South Africa: Brave Conversations Needed About LGBTQI+ Muslims


For me and other progressive Muslims, excluding LGBTQI+ persons from the faith goes against another deeply embedded part of Islam – inclusion and compassionate justice against all systems of oppression, even the ones that cause straight Muslims discomfort.

I saw a tweet the other day by a South African Muslim saying that there is no such thing as LGBTQI+ Muslims. That LGBTQI+ Muslims who claim their queer identity and their religion don’t know what Islam involves and that it’s not open for discussion. I haven’t used a direct quote nor embedded the tweet; the person is not a public persona so I have no interest in shining a spotlight on them. I do, though, want to talk about the ideas expressed.

I believe the Muslim community in South Africa – as elsewhere – needs to have some brave conversations about LGBTQI+ Muslims.

I know what Islam teaches us about gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer people. A lot of the time it’s not even taught as a “must not do” because it’s such a given that it is “wrong”. I know the Quran and Hadith and Shariah are cited when Islamic leaders condemn same-sex or any non-heteronormative relationships. I know that…