All she has left of the person she used to be is contained in a 5-by-7 photo album with “Aliyah Bacchus” written in blue pen on its cover, each picture inside tucked beneath a slip of clear plastic.
There she is at 17, barely 90 pounds, smiling sourly on her wedding day in Queens, N.Y., dressed in hijab — a pearl-toned princess bridal gown shimmering with beads, her slender hands dipped in sleek white gloves, a veil attached to a white qimar, or head scarf, fastened snugly around her face. The man her father chose for her stands behind Aliyah wearing a black bow tie, his hands resting on her bony shoulders.
That was before. Before she walked out on the marriage. Before her Guyana-born Muslim family discovered she was gay. Before she fled.
That's how the article starts. A very interesting, sad but good article. Read it here...
What was even more interesting was the linked to article in the Washington Post about gays and lesbians marrying to avoid family pressure...
Here's the text of the article about "intermarriage", or maybe it should be termed "open marriage" - the partner can have sex with others, between Muslim gays and lesbians. Fascinating!
On a Web site for gay South Asians, 27-year-old Syed Mansoor uploaded the following message last summer:
“Hi, I am looking for a lesbian girl for marriage. I am gay but I would like to get married because of pressure from parents and society. I would like this marriage to be a ‘normal’ marriage except for the sex part, please don’t expect any sexual relationship from me. Being an Indian gay person, I believe it is so much worth it to give up sex and have a nice otherwise normal family. We can be good friends and don’t have to repent all our life for being gay/lesbian.”
Across the globe and especially in America, hundreds of other gay Muslims have started to pursue marriages of convenience–or MOC, as they are known– in which gay Muslims seek out lesbian Muslims, and vice versa, for appearances’ sake.
Mansoor is also part of a burgeoning trend of gay Muslims adopting marriages of convenience. Hard statistics are hard to come by, but on a single Web site for South Asian gays and lesbians seeking such marriages, almost 400 requests had been uploaded.
They ranged from a desperate plea from Atlanta (”I just finished medical school, and the pressure for me to get married is becoming ridiculous. I can’t have a conversation with my parents without them pressuring me”) to a straightforward one from Texas (”I will not object to her having sex with other women”).
Mansoor credits the Internet for making these marriages a real possibility for gay Muslims. Gay activists agree and say that in recent years they have seen a rise in such marriages among Muslims.
Jack Fertig, a co-coordinator for al-Fatiha, a national advocacy group for gay Muslims, says he comes across at least one such e-mail request every month.
“It’s obvious that this is becoming a viable option,” he said. “People are seeking, looking and trying to make connections that could develop into such marriages.”
Other activists say gay Muslims are resorting to these unions for reasons of self-preservation.
“Marriages of convenience are the result of gay Muslims wanting to avoid emotional and physical harm to themselves,” says Muhammed Ali, a board member of Homan, a Los Angeles-based support group for gay Iranians.
Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in much of the Islamic world.
Though gay Muslims in America don’t have such fears, they still seek out marriages of convenience as a way of staying in the closet. Many of them worry about being ostracized from their families if their secret is revealed.
A marriage of convenience is the perfect solution, Mansoor said. “It’s a great option,” he said. “I get married to a lesbian, we sleep in different rooms and remain friends. Meanwhile, I can have a boyfriend.”
Muslim authorities around the world have repeatedly emphasized that homosexuality is not permissible. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America said there is no flexibility on this topic.
“Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption. . . . No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer,” he said. “People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.”
Mainstream Islamic scholars also take an unfavorable view of MOCs.