As a Closeted Gay Muslim

I am a Muslim from Malaysia and I feel so happy and blessed to be one. I am also gay.  

From my understanding, it is illegal to engage in homosexual activities based on the Islamic teachings. Across the globe, it also seems illegal for Muslims to leave Islam. Gay people from Malaysia might be able to get married in non-Islamic countries, but their marriage will not be recognised when they return home. I know that some gay Muslims might struggle to accept their sexuality, considering the religious restrictions that come with this faith. But I have learned to accept all of these at a tender age by simply telling myself that it is what it is. Personally, I don’t feel a strong sense to fight for my gay rights — if I have any. I have somehow made peace with these religious restrictions about my sexuality, because I really want to maintain my relationship with God. That is just so much more important to me.   

However, I am still human. I do get tempted (but I will seek forgiveness later). If a hot guy passes by, I would check him out. If a gay guy that I am into flirts with me — cue Into You by Ariana Grande — I would flirt back. If I pass by a shirtless male model at a Songkran party or at DragCon, I would ask for a picture.

Many people might not necessarily practice what the religion preaches. Islam encourages its followers to look positively towards other people, and not to judge or bad-mouth each other. I feel that even though homosexual activities are prohibited in Islam, it is not wrong to be born gay, or to have the innate feeling towards same-sex individuals. But not everyone is aware of this. A gay man is still a human being nonetheless. This is why I am really against homophobia. 

The stigma towards the queer community in this country can be quite toxic, especially when they are Muslims. Because of this, closeted Muslim gay men in Malaysia are everywhere. Some of us are afraid of losing our families, while others do not want to deal with it in their professional lives, such as workplace discrimination against homosexuality. Also, some of the closeted Muslim gay men tend to marry women due to cultural and religious norms. And I am ready to do so as well (not that I have a girlfriend anyway). Don’t get me wrong. I am still gay. I simply believe that I could perform my duty as a ‘straight’ husband despite my attraction to men. However, whether it will happen depends on God. 

To be honest, I don’t really think much about love at this point of time. Part of me doesn’t know if I will ever find love. I don’t consider myself strictly religious, but I have my own principles — I don’t drink, and I am still a virgin even though I will turn 30 next year. I consider myself a free spirit. Developing my career is the top priority for now. I have been keeping myself busy. I learn new hobbies and remain adventurous in order to stay happy in life. And I still meet up with random strangers from dating apps.

My family does not know that I am gay, and it is a secret that I will carry to the grave. At my previous workplace, I did not talk about my sexuality nor my dating life so that I could work in peace and not have personal matters interfere with my focus during work. But fortunately, I have a small circle of gay friends whom I am open about my sexuality, and they are the people that will stand by me no matter what. I love them so much for being there for me over the years.

So, this is me: a gay Muslim who is sometimes conflicted with his sexuality. But I am still doing a decent job so far by spreading love whenever I can.

— Gay Malay Dude Hiding in Plain Sight