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Salaam!
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Welcome to the home of the
“I am not Haraam” project - a blog created for
LGBTQ Muslims by LGBTQ Muslims.

Haraam is an Arabic word used in Islam to mean “forbidden”. This project has been started as a way for LGBTQ Muslims to stand up and proclaim that we will not allow our existence as LGBTQ Muslims to be erased any longer.
We are not kafirs, we are not deviant, our existence is not a sin. This is our space to say:
WE ARE NOT HARAAM.

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Call for submissions
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We’re calling for any Muslim who identifies as part of the LGBTQ spectrum to submit to this blog. Allies and supportive families of LGBTQ Muslims are also welcome and encouraged.
The theme for submissions is quite simply,
“I am not haraam”
(or “my son/daughter/lover/sibling is not haraam”).

We’d like you to share what it means for you to be an LGBTQ Muslim. You can tell us about your struggles, your everyday life, anything that makes you, you!

Submissions can take any form; text posts, audio posts, art work, poetry, video etc.

How do I submit? You can submit by clicking on “submit” at the top of the page or by emailing iamnotharaam@gmail.com

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to message us.
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Please note: This is a positive space for LGBTQ Muslims. We will not publish or respond to any negative or hateful remarks. We will not respond to any message asking us to justify our existence as LGBTQ Muslims.
Posts tagged "LGBT"

A lot of people come to us asking for advice on coming out, specifically coming out to muslim families and parents, and how best to approach this massive hurdle that many muslims of the spectrum face. In truth, there is no one way in which to approach this matter, as each individual will have their own set of circumstances unique to them, and this will greatly affect the way that this process will work for them. Having said that, there are some universal things that can apply to many of us, and aid us in preparing best to deal with this part of our lives. These “tips” will not apply to every person word for word, of course, but they may be able to help pave your own path in revealing the truth.

Confidence in your faith and yourself

Before asking your family to accept you, you must make peace with yourself. Growing up as both queer and muslim takes its toll on many of us, especially for those that are from practising muslim families. You will feel many things both negative and positive about your place as a queer muslim. Whatever you feel, you must deal with what is raging within yourself first and foremost. This can in a lot of cases be the longest and most difficult part of the process, but if you haven’t accepted yourself, then how can you expect others to do the same? Whatever and however you may be, remember that the Almighty has created you in this way with His own hands and He makes no mistakes, which brings forth the next point:

 

Study Islam

Many of us feel isolated from our religious communities because of what we hear in the media and the masjids, and even from our own relatives and friends about islam’s stance and interpretation of non-heterosexuality. We hear stories of condemnation and punishment and of course this is disheartening, but please remember that these are interpretations of our religion by people - and there can be more than one. Read the Qur’an and study religious texts for yourself, particularly from scholars who are known for alternative viewpoints. There is a wealth of information available to those who are willing to seek it, and you may be surprised by what you find. The Qur’an is beautiful in that it may reveal a message to you that it does not for other people, and you can only find this if you study it.

 

Realise that you have time
For many people, discovering their sexuality is a bittersweet process that toys wildly with emotions, especially because of the young age at which it happens. This can cause someone to make rushed decisions, and coming out may seem like the most important thing in the world that has to be done straight away. This does not have to be the case, if you are young and have years ahead of you inshaAllah, it may not be necessary, or even safe, to come out until you are prepared in every way possible. It is a delicate subject that must be approached with sensitivity and caution, and is not something to be rushed into head first with no back up.

 

Prepare
Unfortunately, we must prepare for the worst-case scenario. Nobody knows how your families/friends will react upon hearing what you have to say, even though the best person will probably be yourself, and it is essential that you have somewhere to go/someone to confide in if things go belly up and you are left stranded. If possible, ensure that you are able to support yourself if it comes down to it, and do the best you can to provide yourself with an alternative if your families are not accepting right away. Finish school and your degrees if you are doing them; save money; make friends who may be able to help you out if need be; learn of the resources available around you because regrettably, rejection happens more often than it should.

