This very interesting Channel Four program was shown on Compass tonight. Go there for details and some interesting links. Much was familiar because all the Abrahamic faiths share much on this issue. In all the Abrahamic faiths there is a range of views and practices, and Islam is no exception.
Muslim ex-gay conservative arguments (very familiar in other circles too) are presented here and here. You can at least glean from these much about the documentary if you missed it. On the other side of the issue, there is a Muslim gay support site Al-Fatiha and also Queer Jihad, a collocation that may surprise some: “Queer Jihad strongly condemns all forms of terrorism, including prejudice and discrimination.”
Have I met gay Muslims? A few, in person, and some online.
One some of you will have heard of, but I have never met, is David Graham’s partner:
I was born in southern Lebanon in a town called Saida. That part of Lebanon is mainly Muslim and is extremely conservative and homophobic.
Actually, “gay” does not even exist for them. There was a culture of men having sex with men, but it was never talked about. People pretty much knew I was gay because I was always out-there in the way I dressed and so on.
As a result, I was constantly bullied when I was growing up. At the end of the school day I used to hide until everyone left and I knew it was safe to walk home.
I used to call the walk from home to my father’s work the “walk of shame”. There were always people standing on the street who would abuse me as I walked past. The most intense situation was when I had stones thrown at me when I was about 13. At school they spat at me. But I just learned to tune out.
Whenever I became friends with someone and they found out about my reputation, they immediately ended the friendship, even girls. Up to the age of 18, I didn’t have a single male friend…
I was a bit shocked when I arrived because I had thought Australia was heaven for gay men. I realised that you couldn’t get married and also I had problems because I wasn’t recognised on my ex-partner’s business visa.
Being Lebanese and Muslim also complicated things. I used to live in Paddington, and when I walked my dog I met some of the locals, who were extremely stuck-up. The first question would be “where’s your accent from?” and I would say “Lebanon” and then there was silence.
I eventually broke up with my partner from Malaysia and even found a job back in Dubai. But then I went to Fair Day before Mardi Gras and realised Sydney was too good to leave. I decided to stay here and finish university and then I met David about a month before he went into the Big Brother house this year and fell in love with him.
When David got out of the house, there were headlines everywhere along the lines of “gay cowboy set to wed Muslim lover”. I wondered why I was being identified as a Muslim when I am the least religious person I know.
I think one of the positive aspects of being with David is showing the public a strong gay relationship that survived three-and-a-half months of separation and is monogamous. David lives in Queensland most of the time and I am still in Sydney. I am planning to move up to Queensland and hopefully David and I will start a business…
Follow up that story on the David Graham Fansite.