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Gay Muslim Men Shouldn't Be Pressured into Heterosexual Marriages

04/23/2015 09:06 EDT | Updated 06/23/2015 05:59 EDT
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A recent article from the U.K. showcased gay Muslims living in straight marriages. It mentioned how "devout" Muslims attempt to reconcile faith and sexual orientation through marriage at the behest of Imams. But since when has the word "devout" become so abased to be used for those who use other human beings to deal with issues of self-acceptance and belonging?

The article mentions an Imam who asserts that homosexuality is a cardinal sin in most world religions including Christianity and Judaism. Of course such a generalization conveniently ignores the position of various Christian and Jewish denominations that affirm same-sex marriage.

Another Imam is mentioned as asserting the prohibition on anal sex and not acting on "bad impulses". He reduces human beings to a single sexual act while stating, "most Muslims don't have a problem with gay people."

Muslims struggling with their sexuality internalize this position. The article mentions one gay Muslim asserting that the media portrays Islam as "homophobic" or "anti-gay," where "it's not." Another proselytizes that he would want others as well to "return to the right form of Islam."

Indeed, such Imams and gay Muslims are more concerned about identity politics than about human dignity and justice.

The article makes it clear that gay Muslims in straight marriages keep their sexual past a secret, avoid speaking of their sexual attractions and are concerned about dishonouring their families or being rejected by their communities.

It seems that such Muslims who reject an identity based on sexual orientation experience severe cognitive dissonance when they find themselves in a lifestyle involving clubs and multiple sexual partners, while subscribing to values that confine sex within the bounds of a legal contract.

They end up exploiting "practicing sisters" and are fully abetted by clueless "Imams" who claim that they know many Muslims who have overcome their feelings through living a "good, Islamic way of life."

Have such "Imams" and their mindless followers ever paused to think whether they would want closeted men with a past and perhaps a future of secret sexual exploits to marry their own sisters and daughters?

Indeed, there is nothing Islamic about such a gutless and dastardly choice to use a human being as an object to deal with personal issues. "Imams" who continue to peddle such nonsense in the garb of faith to satisfy their authoritarian streak need to realize that they are accountable for their unreasonable and unjustified position.

When will they stop dehumanizing gay Muslims by reducing the human need for intimacy, affection and companionship to "bad impulses" or "urges"? When will they stop fetishizing gay Muslims by reducing their lives to anal sex?

The textual case against the prohibition of anal sex itself is weak. The Shii jurists hold it undesirable but permissible and even Sunni jurists resort to arguments based on noxiousness, nature or harm to assert their case.

However, morality is not based on a personal capacity for disgust or one's theories on what constitutes human nature. The physiological difference due to the prostate also weakens the argument based on harm. Moreover, regardless of one's opinion, not all gay men like anal sex.

Instead of obsessing about the private affairs of consenting adults, "Imams" can focus on concerns of women whose husbands force them to anal sex and threaten to leave them otherwise.

While not all Muslim opinions are homophobic, all traditional Muslim opinions are heterosexist. An academic study indicates that rather than education or age, increased religiosity is the most influential variable directly associated with intolerance and opposition to homosexuality.

It is a consequence of such deep-rooted heterosexism that a gay Muslim doctor recently committed suicide in the U.K. His distraught partner asserted:

"He wanted the unconditional love of his mum - that was all he had ever wanted: love and acceptance ... I blame a community that is so closed minded to allow these bigoted views that make families believe that their honour is more important than loving their children ... "

When heterosexism is so entrenched, people fail to acknowledge its sinister existence when they perpetuate defensiveness against charges of homophobia.

Yet, if we are to prevent more suicides or "unnatural" marriages based on exploitation, clueless "Imams" and their mindless followers must look within for merciless introspection.

On what basis do they reject parts of the tradition that call for gruesome deaths of homosexuals to inflict a life based on lies and deceit? When did the abomination become a test?

It would be a calumny against the Sharia that upholds human dignity and justice to abase it through prescriptions of permanent celibacy or false marriages.

Indeed, the "devout" person cannot be one who uses others for personal gains.

The devout person is the one who despite facing immense prejudice from the community at large, including his own family, who experiences racism within LGBT spaces, who gets sidelined for factors including body image, still refuses to give into hopelessness, alcohol or substance abuse, and continues to remain true to his values based on integrity and self respect.

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