Thursday, February 11, 2016

Being Both Muslim and Gay -- Fabulous Training and Further Reading (1)

A training session I attended yesterday, provided by the LGBT Foundation, was utterly amazing, with the only flaws being, in my opinion, a) that we didn't manage to fit in the whole of the planned agenda in the time allowed and b) there wasn't enough of a range of LGBT* Muslim thought presented.

To have a gay Muslim speak of their very difficult history with their community was invaluable. To see that man also have so much pride and belief in Islam and understand that he was striving to be 'a GOOD Muslim' was truly inspirational. I found it invaluable to hear his views on what that, on a very personal level, entails. I feel both honoured and better-educated as a result of witnessing this man's courage and faith.

I learnt a heck of a lot about Islam yesterday. I was also shown that the religion is not the community, and vice versa, which was utterly revalational for me. I learnt that 'bad' Muslims are as commonplace as 'bad' Christians and 'bad' Pagans and that the same can be said for 'Good' people too. I also learnt how much more vulnerable non-heterosexuals are within Muslim communities. They are in a position very similar to that experienced by homosexual men whilst being homosexual was still illegal in Britain - open to abuse and blackmail, and subject to ostracism and becoming hoimeless, shamed and disgraced if 'outed' or if they decide to 'come out'.

How I interact with Mulsim people, both straight and otherwise, cannot help but be changed by the training received yesterday, for the better. Understanding others is apparently one of the prime reasons for our existence, according to Islam, and that principle was certainly at play yesterday.

In the wake of this fabulous training I went to a book store to browse, and (especially as a Pagan) find it suspiciously 'coincidental that I came across a book on exactly the topic I had just received some basic training in. As a result, I am currently reading 'Homosexuality in Islam' by Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle. I recommend this text to anyone who was inspired to learn more following the training.

Now though, the thunder of hobby-horse hooves and the battle-cries of a Strong Womyn about to partake in a Rant are heard . . .

My great sadness about this book is that I see the author as ignoring 'dispositional bisexuality' because Scott feels it could weaken the arguments for the acceptance of gay, lesbian and Trans* people amongst Muslims.
I wish I had known yesterday to ask the speakers how they feel about 'dispositional bisexuality' in relation to Islam. I had not heard that term applied to 'my sort' until today, though, through my reading.
When I see the word 'Bisexual' I automatically think 'Dispositional Bisexual' and I see now why some lesbian and gay people see Bisexuals as a 'threat to our cause', because (apparently) they see 'Behavioural Bisexual' - 'Non-gay' people who have same-sex encounters 'because it's on offer' and straight sex is not so easy to access at the time.
It hurts me to have to accept that the author of 'Homosexuality in Islam' feels addressing Bisexuality is outside their remit. They say that to do so could weaken their arguments for acceptance because Dispositional Bisexuality is (apparently) not referred to in the Qur'an, only the lewdness of the Tribe of Lot, which they purport included Behavioural Bisexuals. It reads as if the author is in denial of the existence / veracity of the Dispositional Bisexual. Worsse yet, the female Bisexual (Dispositional or Behavioural) isn't even mentioned in passing.
I understand that the author has tried to present the best case possible for tolerance of gay, lesbian and Trans* people in Muslim communities. I am also now aware how invisible my Bisexual Muslim peers must feel.
Just in case anyone has any doubts, people who have sex with both/all genders BECAUSE IT IS WHO AND HOW WE ARE, not some life choice we have made EXIST.
I find great sadness in the fact that some homosexual and Trans* people, who have gained some ground in the battle to prove they are acting on their nature, not against Nature (or God) rather than being homosexual by choice, cannot see that Bisexuality is not necessarily a 'Choice' either. I am a Dispositional Bisexual and this has been my rant for the week.

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