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homophobic family vs relationship, what should I do?


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I'm a gay Muslim and was closeted till a few months ago when I came out to a close friend who was also my crush and now is my girlfriend. Only a few people know i'm gay and even less know about the relationship. I come from a very conservative and homophobic family, the only family members that I've told are my brother and one of my cousins. But somehow my extremely homophobic my older sister (who's married with children) found out that i'm in a relationship with a girl and decided to have a conversation with her children while I was in the room about how being gay is bad and not permitted in Islam. When as a matter of fact, there is not much in the Qur'an on homosexuality from what I have read. She's also threatened that if I don't end the relationship or even talk to my girlfriend again i'll have to find a new home. I live with my grandparents, my dad was abusive and living with my mum isn't an option, I would have nowhere to go if I was forced to leave. I told my sister that I broke up with my girlfriend even though I haven't because as much as I love my sister, she's stressing me out and my girlfriend makes me happy and I love her a lot. I crushed on her for a long time and two months ago when I confessed my feelings she happened to like me back so I really don't want to end something that is making me really happy.


What should I do?


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  • Ditch the Label Staff

Thanks for coming to us for advice - you are not alone in this! Firstly, I’m really sorry that something so lovely, that is obviously making you very happy is being the cause of stress for you, rather than the celebration that it should be.


With homophobic relatives, as you may already know, these views are often passed down through generations, upbringing, and religion. Due to this, they may not be how the person actually feels, they may just be acting in a way that's ‘normal’ in their situation and understanding of how they see the world through their beliefs as they have just accepted this without ever really questioning it. This is of course complicated by your obvious love for your sister. From what you say, it seems like your brother and cousin are supportive - could one or both of them potentially talk to your sister to try and give a different perspective? Additionally, do you have any idea of how your grandparents would react - do you feel that they would make you leave?


If you do decide to come out to your grandparents, it's important to be patient as they may react badly at first. Often, time is needed to help them come to terms with the news which can often result later in a good outcome once they have had time to process and find out more. It could be useful for you to organise to stay with some family/friends if you do decide to come out and it goes wrong. Is there anyone at all that you could ask like your brother or cousin?


We completely support and agree that you should be able to live openly and happily, but in some situations it may be a good idea to wait until you're independent from your family before you come out to them; for example, if you go to university or move out. If you do decide to wait, it's important to build up a support network of like-minded people who are accepting. Just talking to them about what you are going through will help improve any stress/anxiety you may be feeling and still allow you to enjoy your relationship while dealing with the family issues. Most areas have LGBTQ+ support networks where you can speak to others in similar situations and really build that support and there are many that support other people of faith and will completely understand your dilemma.


If you feel you can't wait, then there are some things you can do to prepare for dealing with homophobic relatives:


1) Have patience

2) Ask questions to see why they hold these views - this can help to deconstruct homophobia as these views are often just the ‘normal’ way to think and all that they know

3) Give your sister / grandparents a different viewpoint by telling them how it feels being surrounded by homophobic people when you are LGBTQ+

4) Don't give up on your sister / grandparents - even though they may always remain homophobic, their views may become softer over time and more accepting

5) Prioritise your safety and wellbeing at all times. If it is easier to have these conversations from a distance over the phone then choose that route and/or have someone with you when you speak to them


Please let me know if this is useful. We are here for you and can figure out new ways if not.


Finally, the following articles deal with similar situations to yours and can easily be applied to grandparents rather than parents.






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