Kindness and great advice for a Muslim gay man in distress

I came across the following advice on a blog I follow on Tumblr. It is advice which touches me and strikes me as just so kind, and I want very much to put it here, because it’s a great example of compassion. My fantasy is that every single one of my Muslim relative, friend, colleague, feel the same way as the writer does, and that I know about it, so that I can shake off this awkward feeling that I don’t quite belong with them, that my life is quite separate from them. I think I end up being a bit aloof with them, as some sort of defense mechanism. It makes me sad when I think about it. I don’t know why I’m like that.

The Tumblr blog is Arabswagger. I remember thinking it’s a cute name when I first came across the blog perhaps over a year ago. I also wasn’t expecting more than what I usually come across on Tumblr, which are normally things like beautiful and interesting images, and quotes, frequently artistically and prettily presented. Well, don’t let the name fool you as it did me. The writer does share a lot like the above via posts and reblogs, and these are already very interesting as he covers ‘Arab style’ in so many things like traditional clothing, architecture, poetry, art, calligraphy, fashion, food, interior design, music, etc.

What I really enjoy though are his insight and perspective on a variety of subjects. He takes on questions from anonymous submitters asking his opinion on various aspects of Islam and Arab culture. I also recall ‘questions’ which were really just hostile attacks on him and his blog, but he takes these on with a no-nonsense approach. He doesn’t lash out but neither does he pander or persuade them to change their mind, he just answers them sensibly, with an even tone, and sometimes throws in his wry sense of humour.

Anyway, this is the advice he imparted on this post. Just for the record, unlike the anon asker, I am perfectly fine with being gay. But he’s not, and the advice he got about the need to accept himself and not to be ashamed of himself, well it’s a thing of beauty.

Anonymous asked: Assalamu aleykum; I need a piece of advice from you.. The thing is that I am a muslim man attracted to men, and I feel horrible about myself, it doesn’t matter how much I pray and ask Allah for a change in this lifestyle, I can’t help looking at men in a different way.. I really don’t want this to lead to a more serious problem, So what should I do?

Waleikum Al Salam. My brother, before anything I want you to understand that you have nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing “mentally” deranged about you or even perverted, you are feeling something natural that even the Prophet(S) identified could be a desire in the heart of every man or woman towards their own gender. You aren’t going to change this lifestyle or your mentality, but I need you to understand how to handle it or how to channel it.

As much as I can berate you with the “sinfulness” of Homosexuality, I don’t feel someone in your position wants to have more salt on the wound.

Everything in life can be categorized as Forbidden or Allowed, and this is characterized by the general positive or negative effects that this act has. Although one person may “sin” and not reap any general negative effects on themselves, Islam is a collective guide to mankind and it is not a circumstantial message to every individual, only God judges one by their circumstance and is merciful upon them in that manner. That being said, when individuals compare Heterosexual sex to Homosexual sex, one must understand that one is only Haram outside the realm of marriage, whereas sodomy is Haram as an act itself, whether between men or women.

I need you to accept that this is a part of who you are, not something to be ashamed of, but rather to understand that this is the very challenge God has put upon you to avoid, and as much as this might seem “unfair” that this is your challenge, I often think that this can actually be a gateway to heaven for you and the reason God could bestow his utmost mercy because you withheld this desire for him.

Every individual is given this type of Challenge or Balaa’, no one has it easier than another person, and if they have it harder, in the greater picture of Existence, God loves you in a manner he chooses to cleanse you through these challenges. Some individuals are sex addicts, some love the consumption of alcohol, and many often are actually lazy to pray or wish to avoid it, which I feel is the biggest challenge God can give to a person.

I really would like to pray that you can be strong in this realm, and please try to channel your energies towards the good. May the peace and blessings be upon you.

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Image, not related to post, from arabswagger.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

And, I just have to include another one here, from this post:

Anonymous asked: what do you think of the gays or trans people?

This is written so offensively.

I don’t have a generalizing opinion on any group of people because I don’t view individuals through their subscriptions to a lifestyle, religious identity or even gender identity; I treat people like how they should be treated: with dignity and respect.

What a guy, the man behind Arabswagger. I admire him.

The G0Y movement. My first impression

I stumbled upon this some time ago on the net. Reading ‘Awash in Lies’ by Bill Weintraub was probably the first time I came across the term ‘G0Y’.

I don’t want to diss something that may actually be helping other guys. Including some masculine gay guys who don’t want to call themselves gay anymore because the effeminate gays call themselves gay and the musculine gay guys are going all ‘eww, no. We’re so not like that!’ and so they want to call themselves something else.

