Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is hard enough on any level, especially when dealing with environments that are already hostile towards you. But how much harder is it to be a member of the LGBT community and a member of a faith community with very strong conservative anti-LGBT views?
I came across this article about a gay Imam, a Muslim religious teacher, who is trying to help LGBT Muslims find a safe balance between the teachings of the Quran and their self-identity and sexuality. From what I have come to know and understand about the general perceptions of Islam and homosexuality and Islam’s relationship with the transgender community, Islam is relatively strict and straightforward in their opposition and discomfort or outright dislike of the LGBT population– however, this is a general view and does not speak of the few Muslim groups and communities that are exceptions to this. There are groups out there looking to reconcile differences and bridge divides and offer safe spaces and safe places for worship.
Young LGBT people are especially vulnerable to violence and bigotry and when you add into the mix racism and xenophobia or anti-Islamic fear mongering and hatred, it becomes a nearly impossible environment for a young LGBT Muslim to live in and tolerate. Day to day the threat of violence must be hanging over them like a shroud. It would be even more unbearable if the one community that could offer them sanctuary and peace of mind as well as support is the very same community that shuns them for being LGBT.
I think the religious communities of the world have to re-evaluate their mission goals and their most fundamental beliefs when it comes to love, charity, compassion, kindness, and hospitality. You just can’t be a religion of love and compassion if you are excluding people or restricting people from wanting to express and practice their faith.