Yesterday I attended the memorial of a gay Muslim man who sadly passed away recently. As a favour to a friend (who knew the man but was unable to attend) I agreed to say a few words as part of an interfaith service. There was a vicar, a trainee rabbi, a Hindu representative and me.
The event was just mind-blowing. The love that everyone shared for this man was beautiful to see. His partner spoke with such courage and passion about his true love. His friends shared their stories and there was so much joy and happiness in the room.
I spoke about my journey as a gay Muslim. I talked about the messages of love in the Quran and how being true to one’s nature is not a sin. I talked about the challenges of homophobia and transphobia within Muslim communities and the rejection and isolation that can come from this. I ended with a reminder of the progress we have made and will continue to make and the hope that has to stay alive.
It was an emotionally draining experience but such an affirming one. The room was full with people who this man had touched in some way. They all talked about his generosity of spirit. The love in the room, while invisible, was tangible. Such a profound experience for me. It made me think about how I live my life and whether I always live it to the fullest and with the kindness and generosity I should. It was a sombre reminder to be the best one can be, for if God does exist, I think they’ll care so much about my the way I treated others.
I cannot believe it is coming up to two years since I moved to London. I’ve had some really good times:
-sense of community with lgbt muslims
-got a good job
-got a promotion at end of my first year
-knowing who I am and what I want
-finally come out to some family
Count the blessings.
Conversation with the eldest sister re: me being a big gay were a tad difficult for me. She didn’t realise I was so set in my ways. She thought she’d be able to convince me to not go down the gay path…she’s going to pray for my soul and while she won’t disown me she can’t support what I’m doing.
It seems like whenever i return to my old bedroom I get the urge to tumble again.
Today’s update: I came out to my sisters. That has gone well so far. I wanted to do it before I turned 25 and it happened. Not sure how I feel but it’s done now. They have a lot of questions which is understandable. I just have to remember they need patience and time to adjust.
So it’s now well over a year since I made the move to London. Even though at times I think not much has changed, I know I’ve changed a lot as a person.
I guess the biggest things that have happened were passing my teacher training course and getting my first teaching job. It’s something I always wanted to do and I’m so glad I got the chance to do it.
I’ve also made some amazing friendships which I’m so thankful for. I’m happy in London, even though at times it can be a very lonely place. I’m not sure I’ll stay here forever, but for now it’s the right place for me.
Tomorrow I move flats again so that I’m closer to work. I don’t want to live near work but financially it makes so much sense and I’ll be closer to a lot of friends so I’m definitely happy about that.
There were also some sad events this year but that’s life and those experiences are something to learn from. Those events have meant that I’ve had to take a step back from keeping in touch with some of the people I love in order for me to deal with them. So this coming year I want to concentrate on spending more time with friends and keeping in touch. I also want to start dating more. Hopefully some lovely guy will ask me out! If that fails, i may have to ask them out myself!
Finally, I want to do more things for myself. Things I maybe was too scared to do because I was afraid of what family might think.
And to kick it off, yesterday I got my ear pierced on the spur of the moment!
Tomorrow marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week 2013 in the UK.
1 in 4 of the general UK population experiences a mental health problem each year. The LGBTQI community is particularly prone to issues with mental health and as such I think it’s all the more important to talk about in this space.
The Mental Health Foundation is running their annual campaign and it’s a great time to remind each other of the importance of looking after our mental health and general well-being.
Follow this link for more information of this year’s campaign:http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek/
Follow this link for information on getting help if you’re struggling with mental health issues: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/getting-help/?view=Standard
As always, our Advice Centre has links to info on dealing with depression and getting help if you’re feeling suicidal.
Inshallah this finds you all in the best of health,