In this episode, I was joined by Proud Pakistani Gay Salman. He was born in Pakistan and grew up as a Muslim. His family was Ismaili and then converted to the Sunni sect of Islam.
Salman and I kicked off the conversation by discussing his family and religious background. We then went on to discuss minorities in Pakistan and how the government favors Sunnism over other sects of Islam and other religious minorities. Also, we talked about the safety of minorities as well as the human rights situation in Pakistan.
Salman then shared his experiences of growing up in a devout Sunni family while also being gay. He talked about how the religious teachings and subtle messages from his parents led him to develop internalized homophobia. Salman also discussed how he dealt with internalized homophobia and how that opened a door for him to start critically questioning some of the broader religious beliefs he was holding. He also detailed his struggle to hold onto the Muslim identity even as his beliefs were no longer aligning with traditional/mainstream Islamic teachings. We later talked about how he came to the realization that he was no longer Muslim.
The conversation then moved to the topic of coming out as gay and coming as an apostate/ ex-Muslim. Salman shared how his relationship with his family soured when he came out as gay. He also talked about how his relations with various family members are improving with time. We also discussed the need for community and being prepared before coming out.
I invite you to take a listen to this insightful discussion!