 

Gauge a “test” response
The topic of queerness may arise in conversation, and this can be an opportunity to find out what your families and friends stances are with regards to it. But this must be done carefully and not forced in order to minimise suspicion if it is a danger to you. It’s not a definitive indicator of a response, but you will most likely get an idea of how they feel and then how best to approach the matter.

 

Find the right time and place
Coming out in our communities is by no means a simple task, and it must be stressed that sensitivity and caution is key. It makes sense to leave the conversations until later if your family is going through a difficult time, or when stress levels are high, because coming out will no doubt add a level of stress that can push certain people into making rash decision that are not in your favour. If you are worried about any physical/verbal abuse, try to conduct the conversation in a public place, perhaps at a restaurant when out for a meal with your family or when going for a quiet walk in the park. This will inshaAllah help minimise the risk of violent outbursts and, if necessary, provide witnesses to any adverse outcomes. 

 

Patience is key
Be patient with your family. They may accept you straight away in which case Alhamdulillah, but if not, you must understand that their initial response does not necessarily reflect their final attitude. It is likely that they will be hurt and confused, and may blame you or themselves. It takes time. It took time for you to accept yourself, and it will take time for them to accept you, and you should be supportive of their attempts to make sense of what you have told them. At this point perhaps space is good if that is financially/socially possible.

Pray

Many queer muslims find themselves alienated from the muslim community and this can unfortunately lead to detachment from faith as well. It is important to keep close to Allah despite what others may say, as after all your faith is between you and your creator only. Prayer is one way in which closeness to God can be established, and can reaffirm ones relationship with religion. Salaat-e-Istikhara especially is a valuable tool that we can use to help us make the difficult decisions that many of us face, especially when the line between right or wrong is blurred. Allah has all the answers that we seek and through Him you will InshaAllah find what is the best path for you.

To conclude, there is no one way to come out, and there is no one best approach, but several. Patience, caution, and sensitivity must be exercised in order to make the process of coming out safe for yourself, and easier for those you are coming out to. We pray that you are met with compassion and understanding, but if not, we hope you are able to move on without guilt, knowing that you did the best you can to convey your feelings towards the people that you love. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you, no matter what you are going through.

Hussnain and the IANH team

 

queermuslims:

There is a story that the day “Homosexuality Explained to My Mother” was first published in Morocco, you barricaded the door of your apartment and stayed awake all night, fearing you’d be attacked. Does the reception of your work in Morocco still make you fear for your life?
Well, I should first say my books are sold in Morocco. That alone is amazing; they are the type of books that would have been banned not long ago. And no, I was never attacked physically, but I have been attacked critically by other Moroccan writers, journalists, and politicians. The idea was that we Moroccans are good citizens and good Muslims. We aren’t permitted to talk about personal things, especially not out in the open. But for me writing is never about what’s considered ‘right,’ it’s about everything that’s wrong. It’s about addressing something unsaid, which is what homosexuality had always been. I can now see that my writing is part of a bigger movida that started in Morocco with King Hassan II’s death in 1999, similar to what happened in Spain after Franco died. The lower classes are now making their voices heard more and more because they know that political and societal change will not come from the rich.

Do you think artists have an integral role in this political change?
Not an integral role, a necessary role. There is no coordinated group of artists working towards change in Morocco, but there is a general sense among artists, writers, and young people that it is time to remove our old clothes and start speaking for ourselves, without the pressure of the king or our families. 

Read more at Asymptote

redroundcircles:

done working on my pride flag with the shahada on it~ 
yes, I am a Muslim.yes, I do support LGBT.yes, I’m part of it.
if you don’t like it, you can go away now.  

Love this, too!

redroundcircles:

done working on my pride flag with the shahada on it~ 

yes, I am a Muslim.
yes, I do support LGBT.
yes, I’m part of it.

if you don’t like it, you can go away now.  

Love this, too!

