My journey to be accepted as openly queer forced me to leave Islam and Judaism (religions I was born with) and convert to Christianity. I was looking for a safe zone to be who I am. The idea of Jesus Christ who died for my sins and accepted me as his child attracted me to Christianity. I was hoping to be away from my judgmental Muslim community, unfortunately, I was wrong. That journey of love and acceptance forced me to leave the Christian church because I was too gay for them.
I decided to claim back my Muslim identity later. While I consider myself a practicing Muslim, I am still not fully accepted or acknowledge by my community. In Islam, we are expected to obey our leadership and be fully submissive to their role. We are not allowed to question them, according to the orthodox mentality.
I was hoping that the American or western culture would change that mentality; unfortunately, it didn’t.
Every time I questioned my Muslim community leadership, I see nothing but the rhetoric that I witnessed back in the Middle East, even from those Muslim activists who claim to be progressive. I see some using the same bigotry against gay Muslims. Others try to play the moderate Muslim role that either kept quiet or asked me to compromise.
The question is, should I compromise my own freedom of choice to be who I am today for me to be accepted? I don’t think so.
While I hold those activists accountable to their actions and words, I still understand their privilege and the lack of knowledge about the conditions that Muslim Queers goes through. None of those activists were beaten up to death and raped because of their sexual identity. Yes, I had to go through that and they didn’t. None of those Muslim activists had to live with broken bones for months without medical treatment. I had to. None of them lost a job or a housing opportunity for being LGBTQIA+ Muslim. I did. None of them was called a “faggot,” but I was. None of them almost got arrested for kissing the one they love, I did. So learn before you judge others.
Some people called me extremist but I am not offended because even Martin Luther King was called a radical and an extremist before when he marched to D.C. and said, “I have a dream.” MLK even went to jail, was on the FBI watch list and eventually was assassinated by hate groups. I see myself as the next MLK for my Muslim Queer community.
I am not afraid of losing my life for them. I am not afraid of losing my freedom for them. All I want is my children is to live with the privilege that I didn’t have. All I want for the next Muslim Queer generation is to be acknowledge and accepted by their community and families, without having to live with fear of persecution.
Stand up with me and fight back. Don’t be silent. Silence is complicity with the oppressor.
Starting today, I’m no longer apologetic of my identity. I am proud to be an Openly Muslim-Jewish Queer! 🌈
About the Author:
Killian Collin is a muslim refugee and immigrant activist, LGBTQIA+ Muslim activist and a public speaker from From San Diego. He is also an engineer student at the University of California Riverside.