July 09, 2015
God, Are You There? A Gay Girl's Reflection on Religion

What's it like to be constantly told that your love and happiness are filthy and sinful?

by Sév
Issues // Politics and Society
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In case you haven’t read my previous article, I'm a lady-loving girl in a straight world, living the game of life in Hard Mode. Bigotry and hatred are everywhere. Some people say that LGBTQ+ people are a “sign of doomsday”, and perhaps they attempt to postpone it by denying or eliminating us (or, according to a Facebook post I saw, sending all the gays to Mars).

The historical SCOTUS decision to legalize same-sex marriage has led to a wave of comments and writings on the Internet about the issue, including those written from religious point of views. The euphoria is felt around the world and it's been welcomed as a huge triumph for humanity. It is, though in the global scheme of things, it's not that groundbreaking – the US is only the 18th country to do so.

People said that being queer means deviating from your religious practice, and I have to say that I started to. Having people tell me that what I am is a disgrace, sinful and unnatural; my love deemed unreal and full of lust; seeing death and rape threats made against my sisters and brothers; being told that my love, happiness, confusion and sadness are a “test” to overcome, that God would like it more if we lie to the world and to ourselves… it really doesn't help.

All it does is make me resent people, communities, the system and, ultimately, God.

It wasn't too long before I stopped practicing religious rituals, to see every Quran verse as outdated, to raise my eyebrows at religious-related news, and at my pious mother and some friends. My only oasis and saving grace, where I can curse the world and the Creator, is within a safe circle of supportive friends, my Dutch rabbit, and of course, my ever-present girlfriend.

However, no matter how jaded and tired people are of having to fight their fights, they still crave acceptance from their family, friends, and, for some, the Greater Power. Being an INTP, I'm excellent at playing “what-if”, and though I’ve said many times that I didn't believe in hell and heaven anymore, I'm really not that keen to go to hell and withstand the tortures.

So I looked for support. I read articles that interpret the religious weapons used to hurt us in a broader sense. These are reflections from religious communities, scientists and thinkers that promote kindness and love, like I Am Not Haraam, this particular Magdalene article, Islam and Homosexuality, and Sexual Diversity and Islam.

Although few and far between, they made me survive the dark period and gave me a ray of light to the wrecked part of my brain labeled 'Faith'. Maybe we shouldn't hate God or The Prophet (peace be upon him). It's just people – the misaligned fan clubs. God still loves us. God accepts me for the way He and Society made me. It's not a sudden gene mutation. Everything happens because He gave it permission to happen in the first place.

I began to think that maybe instead of homosexuality, this is our trial: remaining faithful in a world where people keep telling us that what we are, our love and happiness, is filthy. To survive against all odds, like what faithful people endured long before our age. To me, this makes a lot more sense than the hate they're spewing out there.

Maybe I'm in denial. Maybe I've achieved enlightenment. Who knows, unlike The Prophet (PBUH) who had a direct line of conversation with God that enabled him to do a quick check and recheck on what he did or said, we don't. None of us do, and we are all Schrödinger’s cats inside. We can be right and wrong at the same time – maddening as it is. It's not our place to determine what's right or wrong in front of God. Our judgments can be clouded, while God's is clear.

So I did some rethinking. There are five pillars of Islam and six pillars of faith: none of them includes being straight. I began praying again. I contemplate reading the Holy Book. I mean, fuck it! I'm gay, then I'll win God's best gay Muslim award.

But then I read another religious-based hateful article; the painful kick starts again. And round and round we go.

*Read this piece on the mental health science of homosexuality.

Sév is a bitterballen of contradictions. Happy 2nd anniversary, Jane!