(via redroundcircles-deactivated2012)

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love, captures stories and experiences of being at the intersections of Islam and queerness and its relationship to family, lovers, one’s sense of self and relationship with our faith. Terna Tilley-Gyado and Wazina Zondon utilize traditional storytelling and conversation as the medium for exploring the broad range of their experiences as queer Muslims. The stories Coming Out Muslimtell range from tales about other people’s theories about where queerness comes from, the gifts of being queer and Muslim, the tension between one’s culture and religion, and love—romantic and spiritual. Coming Out Muslimis both funny and poignant.

Find out more by clicking here

It’s that time of year - National Coming Out Day. “Coming out” is the term used for telling people that your sexuality is something other than straight. It’s a massive step for many people, but should only be taken when one is ready and IF one wants to. I’d love there to be a situation where ‘straight’ wasn’t the default in society and there was no need to come out, but the reality of today is different. So to my LGBT community who aren’t ‘out’, don’t feel pressured to do so. Do what’s right for you as an individual. I pray the time comes when we can live our lives the way we see fit. Until then, know that the mods at IANH are always here for you.

-Naeem

queermuslims:

Facing Mirrors Trailer

youtube description:

For the First Time in Iran, a Feature Film about Transgenders. January 2011

Directed By:Negar Azarbayjani
Produced by: Fereshteh Taerpour
Starring:Shayesteh Irani - Ghazal Shakeri - Homayoun Ershadi - Nima Shahrokh Shahi - Maryam Boubani - Saber Abar - Hengameh Ghazian

Between 24 and 27 August 2012, around 70 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) Muslims, along with their partners, friends, families and allies, gathered in central London. They were part of the fifth international conference organised by Imaan, a UK-based support group for LGBTQI Muslims. The attendees consisted of British Muslims from all over the UK, Muslims originally from North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia, Sunnis, Shi’as, and supportive non-Muslims, too. The conference was appropriately titled “Diversity: the Gift of Islam.”

Article by Shanon Shah

Click the title to read the full article.

queermuslims:

about the author: Urooj Arshad, a queer Pakistani-born woman, tells us why she devotes her life to helping LGBT Muslim youth.

     I grew up in Pakistan, a country with one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. Unlike most Pakistani women, I had access to a great education, and loving and supportive parents who treated me and my brothers equally. However, as I grew up I was troubled by the way women were treated in Pakistan.

Much of my worry was fueled by growing up during one of the harshest military regimes in Pakistan, that of general Zia-Ul-Haq. In his push to “Islamisize” the country, he eliminated many of women’s rights in the name of Islam. His infamous Hudood Ordinances amplified violence against women, and the general degradation and humiliation of women in society. I was constantly afraid, and the oppression started to seep into my soul. Fortunately, when I was 16 my parents immigrated to the U.S. with the help of my uncle’s sponsorship.

I came to the U.S. broken and disillusioned.  I thought that I would start a new and happier life away from Pakistan and away from Islam.

But of course it was not that easy. I was just so different from my fellow suburban white teens.  Yet trying to forget who I was and where I was from didn’t bring me happiness either. By the time I got to the University of Illinois, away from home and family for the first time, I had become very isolated. Even when I came out and entered the LGBT community, I realized that as a queer-Muslim-person of color, the issues I faced were vastly different from my white LGBT peers.

In 1999, I met Faisal Alam, the founder of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, an organization dedicated to Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning, those exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity, and to their allies and families. He changed my life forever. To sit in a room full of queer youth and to know that there is another Pakistani Muslim queer person out there, started to fill a hole I did not even know existedand I stopped believing that I would never be able to reconcile my sexuality with my religion and culture.

I began organizing and getting more involved with work specific to LGBT Muslim communities, and this has been my mission for the last decade and more.  As a community, we have provided countless workshops on the intersection of islamophobia and homophobia/transphobia, marched in pride parades to show our visibility, helped folks get asylum, provided spiritual counseling, and developed and advocated for scholarship that looks at Islam in the context of LGBT issues.  We have built retreat spaces that bring together LGBT Muslims to discuss spiritual life, religious texts, anti-oppression; and yes, we even had a speed dating event this year, because nothing is hotter than some Muslim on Muslim love.

