You Can Be Queer And Muslim — Don’t Let The Media Lie To You

Well, it’s pretty obvious that being queer alone is hard and my religion’s view towards my (LGBTQ+) community is adding the weight to my closeted queer self. I identify myself as a pansexual, gender-fluid human being, and a Muslim although I’m not religious at all still, I know several things about my religion. I find it really hard to keep my sexual orientation hidden because I am surrounded with mild religious environment, my families from both sides are kinda strict with all the ‘westernized’ stuffs (as they thought that being queer have something to do with Western’s culture that we grow up knowing) and simultaneously being an expressive, open-minded, liberal (that’s something they would say about me) person I am.

I openly talk about the LGBT’s issues and I do too openly, at least to my friends, supports the movements and the LGBT’s rights (even though I kinda tone it down a bit because several people at my school starts to suspects me, but trust me, I am not ashamed of who I am, It just that I’m not ready to come out yet). I was confronted by my parents’ opinions towards my community, they are against the idea of being queer and everything and it just makes me so scared to even think to come out as a queer to them. I’m pretty positive that they’ll be mad at me because I know how much they hate my community. Hate is a strong word, I know but it’s the reality here.

I heard a lot of stories about queer Muslims here in Indonesia, like this one, for example, my cousin has a gay Muslim friend who got spiritually healed (or as they called it in my religion, Ruqyah)  and his parents’ wished that would make him a heterosexual man his parents thought he was once, but surprise surprise It didn’t work at all and he is still gay as he ever been.

I went to Jakarta’s Women’s March earlier this year and I was shocked by how many people there were also marching for the LGBT’s community in Indonesia, there were even teenage girls with hijab and khimar waving the pride flags around whilst shouting demand of equality and justice. I felt so happy and widely accepted by them, I felt like coming home (even though it’s not LGBTQ+ Pride March but kinda felt like it), I did not need to hide there, I simply expressed myself freely, it was a beautiful day.

Another tearing up moment is when I was scrolling through my Tumblr’s dashboard I was a gifset of Kadena (a ship on “The Bold Type.”), I freaked out and spent a good ten minutes calming myself down because another new F/F ship (which means new tv shows to watch and new ship to ship, new fanfictions to read, new female actresses to fangirl over) and the best thing is that a queer Muslim in an actual tv show, oh my dear god, I teared up because it was the first time I saw a representation of me (hashtag FirstTimeISawMe) in a tv show! Adena El-Amin, who identifies as a lesbian Muslim feminist, portrayed by the beautiful Pakistani-Canadian actress, Nikohl Boosheri. Bless that show.

It’s still and it will always be hard but I am sure that as the times goes by, society will start to accept the community, and you, you will start to accept and love yourself.

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Written by
Djuna Kanewa

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