Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coming out

I walked around Gay Village in Montreal yesterday night with some friends. Just a fun outing for us. It's so rare that I go out without my daughter so it was nice to eat out and have an adult evening in the City (our nearest large city) with the girls. So anyway, we were in Gay Village, a sector of the city that is gay. Kind of like China Town has Chinese people and Little Italy has Italians, the Village has gays!

It got me thinking of how "coming out" as a Muslim is the same as "coming out" as a homosexual. You are admitting to friends and family that you are *blank* (Muslim/homosexual).

Here is a link to an article about coming out. Replace "homosexual/gay" by "Muslim" and a lot fits into what a new convert goes through! The fear, the loss of contact with people who don't accept it, the discrimination you might face, the isolation...

It doesn't matter if you live in a small town or a large metropolitan city, nothing can be more isolating than first coming out. You can be surrounded by familiar people and still feel you are the only one that is "different."

Doesn't that ring true to some of you converts? Here is another part from the article, but I have replaced the terms for Muslims:

Many Muslims don't fit into existing stereotypes associated with Muslims, but feel the pressure to do so by society or even other Muslims. Rest assured, the Muslim community is just as diverse as any other community and each Muslim is an individual.

This sounds a lot like the phase Muslims have of following Arab culture and/or following a certain sect/denomination in Islam in trying to be Muslim. With time, they learn that there are lots of different views in Islam and so many different people. Not all Muslims are Arabs. Not all Muslims are Sunni or even Shia. There are certain differences of opinion and you can carve your own way based on who you are/what you believe and don't have to completely change who you are!

For converts having trouble finding others who are going through the same thing in telling their loved ones, they could easily get support from homosexuals going through their own coming out!

9 Comentários:

Becky said...

I can completely relate to this. One of my good male friends is gay, and he was also one of the first people I told when I converted to Islam and this was actually one of the things we spoke about, how I would have to "come out" to my Mum, family, friends etc. And it really is incredibly similar in so many ways.

Banana Anne said...

I often feel like I can relate to gay people that are afraid of coming out to their families and friends; the process is almost exactly the same, especially since both Muslims and gay people are marginalized in American society.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

Wow, that is so true! Esp. the last part you fits perfectly!

Angel said...

Well that is funny, i enjoyed your blog but i want to say it was nothing like that for. I live in Australia, when I became a muslim i was treated like a joke, people thought I was crazy, those that I knwo who are gay were treated better then I was. And it is even more funnier now that I wear abaya and full face cover people tend to avoid me,or call me a terrorist me, maybe they avoid because they think it is catching, LOL which is funny because in a way it is, cause now i have people ask me questions or people are more interested now that they know someone who is Muslim

LK said...

The best conversation I had about my struggles with Islam was with my gay friend. They really get it lol.

I wrote a post about this but did not post it. Perhaps I will edit it and do so. The comparison between being Gay and being a Convert/being interested in Islam.

They can give you great advice about talking to your parents. Because being Gay also has religious consequences and makes parents feel like you are rejecting their religion.

Susanne said...

Good analogy!

Is that place really called Gay Village? I never hear of places defined by someone's sexual orientation. I can understand Chinatown, I guess. Your ethnicity is a bit more "out there." Do the gay people live there with their non-gay family members? Can you tell you intrigued me? :-)

Anyway, I like the comparison although I hope it's not so difficult for you when you come out. :)

By the way, I apologize if I got a bit too argumentative in that other thread the other day. You know the one where I said Caliph Candice had made some decisions? I got a bit too carried away. I'm sorry for that.

Anonymous said...

I think that if a person is faced with coming out of both closets, to the same people, they might find that the reactions to each revelation might well be different, depending on the views and attitudes of the people they are coming out to.

Nikki said...

I had a gay friend who had to come out to his Christian family and friends (we actually met at church camp many years ago). I was actually one of the ones he was scared to "come out" to, because he feared I'd be judgmental due to my faith. I accepted him, although I disagree with his choices. Our relationship has changed just because we are now on very different paths. It was Christianity that brought us together, and now I am Muslim and he is tampering with Buddhism. He knows I'm Muslim, I know he's gay and semi-buddhist, yet we still accept and care for one another's well being.

I think everyone should just let everyone else BE. If you aren't hurting anyone, you're good in my opinion. Sure, I think Islam is the truth, but I'm not going to chase people down with pamphlets and links to youtube videos. I'll live my life in a way that glorifies God, and if people are drawn to that and show interest, I'll be happy to point them in the right direction.

It's funny because I always think of my conversion to Islam as "coming out." Like at this point I've only "come out" to my immediate family, a few close friends, and the Muslim community here. Strange how there's parallels between two very different paths.

Candice said...

Angel: I find what you describe very similar to what a gay person might go through even though you might not see any similarities. Every individual lives something different and maybe you lived something harder than the average gay person but it also might have been harder than what the average convert goes through! I hope things have gotten better for you sister. :)

LK: Yes, post that! So true about the religious implications of being gay for some of them.

Susanne: Yep! It's really called the Gay Village (aka simply "The Village). The metro station in the area has the rainbow colours as decor and there's even the Gay Parade in the summer! I'm pretty sure anyone can live there, but it's more interesting for gays. I think women don't mind (it must be safe!), but straight men wouldn't really wanna live there!

About the other thread, I actually want to *thank* you for posting. I didn't know quite how to respond.

Nikki: That's a really good attitude to have. We all have our path and all we can do is be a good example that will hopefully resonate with people. If it's really the truth, it certainly will.

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