Most importantly, we have changed the discourse that looks at LGBT Muslims as if they are non-religious, somehow outside the realm of mainstream Muslim life, somehow not impacted by Islamophobia, somehow not quite able to be both LGBT and Muslim. And as we continue to change the discourse, I am proud of how much the movement has grown and truly reflects the LGBT Muslim community.

I am particularly proud to see so many young people as LGBT Muslim organizers. Youth are especially vulnerable in an environment that puts all LGBT Muslims at risk of stigma and discrimination: from government, from our society, and even from our own families and communities. Many youth face violence and family rejection; many also feel disconnected from their culture and religion. These young people need a supportive community -  and the community needs their energy and leadership. Through Advocates for Youth’s Muslim Youth Project, we are developing Muslim youth leaders who will push back on Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, silence about sexuality, and the oppression of women.

It’s been 13 years since I became involved with LGBT Muslim organizing, and I am so proud of all the work we have done to bring people together who, like me, felt isolated and alone — who felt that if they are LGBT that the love of Allah is no longer with them, and they were cursed to go through this world unprotected and unloved.

Just a few months ago, I went back to Pakistan, and I realized that the Pakistan I knew during the draconian days of Zia –ul-Haq has changed. From transgender communities getting ID cards, to the vibrant lawyers’ movement that eventually toppled the last military dictator’s regime, Pakistan has been on its own journey toward becoming the Pakistan I have always dreamed of. My trip to Pakistan not only took me home, but took me back to myself, and I hope that this gift of coming home to oneself is a gift that we as LGBT Muslims can continue to give to each other.

UROOJ ARSHAD is the associate director of International Youth Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth, a group that advocates for realistic approaches to adolescent sexual health.

I thought this was an interesting ask for a number of reasons.
In no particular order:
1. Since the Qur’an states that God is not like man and so unique and powerful and man cannot begin to see or conceive God, I am really not sure why or how God would have a gender. We understand that God has no children, no partner, and no one is even possible of having the attributes God has. So, I’m not even sure why the question of a gendered God comes up. 
Point me to your sources on that.
2. “You do not have Islamic views”?
What are you talking about? What Islamic view do we not have? Are we really going to wipe out the Pillars of the faith, and the tenants of the faith because we disagree with some scholars of the faith on a point that is widely debated anyway. So, Leviticus clearly states not to eat pork or shell fish and I know many Christians that do, are we going to wipe out all of Christ’s teachings and say that because they disagree on that they aren’t Christian?
3. I’m not sure what your understanding of Islam is, but I think maybe revisit it.
4. Further, you chose not to be Christian because you are gay (I gather from your ask, but maybe for other reasons too). You didn’t have to make that decision but did. That’s fine, but we don’t have to do the same with our faith just because you did with yours.
And thanks for the permission to be spiritual, but you can also be spiritual and religious without encroaching on the other.

I thought this was an interesting ask for a number of reasons.

In no particular order:

1. Since the Qur’an states that God is not like man and so unique and powerful and man cannot begin to see or conceive God, I am really not sure why or how God would have a gender. We understand that God has no children, no partner, and no one is even possible of having the attributes God has. So, I’m not even sure why the question of a gendered God comes up. 

Point me to your sources on that.

2. “You do not have Islamic views”?

What are you talking about? What Islamic view do we not have? Are we really going to wipe out the Pillars of the faith, and the tenants of the faith because we disagree with some scholars of the faith on a point that is widely debated anyway. So, Leviticus clearly states not to eat pork or shell fish and I know many Christians that do, are we going to wipe out all of Christ’s teachings and say that because they disagree on that they aren’t Christian?

3. I’m not sure what your understanding of Islam is, but I think maybe revisit it.

4. Further, you chose not to be Christian because you are gay (I gather from your ask, but maybe for other reasons too). You didn’t have to make that decision but did. That’s fine, but we don’t have to do the same with our faith just because you did with yours.

And thanks for the permission to be spiritual, but you can also be spiritual and religious without encroaching on the other.

A Muslim Eagle Scout speaks on his disappointment on the exclusion of gays