LGBTQIA+, Love + Sex, Love, Life Stories

This is the real reason I chose my faith over my sexuality

She asked incredulously, "Your...girlfriend? Like you dated a woman?!" I nodded.

At 14, I came out of the closet as bisexual.

At the same time many of my classmates were checking out cute boys, I was struggling with the opposite. I had a crush on so many of my classmates. My best friend, a girl, ended up being my first kiss that year.  She found out she was straight; I found out I wasn’t.

Many years passed and after I came out, I dated women regularly.  Sometimes I dated boys, but I never fell as hard for them as I did with girls. I connected better with women emotionally. What better turn-on than the mind and heart?

In my late teens, I started to become more religious while maneuvering through the thick waters of self-discovery. I mentioned lightly to an equally religious friend in passing about a past girlfriend.

Her eyes widened.

She asked incredulously, “Your…girlfriend? Like you dated a woman?!” I nodded.

In haste, she whispered to me, “Never tell anybody else this at the mosque! You could be ostracized and I don’t want anybody to treat you differently.”

It had never occurred to me until this moment how my past and present could affect my future so much. I had never regretted my past and this was the first time in my life (thankfully), that I ever stopped to think about the consequences of being openly bisexual.

Was it worth risking my future with new friends? Of course not. If they didn’t like me, I didn’t care. I hadn’t been involved at the mosque long enough yet to care.

When I asked around for the answer at the mosque, I found myself silenced by young women – all hoping to protect me from mean people. These ladies did not realize that their silencing cut into my heart as well. I didn’t want to be silenced. I went to my openly proud friends, instead.

I had to talk to somebody about the growing weight on my shoulders.

A well-meaning friend told me, “Why are you letting these people oppress you? I told you Islam is bad! Saudi Arabia stones gays and it’s illegal in the entire Middle East. You are an idiot if you think their God could love you. Just go back to being a regular person and stop with this ‘God’ mess, okay? I miss you.”

I had turned to the two groups of people in my life, and I received two vastly different answers.

One was to leave my religion and openly commit myself as bisexual in society, while the other was to force myself to be straight to be more accepted by my faith community.

I hated both of these.

Reflecting inwards, I began locating information within the Islamic faith about the LGBT community. I found that the mainstream view held that homosexuality was a major sin through an understanding of the story of Lut. But there were lesser-accepted groups like Muslims For Progressive Values that even boasted of having an openly gay imam in Washington DC.

I no longer wanted to engage in the confusion I had caused myself by lying about who I am or by leaving my faith. I realized I was okay as I am – a bisexual Muslim. But I also made the personal decision to not act upon my desires.

Nobody asks about my orientation, and due to my current monogamous relationship with a man, it never comes up.

It has been years and yet, I am still at peace with myself. And that’s okay with me.