LGBTQ – How To Handle Your Children’s Questions
Loving Your Queer Muslim Child Without Reconciling Religion
In the age of intersectionality, homosexuality, intersexuality, transgender and/or gender fluidity are not new in the Muslim community. However, contrary to popular belief or the comments on our most recent posts, discussing these LGBTQ topics is not glamorizing sin, nor is it un-Islamic.
Let’s push the pause button and read that again. S-L-O-W-L-Y.
There is no hidden agenda in the queer community, in the West, and certainly not on our podcast, to convert or confuse our Muslim children thereby leading them astray from Islam. If anything, we are trying to make sure our collective kids don’t continue to leave religion in droves because we have pushed them away from Allah. How do we, the stewards of their religious practice, turn them away from the deen? To summarize all the ways we do it, it is by rejecting their right to choose. There is no compulsion in religion, and who can mislead one whom Allah has guided?
As Muslim parents, we believe that children are responsible for their spiritual decisions after a point. Not all of those decisions are going to reflect ours, yet Muslim parents are still quick to disinherit children and give them up to the “wayward West and its culture,” especially when they come out to us.
Next, Islamophobia has already proven detrimental to Muslims kids, with CAIR Massachusetts reporting that 61% of our kids are bullied for their religion, with 33% hiding their Muslim identity and 14% uncomfortable even identifying as Muslim.
Add to that their race, ethnicity, and sexual identity or sexuality for which they can be otherized, and it’s no surprise that 0% of Muslims recently surveyed identified as homosexual, 4% as bisexual, 2% “something else,” and 2% refused to answer.
They’re hiding, and whenever we ostracize, otherize or villify them in the masjid and at our kitchen tables, we cut the threads of faith they have in Allah, our community, and in us. Their parents. Worse than hiding or leaving Islam is suicide, which a CDC study this past June reports as the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 34. The rise in suicides among Muslims matches national statistics. If we’d rather our kid die than be queer (LGBTQ), we are part of the problem.
In the event that our kids trust us enough to ask about queerness, or to come out to us, what do we do to be part of the solution? Our experts (queer Muslims) agreed on these 5 tips:
1. DO NOT FREAK OUT!!!
At least not in front of the child. Remember how vulnerable the child is feeling right now. They are the same sweet baby we brought home from the hospital. That will never change, no matter what else about our child does. Answering questions calmly and discussing something we may not agree with models adult behavior to our children, and won’t do make them run and do whatever we freak out about them doing.
2. DON’T BURDEN THE CHILD.
We have 1000 questions, but so does this child! Agree to learn together. By respecting boundaries, we keep the lines of communication open and trust intact. Keep reading to get more help.
3. DON’T TRY TO “PRAY THE LGBTQ AWAY.”
When our heads hit the prayer mat, we pray for strength, compassion, patience, and to always remain on the straight path together with our child. Ya Allah, provide us with the best for us and for our children. And be pleased with whatever Allah SWT decrees for all.
4. DON’T OSTRACIZE THEM.
Denying our child’s identity or cutting them off will not “cure” them. If anything, they will subconsciously weave Muslims with homophobia and may distance themselves from Islam. Isn’t it sad, but true, that it’s people who push believers away from our deen? It’s not God.
5. DO FIND RESOURCES FOR THEM.
Get therapy (not conversion therapy!) individually and together. Connect with other Muslim families who are entering this brand new stage just as we are.
- firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to connect to parents of queer Muslim kids and are terrified of getting all of this wrong. Or if you want 2 mom sisters to hold space for whatever feelings you have, this email is our bat signal.
In sum, our goal is not to offend Muslims or to question Islam. We are simply too nice and too conservative to do either. However, when we invite people to our kitchen table, we do it without exception. ALL are welcome, and they always will be, especially if it’s one of many Muslim people who contact us to ask if Allah still loves them or not. If that makes us “bleeding liberals” or heretics, it’s ultimately Allah SWT we aim to please, not the social media followers. Our intention hasn’t changed, but we pray our level of education about the ummah always does. Ameen.