Well, I have now, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

I go from feeling sad for this woman, to being angry with the religious institutions that have made her life so complicated, to feeling judged by her because I am living a life that she considers sinful.

The woman is someone from the playgroup we go to. I like her. She’s funny and friendly and she mucks in when there’s stuff to get done. She’s also a hijab-wearing Muslim and up until last week I’ve wondered what she would think if she knew my partner was female (I don’t hide it in any way, but we hadn’t discussed it so I didn’t know if she knew or not).

At last week’s playgroup something came up in conversation about Mardi Gras and she said that eight years ago she was in it. When she said that, my initial thought was, “oh, so there must be a progressive faction in the Muslim movement and she must be part of that – cool”. Playgroup moved on and I didn’t think any more of it.

Then at the end of the group there were just a few people left and we got talking. In the course of conversation I came to ask her what led her to convert to Islam. I made an assumption that as an Australian-born woman who grew up in Tamworth (Australia’s country music capital), she probably converted because she married a muslim man.

Well, that was kind of right. In fact, her father is turkish and she’d been raised in a religious home. I’m not clear on what happened in between, but she was either never a strictly practising muslim, or she was and she moved away from it for a time, but she donned the hijab and has followed the religion’s teachings closely since she married.

I figured that was the end of the story, but then she volunteered that her “natural sexual orientation” was homosexual, to use her words. She said she made a choice to go back to islam, get married, have babies and live unhappily ever after because she thinks the alternative is to go to hell.

She believes that because the major religious texts (the bible and the koran are what she cited) say that homosexuality is a sin, then it must be true, and that her same sex attractedness is a test from god.

I really don’t know what to make of it all.

For days after the conversation, my brain was spinning, trying to think of how this could ever all work out for her. I can’t let go of the feeling that she might one day conclude that she is who she is and that being married to a man is a sham she can’t continue.

But what happens if she does reach that conclusion? She has two children. How can a lesbian and a strict muslim man who believes that gay people go to hell have any hope of raising healthy children together?

So then I think maybe now that she’s started down this path, perhaps it’s the best thing to continue it. And then I feel sad because she’s openly unhappy in her marriage.

And in between times I feel deeply judged. She says she has chosen this path because she does not want to fail god’s test. So she must see me as a failure, right? She hasn’t said or done anything at all to suggest that, but that’s the implication.

Of course, what I think and what I feel is totally irrelevant but I have a slight sense of panic about the whole thing, as though I’m somehow diminished while this person thinks her own sexuality is sinful and wrong.

It’s just thrown me a bit. I’ve met bigots and narrow-minded fools and religious zealots and simply uneducated people before and plenty of them have thought my relationship is not valid or sanctioned or morally defensible. I’ve never been too worried about those people. But I feel confused by this.

I can’t get clear in my head whether this woman is a friend or a foe. She’s gay: She must be a friend! She thinks gay people burn in hell: She must be a foe!

I don’t expect I’ll reach any real conclusions. I expect I’ll probably continue to enjoy her company and her conversation at playgroup, and I’ll try to just put all the other stuff aside because none of it has anything to do with who she is at playgroup. She’s just another mum there with her kids wanting to have fun and get out of the house.

I certainly don’t intend to discuss any of this stuff with her, because at the end of the day it’s her personal baggage to deal with and it’s not actually anything to do with me, even though it feels strangely like it is, right now. I’ll probably continue to feel a bit sad that she’s not able to accept who she is, but I’m going to make an effort not to dwell on it.

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9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    navedz said,

    Your friend passed the test of trials. Homosexuality is a big Sin. No religion in this world can ever allow it to be practiced.

    Read: http://navedz.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/homosexuality-the-islamic-viewpoint/

  2. 2

    Lara said,

    Far out. What a sucky situation. I hope she finds some peace down the track.

  3. 3

    N said,

    All I can hope is that they can find some peace – for themselves, and for their family.

    J was raised, until she was 8 or so, very Orthodox Jewish. She has very severe issues with religion, and her sexuality, and we go through times when she feels very Jewish, and times when she’s so, so angry at Judaism and God, and at people who feel like a God who is out there wouldn’t Love something that He made.

    It’s hard enough just trying to come to terms with who we are, without throwing religion into the mix.

  4. 4

    navedz said,

    @ N

    I too hope that J finds peace. For peace of mind and soul… one has to have faith in God. Faith (religion) brings the ultimate peace in one self. I would recommend to your friend to read and study her religion and different other religion, including Islam. If she sincerely and unbiasly studies the religions, she will definitely find the peace that she is looking forward to in Islam.

    Truly, Islam is the only and the best Deen (Way of life) in the sight of God. It talks about each and every aspect and behaviour in one’s life. May God help.

  5. 5

    red15 said,

    Navedz, I appreciate the interest you have taken in this post, but I’ll confess I’ve thought long and hard about whether to let your comments stand or to delete them.

    On the one hand, I am a complete advocate of free speech and feel that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. On the other other hand, you have a whole blog of your own to share your religious views, which do not mesh at all with my own beliefs.

    And so I’ve decided to leave the two comments you’ve made so far, because you’ve been respectful. But I think I will delete any further comments from you because your position is clear, you’ve made your point twice, and at the end of the day, this is my blog, not a public forum.

    I’ve taken no offence to anything you’ve written here but I just don’t care to read anything further about your religious convictions and I don’t want my blog to be a vehicle for you to spread your views – you can use your own for that.

  6. 6

    Danny said,

    Good old religion. Thankfully I don’t have any tendencies that way. In all clear conscience I get to be what I want, do what I want, when I want and don’t have to rely on something that is alleged to have been said and done years ago by whomever, where ever, then retold around late night campfires and then written about by people whom may or may not be totally honest, may or may not have had perfect memories, may or may not have had a vested interest in perpetuating the story one way or another, then retold and then rewritten and then reinterpreted and then revised and rewritten again by some that says “What he is really saying is…” or “What he really means is…” only to then have someone concoct their own interpretation. Should I ever decide to go on a Crusade or fly a plane into a building it will be because I’m a nut and religion will have nothing to do with it. What ever path I take in life it will be based on my own thoughts and not something based on folks stories from long forgotten times. How many people choose to be religious ??? Not many. Most have it jambed into them by their parents who in turn thrust it upon their children that do the same thing all over again next generation. 99% of Muslims are so because mum & dad said they are. The same goes for Christians and the Jewish. Is there a Hell or a Heaven ?????????
    How long do we have????
    Danny

  7. 7

    red15 said,

    Didn’t take you long to break the “no comments” rule. 😛

  8. 8

    theclitremedy said,

    Your post (and resulting comments!) just reinforce how bloody destructive religion is. I can’t think of anything good about it when it causes the pain it does in your friend’s life, and the pain it is causing/will cause for her husband and children. All for nothing! All because of an imaginary god, and a heap of words in a book that has no more validity than anything L. Ron Hubbard wrote. It’s depressing.

  9. 9

    Holly Garza said,

    Asaaamu Alaikum (peace be upon you)

    This is my personal jihad as well. I love Gay, bi whatever people and I don’t believe that God will send someone to hell for how and whom they love, being Muslim I should right? No not me. I know people disagree, The Christians, the Jews, the Muslims The nuts..what can I say? I have a mind of my own. I believe Religion has helped me tremendously however I believe in a just Loving God and I don’t think I would hope anyhow that destruction would not come to those simply because of how they love. I have many mixed opinions on many things though so…

    God willing you’re heart and head and you’re friends will take the right path for you all and may you lead happy lives God willing.


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