Spirituality, Sexuality, and the Community: Working with Muslim Gay Men

Presentation Type: Oral
Conference Stream: Mental health and suicide prevention
Presenter: Budi Sudarto
Presentation Title: Spirituality, Sexuality, and the Community: Working with Muslim Gay Men
Room: Murray
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 16:25
Duration: 25 mins


Spirituality remains a sensitive topic in the GLBTIQ community. This is due to the persistence of homophobia in many religious institutions as well as the use of religious doctrines to justify the social, cultural and legal persecution of GLBTIQs. Many feel that they have to choose between their spirituality from their sexuality and gender identity. Some are experiencing an internal struggle based on the intersections between these multiple identities that have a detrimental effect on their overall health and well being.

For many Muslim GLBTIQs, the persistence of homophobia and transphobia in the Islamic world has resulted in a sense of fear as well as confusion. Some choose to disassociate themselves from the Islamic faith, while others feel that they cannot live openly as GLBTIQ and must adhere to strict religious and cultural expectations. Unfortunately, those seeking refuge in the GLBTIQ community are also experiencing Islamophobia which adds to the feeling of double marginalisation.

In this presentation, I will investigate the intersection between spirituality and sexuality from Muslim gay men’s perspectives. I will use examples from Marhaba, a support group for Muslim GLBTIQs in Melbourne, to explore how some Muslim gay men reconcile their faith and sexuality. I will also critically examine the wider GLBTIQ community and the place of Islamic faith in the community. The aim of the presentation is to re-start the dialogue about spirituality within the GLBTIQ community that can facilitate the creation of an inclusive space for Muslim GLBTIQs to assist them reconcile their spirituality, sexuality, and gender identity.

Presentation slides (PDF)