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LGBTQ Muslims in the Family: Pathways to Understanding

Family is the natural environment where a person grows up and learns about love and trust. But for many LGBTQ Muslims, instead of support and reliance from their loved ones, they encounter rejection, even overt aggression. The purpose of this article is to face the truth and outline concrete steps so the situation can change for the better.

The Roots of Rejecting LGBTQ People in Muslim Communities

In Islamic doctrine, homosexuality is condemned based on certain fragments of the Quran and Hadiths referring to the “sin of the people of Lot.” LGBTQ identity is seen as a deviation from moral principles, as detailed in the evolution of views on LGBT in various religious. Therefore, the attitude of Muslim clergy is predictably harsh and critical. But there are also more liberal interpretations, based on the humanistic tenet of the Quran that human diversity is connected to Allah’s design.

The Risks of Coming Out in a Muslim Family

In such an ambiguous religious and cultural environment, revealing one’s homosexuality or transgender identity to loved ones is extremely dangerous. The fear of being rejected, subjected to violence, losing home and connections with dear people – all this forces LGBTQ Muslims to live a lie, to feel ashamed of themselves. Many prefer to flee their home country rather than risk their life and health.

Concealing One’s Identity Leads to Stress and Depression

Prolonged self-denial and suppression of one’s nature cannot pass without consequences. This leads to painful symptoms: chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and depression. LGBTQ Muslims are 4 times more likely to die by suicide – and this is just the tip of the iceberg of unbearable suffering. Many seek help from psychologists and psychotherapists to cope with the identity crisis.

How Family Can Help an LGBTQ Child Adapt

Prejudices and pressure from the Muslim community play a fateful role in the lives of its LGBTQ members. But it is the family itself that can become that island of acceptance and psychological comfort that lends strength. Unfortunately, not all parents are ready to cast aside stereotypes and love their children unconditionally. What does this require?

  1. Objective information about LGBTQ people. Many Muslim families only know about homosexuality from biased sources. Scientific data on the nature of gender and sexual identity, their role in mental health, can provide a good basis for rethinking.
  2. Dialogue with LGBTQ activists. Personal communication with those who have gone through this thorny path of rejection and violence can open one’s eyes to the realities and pain of LGBTQ people. It is important to establish communication from both sides.
  3. Reliance on the humanistic values of Islam. Muslims should recall that the Quran preaches mercy, compassion, protection of the oppressed. These principles are incompatible with discrimination against people based on orientation or gender identity.
  4. Psychological support. LGBTQ Muslims vitally need resources like hotlines, chats, and self-help forums. There, they can share experiences with like-minded people. This is their lifeline in an ocean of misunderstanding from society.

Examples of Positive Changes in LGBTQ-Friendly Muslim Families

Fortunately, among Muslims there are also those who have found the wisdom and strength to accept their LGBTQ children. Their stories should become a model for others to follow.

Amina and Mahdi – a Muslim couple from Tunisia. When their son came out as gay, the parents were shocked. But love for their child prevailed over social conventions. They not only maintained a warm relationship with their son, but also stood up for LGBTQ rights by participating in educational work.

Another bright example is Zainab Ali, a Muslim woman from Great Britain. Her son came out at 14. Although Zainab grew up in a conservative Pakistani family, she did not condemn her son. On the contrary, the woman did everything possible to defend his right to be himself against attacks from relatives. Over time, she managed to turn the minds of many Muslims toward understanding and tolerance.

Such stories are a ray of light in the darkness of ignorance and hatred that still permeates the atmosphere surrounding LGBTQ people in Muslim communities, as detailed in the article on the history of LGBTQ in Islam. But it is clear that change is possible even in the most traditional families. If loved ones are ready to love their child unconditionally and go against dogmas for their happiness.

7 Steps for Muslim Families on the Path to Understanding LGBTQ Loved Ones

Not every parent immediately succeeds in truly accepting their child’s non-traditional orientation or gender identity. Alas, the first reaction is often shock, anger, rejection and accusations. This is a psychological defense against the breaking of the accustomed worldview. But over time, acquiring more knowledge and experience communicating with LGBTQ people, one can traverse the path to understanding. Here are specific steps:

  1. Accept the state of shock as a natural reaction. Give yourself time to regain balance, seek outside psychological help if needed. The main thing – don’t rush events, so impulsive actions don’t later lead to regret.
  2. Find the strength to tell your loved one: “I still love you.” Even if you yourself are not yet ready to fully accept them. This will protect them from feeling totally lost and guilty for who they are.
  3. Immerse yourself in the topic from different angles: scientific literature, personal stories of LGBTQ people. The more accurate information you get, the faster myths and fears will dissipate.
  4. If possible, talk to LGBTQ activists and parents of LGBTQ children. Live conversations and the experience of those who have already traveled this path will help you better than any theory.
  5. Don’t rush to share the news with a wide circle of relatives. You first need to digest it thoroughly within the family and develop a common approach. Otherwise, it can lead to conflicts and broken relationships.
  6. Rely on the Quran’s main humanistic commandments – compassion, tolerance, mercy, refusal to judge others. This will help reconcile beliefs and love for your child.
  7. Respect the right to personal boundaries and disinterest in private life details. Your role is to support self-determination and the happiness of your loved one, not to control.


So the situation of LGBTQ people in Muslim families often looks bleak and hopeless. But this is not a life sentence. Although changes are occurring slowly for now, progress is possible even in the most conservative environment. As soon as one family finds the wisdom and kindness to look at an LGBTQ child not through the prism of dogma, but through the prism of parental love – this is already a breach in the wall of ignorance. And a ray of hope for thousands of young people forced to conceal their identity.