The following is just my opinion. First impression. It’s important I emphasize that because I have not put in the time and effort to study it properly. I haven’t even read the entire website (NSFW)

That was a struggle because it soon it felt like my eyeballs were burning and melting in their sockets. Such a bewildering layout of information. So much information. An entire labyrinth of info competing for the reader’s attention. It feels like a school project. Constructed by a student high on something and talking gibberish, all schizo and flailing arms wildly, excitedly.

I imagine that’s how it’s like if  a bunch of arty wordy types get together to create a Lord of the Rings or Avatar type of book or movie script, where it’s not just about characters and plot, but cities and entire races of people, languages, rituals. A whole new world. Or a cult. Or an elitist club.

This is from their website:

What’s a G0Y?
Short Version
It comes up in chat rooms and conversations more & more: “That G0Y thing.”  Everybody wants to comment without anyone seeming to actually read the website … so, I’ve put this page up to TRY to explain (once again) what a g0y is:

G0YS (Spelled with a ZER0) are guys who find men physically & emotionally attractive, but (for whatever reason) are offended with the stigmas that currently define the ‘gay community’ in the public psyche.  G0YS recognize that the prominent facets of the “gay-male” community tend to embrace every gender-bending act, fetish & affectation; –And include those things in the general specter of the image that “gay” projects publicly.  The easiest to observe example is the commonly used acronym “GLIT” (sometimes “GLIB”) meaning Gay, Lesbian, Intersexed, Transgendered (or BiSexual).  The fact that “GAY” is grouped with “Intersexed & Transgendered” is evidence to our primary point showing what the term “GAY” has morphed into.  G0YS reject those associations completely & consider it a form of gender-prejudice against men who love men.

Behaviorally: Anal-sex is innately shunned by g0ys – as it represents the ultimate form of sexual disrespect whether male/male or male/female.  Other distasteful stereotypes include (but are not limited to): Effeminate behavior, extreme passivity (like cowardice) & drag.  G0YS don’t call other men “girl”, “bitch”, “queen”, etc.  You probably get the idea.

G0YS also reject (due to well developed theology), the lax & lazy prejudices that have arisen in conservative fundamentalist circles against all same-gender sexuality.  In Christian circles, this travesty has arisen due to the extremely sloppy exegesis (& outfight fraud) of (6) verses of Scripture, w. a total failure to rightfully divide the Word.  This becomes quite apparent when the theme of the New Testament is held up as a standard, & these anti same-gender teachings are examined in light of that theme. Very briefly, Romans chapter (1) is a scathing commentary exposing temple prostitution & Anal-sex (Women w. men, & men w. men; — N0T what is called ‘homo-sex’).  This is made very clear by other writings of Saul/Paul himself, & a warning from Peter about those who would misinterpret Paul’s writings.  Paul writes that those who did these things received within themselves the due penalty for their perverse behavior – & that penalty was death.  Likewise, G0YS point out that Anal-Sex is the mechanism for the EXPLOSIVE SPREAD of Sexually Transmitted Diseases over the globe – many deadly.  The anus is not a sexual organ (genital) & treating it as such violates Moses’ command “Not to bear false witness“.  Scripture teaches that one of the very foundations of the faith involves “repentance from acts that lead to death“.   G0YS believe that changing the meaning of the Romans (1) from being against anal-sex, to a focus on (& against) ‘homo-sex’, -simultaneously adds & deletes from the canon of Scripture; & carries the ultimate penalty for perverting the gospel.

And the following is from the SAME page, where there’s even more other info:

Why ‘G0Y’ — spelled with a ZER0? What’s up with that? Because the g0y movement was created as a departure from stereotype; — A term was needed that had some meaning behind it, while being simple enough for people to remember; — plus stir some curiosity. Because the movement also was designed to eviscerate abusive religion (primarily fundamentalism in it’s many forms), the term needed to have foundations in Scripture as well (Because there are now “gAy affirming churches”, the term needed to confront sloppy theology that supports “everything gAy” — including Anal). How was this all accomplished? Read on…

Ancient Hebrew, (the language the Torah & rest of the Old Testament was written in), – is an amazing language. In its original written form, it has no vowels. They are inferred. If we were to adopt the same technique for English, the words:
gAy
gUy
gOy (In Hebrew, the term “goy” applies to a non-Hebrew person — foreign national)
… would all be spelled: GY; & the reader would place the vowel upon speaking based on context. Well, since English is NOT Hebrew, people might not “get it”. However, something else also came to light … and that was the fact that the Apostle Paul wrote that G0D chose the “thing which is N0T” to “NULLIFY things which are”. He basically explained that G0D used the power of a ZER0 to establish His new covenant by canceling out the written code that stood in opposition to us. This worked out well, because by inserting a ‘0’ between the ‘G_Y’, – the “A” in “GAY” was essentially zeroed out (see … N0 Anal) and the new term formed was 3 characters & looks like it should be pronounced “goy” (a Hebrew term that rhymes with “toy” & fits context perfectly) However, this new term is not really designed to be spoken, but rather EXPLAINED. So you see, this new term has some intellectual backing & some rich history!

