I am Muslim and Gay

As I was finishing off my sehri and looking forward to the day of fasting on a supposedly serene Sunday early morning, my television was playing the aftermath of yet another mass shooting in a town of the corner state. I waited for the press conference only to listen that details were to be revealed later in the day. After saying a small prayer for the departed souls and praying for speedy recovery of the injured, I took a nap.

When I woke up, my phone was abuzz with news feeds.

During those hours, the incident had become the most violent mass shooting in the United States of America requiring a visibly resigned and saddened President giving a speech describing a hate crime.

I was not sure what I was supposed to feel.

Senseless gun violence.

Yet another crime scene where a supposedly mentally unstable person gets hold of weapons of mass destruction and goes on a rampage at his will.

A gay nightclub isn’t just a place to party, it’s a congregation for those shunned, those enlightened, those opened, those closeted, and those elated souls finding their solace amongst fellow humans. It is supposed to be a safe place amongst those who know and understand.

Mindless homophobia.

Yet another moment when supposedly one cannot stand fellow humans expressing their love for each other.

Not even a year has passed by that love was finally legalised in this country. Where all that mattered was love, not the ‘who’.

Hostile islamophobia.

Yet another time of bigoted detestation towards the faith.

As if the current wave of misinformation wasn’t enough, the social media and the public media were filled with messages which confused, convoluted, concealed and contrived conflicting verses and versions.

I am not sure what I am supposed to feel.

I was born a proud gay person willingly following the tenets of Islam.

For me, the conjunction was always an ‘and’. I never had any doubts of myself, my abilities and my reconciliation with my religion and my orientation.

This has been the third consecutive year when I had been proudly fasting while religiously marching at the San Francisco Pride Parade. For me, it was a blessing to have the months of Pride and Ramadan overlap. This was the time when I get to be proud of the accomplishments of my LGBTQ community and be humbled by the fasting tenet amongst my Muslim community. A time where I get to be both of my identities with pride and humility.

I wish I knew what to feel.

It’s the year 2016. Artificial Intelligence is omnipresent. Virtual Reality is the market. And Driverless Cars are making headways.

It’s the year 2016. Guns are easily accessible. Homophobia is richly prevalent. And Islamophobia is sailing high.

As I ended my fast with my iftar, I couldn’t but wonder as to why humans are at the top of the food chain. There wasn’t a need of creating an enemy to the human race. They are self-reliant.

Mohammed Shaik Hussain Ali