As a white, middle class gay man from a Christian background1, it’s easy to forget what other LGBT people who face further problems due to other bases for marginalization they may face. It was with this in mind that I read a Washington Post article about the experiences of people attending a Pennsylvania retreat for LGBT Muslims.
The article brought home the whole concept of intersectionality and why it’s important when they quoted one attended:
“On the one hand, I was bullied at school for being a Muslim,” said Alam. “On the other, I was worried my parents and other Muslims wouldn’t accept me for being gay.”
When there are multiple prejudice-based reasons for people to hate or mistreat you, the number of people who will accept you for all of who you are shrinks even more. That’s something that’s easy to forget for some of us. (We mustn’t forget, no matter how easy it is.)
Of course, it’s also easy for many of us who have fought with the dominant religious culture in our society — Christianity — over our worth as human beings who happen to be part of a sexual minority to forget that there are those LGBT people among us who are having those same exact fights within their own minority religions. How well do we support them in that fight, I wonder. (Not very well, I suspect.)
I highly encourage everyone to go read the Post article. It gives a brief description of what the retreat meant to and has done for a handful of those who attended. I really have nothing else to say, other than, “Listen to them.”
(Related: I also highly recommend watching A Jihad for Love, a documentary about the lives and struggles of LGBT Muslims worldwide.)
1While it’s true that I’m now part of a religious minority, I think that the fact that I started life and spend over two decades as a part of the mainstream family of religions her in the U.S. still grants me a certain amount of privilege.