It’s like a college course! Why be a simpleton and just look into your heart and find who you are there and what you like and love, when you can be all clever about it and feel smug and secure that what you are has ‘intellectual backing and some rich history’! Don’t you feel better and validated now?

What I’ve gathered about the G0Ys. So far. As stated earlier, I have much to read and study about them before I can make more informed and fair conclusions:

1. G0Ys include gay guys who do not relate to the term ‘Gay’. (Ok, fine.) Some may have feelings for women (bisexual, then) ‘but also deal with internal issues arising from the fact that they also have affections for other guys too‘. (Closeted? Ok, nothing wrong with that. To each his own whether to come out or not.)

2. They want nothing whatsoever to do with gender-bending, cross-dressing, or other effeminate stuff. (Fine. But who says you have to, whether you’re gay or straight or whatever?)

3. They don’t water down religious texts to justify being attracted to men. (Ok, good for them. But who says gay people in general do this? And whatever you do, well when it comes to reconciling our faiths to our sexual preference, it’s all personal and private. To each his own)

4. They think they are being respectful because they do not sacrifice their masculinity to love other men. (What has respect got to do with being masculine? And as far as I’m concerned, respect has to be mutual.)

5. The person/s behind the movement is/are prejudiced against Islam. As shown on this page. Tsk tsk. *sigh*

6. It’s youth-oriented, which is hilarious, because it makes the movement seem like some kind of a high school jock club. There are pictures of young cute buff guys all over the website. There’s even a page urging you to stop whining if you can’t get a date and go hit the gym instead! Ok, that’s good advice. But seriously, the following are some excerpts from that page dedicated to urging followers to muscle up. Yes, all the following gems are from one single page, and to top it off it’s called fatisbad.htm :

– You may indeed have a great personality, but with men — love is connected to sex.  After all: How is the guy going to get to know you have a great personality until you hook up? 

– Fat is EVIL

– Almost every guy with low body-fat can easily hook up.

– As a rule of thumb, the older you are, the more muscle guys expect to see on you.

– Sexual attraction begins when we discover adult traits in youth & end when the youth can no longer be found in the adult!

– Little Helps:  As you work toward your goal/s, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with cosmetic assists.  Lots of men are opting for pec & calf implants these days.  If you’re working out & are willing to pay the price, — these can help you get to the appearance you want quicker.

– Mo Munny:  It’s a proven fact that good look’n dudes pull in more bucks — no matter what they do.

– So you’re young:   I’ve probably heard a 100+ guys say it: They wish they started working out while they were in their teens.  Guys who start early live with an advantages of looking good — often never knowing the hardships of the average or ugly!

– Have you ever seen a homeless male model?  No!  

– Thinking about “coming out g0y”?  Hit the gym hard for at least 6 months before you do.

– Remember, being built physically tells about your personality & ability to discipline yourself.  Anyone thinking about giving you the keys to the condo is going to want to see those traits.

– It’s a cruel world out there & being a dude who’s in shape with youth on his side is a powerful subliminal negotiating tool — especially to other g0ys who are more interested in building quality relationships than one-night stands

And this last bit I’m quoting here is the most disturbing of all:

– Being young & getting in shape has the advantages above & gives you a jump into life that keeps you ahead of the curve.  I once knew a 14 yo who was picking up 16+ yo’s (…in a legal jurisdiction of course … wink, wink).

It’s really strange to me, this G0Y stuff. The people who wrote the website, the above especially… must be really REALLY messed up in the head!!

I choose not to do anal, for my own personal reasons, and I’m not effeminate. But that’s all I have in common with these G0Y guys. I’m really against putting down effeminate guys. They have a right to be whatever they want to be too. In fact, I have a lot of respect for them. If anything, it takes balls to be effeminate or a drag queen, and not give a fuck about the inevitable abuse. So in that sense, drag queens are more ‘manly’, more courageous than many of us other gay men. Many of us can only talk about courage, and talk is cheap. But drag queens and other effeminate men are living examples of courage.