Monday, June 29, 2009

Read at your own risk :: Gay Pride Parade

I know this is a very controversial topic. Hence the title read at your own risk. And please if you don't agree or don't like what I'm saying. Try to respect our differences and if you're to leave a comment . Try to be nice. ( I am really worried. But I am blogging about it anyway. Even though my husband advised me not to!)

Once upon a time, I came to a foreign land where norms and cultures differ drastically from my own. I was raised in a somewhat conservative culture, compared to the west. (Egypt compared to other Arab countries can be seen as quite open. Everything is relative, right?)
Women in Egypt can wear tight clothing as long as they don't show flesh. Or at least in some neighborhoods. We aren't known to have gender segregation as is the norm in other Arab countries.

Being gay in Egypt though, is not even to be spoken of. If you happen to be gay in Egypt then you definitely keep it in the closet. If there's a hint or suspicion. You can easily get beaten and cast out. If you drink alcohol or have premarital sex( this applies only to men) on the other hand, well lets just say, it's not considered that much of a big deal ( Drinking alcohol, engaging in homosexual relations and premarital sex are all major sins in Islam.)

That said-I have never openly seen a gay person before ( I mean sure there were a lot of rumors and speculations about certain people we knew. But no one could freely come out as a gay person) until I came to this country.

After I had my first born, I started attending a new mommies group in Madison WI. Amongst the mommies, there were two gay mommy couple. Needless to say I was shocked! And to add to my confusion- all the other mommies embraced the couple immediately, and were appalled by how they were mistreated ( discriminated against, if you will) by their own parents. I didn't know of any other way to think at the time except to agree with the parents and ricochet their thoughts: the little poor baby is going to definitely be messed up for life. Two mommies raising a baby ( that can't be normal!)

This was me three summers ago. I don't hold that opinion anymore. After discussions upon discussions with my ever so patient, American husband. I have come around ( and if you're an Egyptian reading this, don't roll your eyes yet. I'm explaining my point in a second)
How many kids do you know got raised by their aunts, grandma's, or other women in the absence of a father and turned out just fine? Even more, how many kids got raised by a single parent and turned out swell? ( Are you getting my point. Not really... Oh well, I tried)

What I'm trying to say is- being gay doesn't by default make one a bad parent. Actually there are many horrible straight parents out there that without doubt mess up their kids.

( for the record I don't approve of Homosexual relationships. As I mentioned earlier it's prohibited in Islam.)

Being gay doesn't mean you're a bad parent or person for that matter. A gay person is a human being. He/she can be a good parent or a bad one. That's what I have come to realize after living in this country. (Traveling and living in a different country is a good thing. It opens up the mind in ways you can never imagine. If you've never done it. Try it. You can only gain. Trust me.)

Yesterday, was, I guess the National Gay Pride Parade day. If I had only known!

So I was minding my own business, and clueless-ly walking around dressed in an Arabian style black "Abaya" ( a traditional flow-y dress like garment that Arabian women wear) and a white beaded head scarf ( apparently screaming for attention, since most people in the street were half naked. I seriously thought there was a beach event somewhere 'cause people were wearing what seemed to my untrained eyes like some sort of an ostentatious, swimwear costume.)

As I was pushing my big red, double, jogging stroller, with both my girls strapped inside. Two obviously gay men, appeared in front of me. Dressed in super tight, super short, super sparkly, hot shorts. Complimented by a tight t-shirt, bunched up in the middle of their chests, with an eighties style big knot. Resulting in a view of way too much skin than I care to see.

One of them jumped really close to me. Made a wailing girl-y hand movement while breaking a high pitched shriek, then hopped back next to his partner.( I guess he was pretending to be scared of me or something, who knows?) I freaked out for a second, but managed to keep my cool. Later, I learned that it was Gay Pride Parade day. Go figure!

Here's the thing. I am not against someone being gay. I can relate somehow, since they're a minority and I have experienced being a minority in this country.

I will add by saying that (God forbids) But, if one of my girls turned out to be gay. I would without hesitation embrace her. I know It will be very disappointing, because it would mean a pretty different life with a big challenge for us both( May God protect us). But nonetheless she's still my daughter.

Being gay doesn't contradict with being a Muslim. One can be Muslim and Gay. But not act on it. ( According to Islamic law- It's forbidden for a male or female gay person to get married to the opposite sex or any sex for that matter, because it would be unfair to the other person. I know that because I read it in *Hedaya Hartford's Islamic marriage book.)

What I am against is going out in public and provoking people. I know I am probably failing drastically at conveying a lot of points. And I will never succeed at doing so.
So here's an article doing a much better job at some of what I'm trying to convey. Here's a cynical and exaggerated one by the onion.

I'm pretty sure I should've taken my husbands advice. I just wanted some to see the picture through the other perspective.

I'll end with a quote my husband said, in response to a question asked by a Gay listener. He was giving a talk about Islam in an Unitarian Church in Madison WI.

"Homosexual acts, are prohibited in Islam, and are sinful. But Disobeying one's parents is a much bigger sin."




I apologize, if I have offended anyone. This post was meant as a reflection on unfamiliar encounters. It is not aimed at/ or meant to offend anyone.

I also apologize for my poor writing skills. I should've edited and re-edited, and I keep seeing all these mistakes. Alas, what's done is done. I don't have time for a better quality piece. Sorry!


*Hedaya Hartford

Known for her Sharia expertise on women's issues regarding the fiqh of menstruation, lochia, marriage, divorce, and modern social issues, Ustadha Hedaya holds a B.A. in Arabic and Islamic History & Culture from the University of California, Berkeley. She converted to Islam in 1981, and soon after traveled to Egypt, where she studied for many years with Azhari scholars. She continued her studies in Syria, completing several books with top scholars, and now lives, teaches, and studies in Amman. Ustadha Hedaya has published two popular books on marriage and one book on women’s fiqh issues.

( copied from her bio. on Sunnipath)


Qalballah said...

I think that was a balanced blog and you have the right to your own opinions. We are getting hunded in this day and age to give up our opinions.

I too got caught up in a gay pride in London. It was most annoying - I'd gone up to London for the day to visit the masjid and when I left the station I could move for people. I pulled a face of annoyance because getting around London at the best of times is a PITA; of course the touchy partipants thought I was pulling a face at their sexual orientation and two threw beer cans at me. Lovely. Covered in beer trying to make it to the masjid.

They make a religion out of their sexual orientation, force us to accept it then act like animals on the street. What really is to like?

I feel sorry for those quiet, normal gay people who would get emabrrassed by these antics...

saritta202 said...

My favorite part was when you were saying that you can relate because gay people are a minority and that you have experienced how it is being minority.

However I still think that gay people are better embraced than muslims are in many non-muslim countries.

I'm sure that wasn't the point of your post, but it made me think.

Another Anna said...

Thank you for your clear, calm explanation of your beliefs. They aren't the same as my own, but I appreciate the chance to share viewpoints in a respectful and thoughtful way!

I think your point about parenting is excellent, and it's a much more practical issue to focus on than whether or not homosexual acts are sinful!

Kate said...

This is why I love reading your blog, my friend. Honesty and thoughtfulness always shine through in whatever topic you are writing about (but especially in those "tough" topics like this one) and to me, that's the heart of God talking.