The life of a gay Moro is difficult. The eyes of our family and society are all on us. And the eyes of Islam, the religion of our upbringing, judges us heavily. In their interpretation of Islam, we are “haram”—our feelings are dirty and forbidden. Gay Moros and their inner selves have no place in the “ummah”—the community of Muslims—because in this society, there are only two genders in the eyes of God. And so we are forced to pretend and hide from their cruel eyes.
The challenge is great: how do we fight the eyes of Islam, the eyes of God? How do we show our struggles? How do we face them so that they better understand our plight?
In our experience, the value of faith in our activism cannot be ignored. We must face the eyes of God: in order for society to understand our hardship, they must understand the influence of religion on culture—and of course, the influence of culture on religion.
The LGBTQ+ community tends to suffer all manner of discrimination, and a great part of this comes from the way people read and understand their religion. But there are also many Muslims who love their fellow LGBTQ+ people, and that their defence of our rights is based on their faith—to them, the eyes of God are the eyes of justice and love.
The problem lies in the confusion of what is truly the word of our faith, and what is merely the whims of culture and history—confusing the word of human beings for the word of God. Is it true that gay Moros like us have no place in the “ummah”? Is this what God sees, or what human beings see?
We believe that the struggles of the LGBTQ+ people and their suffering in the hands of a cruel society is not only based on the question of human rights, but is also based on our faith as Muslims.
In the Quran, it is written: “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is evil: They are the ones to attain victory” (Sura 3, 104). Those who hurt us always look at the word “evil”, but we turn to the word “good”: our struggle for the rights of gay Moros is also a struggle for a true faith that embodies love for every person.
And we believe that a time will come where we will be accepted and loved fully, and that true love and justice may be victorious for all.