"Perhaps the most notable historical example," Dr. Dickson says, "is found in the openly gay Caliphs (emperors or kings) of early Islam. Al-Hakam II (d. 976) was an Umayyad caliph based in Muslim Spain who had a harem of men, while Al-Amin (d. 813) was an Abbasid caliph based in Iraq who was also openly gay ... Although their preference for men was sometimes seen as a character flaw, little in the way of open condemnation of them is found historically."
Many Gay Muslims Live A Complicated Double Life
Countries like Pakistan or Jordan have very patriarchal societies, focused on family (gay adoption sure isn't a thing, and probably won't be for a long time). And that's one of the reasons Pakistan became such a "gay man's paradise" -- it's all thanks to women willing to marry Pakistani homosexuals in order to maintain their cover while they pursue gay relationships. Yes, Pakistan has more beards than a Duck Dynasty marathon.
It's basically the same in Jordan, as Khaled explains: "My parents nag a lot about me getting married, actually all the time. However, I always have a social cover. I introduce my (expat) female friends to my family as if they are my girlfriends, so basically every year I have a new girlfriend ... The last one was my friend, she is French, beautiful lady, my family fell in love with her. Once my family invited her and my boyfriend for dinner. My mom loves my boyfriend, but she thinks he is just my friend."
Seems like a setup for a Three's Company episode, but all the evening did was remind Khaled that he may never be able to be himself in front of his family. "Every night I have to leave the bed of my boyfriend at 1 in the morning to go home so they won't suspect anything. Because it is not accepted in my culture to live alone or to move from your parents' house 'til you get married. If you do so, you will bring shame to the family."
When family is everything, carrying their shame is a unique and terrible psychological pain. That alone would be incentive enough not to come out. But some families also ask you to meet them at the top of the staircase ...
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter. ASL, a travel-writer and photographer, also contributed to this article.
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