Rainbow Center Shows LGBT Side of Islam

Published: March 17, 2011

The world of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Muslims was brought to light Wednesday in a presentation hosted by the Rainbow Center.

The lecture entitled “Hidden Voices: The Lives of LGBT Muslims,” given by Faisal Alam, is part of the center’s “Out to Lunch” Lecture Series.

Though the presentation was about LGBT Muslims, Alam said he also wanted to paint a different picture of Islam.

“I want to show you another side of Islam,” Alam said.

Alam presented the audience with a slideshow of the often-unseen elements of Muslim life – fashion shows, new bathing suits called burqinis and interfaith dialogue between religious leaders.

Islam is undergoing a transformation regarding the role of women and LGBT individuals, not only within the confines of their own country but also in a religious aspect, said Alam.

Fleurette King, director of the Rainbow Center, said she agreed Islam was becoming more accepting of homosexuality.

King said it takes time, but she has seen more Muslim students in the Rainbow Center than in previous years.

She added how imperative it is to talk about the issues because in every religion there are different levels of acceptance, and the Muslim faith is no exception.

Homosexual Muslims undergo many of the same struggles Christian and Jewish Americans face when trying to come to terms with their sexuality while maintaining their faith.

“Verses of the Quran are used to speak against homosexuality,” Alam said.

Alam showed part of a documentary centered on openly gay Muslims whose lives have been turned upside down since their decision to come out of the closet.

One individual in the film stated she thought her mother was going to tell her family she was dead because it was better than telling them she was gay.

Struggles such as this young woman’s are faced every day in the culturally diverse Muslim community.

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