By Syeda

Once I read,

I stay here out of fear

Fear of judgement, fear of ridicule

But most of all fear of rejection

I am afraid that I come out of this lonely little closet

What waits beyond will be a much greater threat

Or perhaps it will be the release I have been looking for

So I’ll take a chance

I know visibility is something that would make me an easy target. But that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I was born as a Muslim and I will die as a Muslim but they had labelled me as a disobedient Non-believer because of my sexual orientation. For a very long time I was left feeling confused, isolated and so alone; it felt like I was the only one going through this internal struggle of being Muslim and Lesbian. I knew that it was something that was seen to be forbidden in Islam. It felt like the two words Muslim and lesbian didn’t go together.

But on the day of visibility I am not here to share the journey of my life which was full with agony, struggle and fight but the journey in which fractured souls are made whole again. It is the journey in which wounds are healed and pain is finally replaced with peace. I was shattered, I was broken, I was traumatized and I was vulnerable. At the same time I am the victim of hatred, I am the history of rape because of sexual orientation, I am the history of the rejection of who I am and my life was miserable.  That was the turning point of my life where I had two options: give up and be disappeared or be strong and come out. I choose to be strong. WHY? Because I strongly believe that in life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about learning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.

If no one is ready to accept you, just do not let them destroy your personality and be yourself. It’s about who you choose to BE and how you choose to show up while you do whatever you choose to do. If you are not ready to come out, just give yourself time and if you need help ask for the help, there is nothing wrong in it, if you think that you are just in middle of nowhere, as I used to be look for role models who have found solutions.  There are many, many people who have overcome tremendous adversity.  Reading their stories and surrounding yourself with supportive messages and people can help you build hope. I have found my voice because of finding a voice South Asian LGBT group.

It starts with the awareness and acceptance that you are powerful, lovable and valuable … because you are. Not because you did or did not do something but because you are lovable and powerful and truly okay being you. Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be.