This is the conversation I had with a good friend of mine today. As people of LGBT+, many of us have spent an incredible amount of energy, time and sacrifice in trying to keep our families happy. In fact, we have made ourselves unfairly expendable in the grand scheme of things. Just so we can be accepted and loved by them, unconditionally. For we love them without condition. That is one of the many blessings Allah has bestowed upon us as LGBT+. For most of you, you just choose to see what you feel is ‘wrong’ about us. Due to that, you overlook the blessings that Allah has given us and many which you all benefit from.
I stand by what I have always said about true love and how it should work. It has to be unconditional, otherwise it is nothing less than a contractual love. Almost as if it is a contract which you are bound to for life. “If you do this, I will love you. If you do that, I won’t love you”. That is not unconditional love. That is a contract of the ideal of love which you created through nothing but ideas and selfishness. For true love is beyond small ideas and is deeply selfless. As LGBT+ we have tried to show you the lessons of love that is selfless but you choose not to see. We so easily even sign the dotted line of this contact of love to again, keep you all happy. Even when we know, such loves also comes with small print and unambiguous clauses. Such love is nothing less than a mockery of the love Allah placed in this world for us to enjoy. Love is from Allah and thus, love is a blessing. Not the love that we have no option but to accept from you which is tainted. When you offer that so called love, you feel it is worthy. To me, this is yet another example of how you view my self worth as nothing less than secondary.
One thing that I have learnt from the people around me, who are not my blood but are incredibly dear to me, is that that they are also my family. This to some sounds wishy washy but it is nothing less than the truth. These people love me unconditionally and I love them the same. But why is the question that we need to ponder over. We may not be related by blood but we are deeply connected by the challenges and hardships we face as LGBT+ people. That is the commonality that we cannot share with our families. Our families were chosen for us, be it good or bad. But the people who we have a connection with, due to commonality, is a choice and those relationships in my opinion are stronger. Whereas our families make every effort to dehumanise us, our friends are the people who make us feel human. They value and love us for the human beings that we are internally. They do not look at us and judge our entire existence on our ‘identity’. To them me is me, no matter what. They see me. Just me. They are they ones who are a constant reminder of my self worth and not an entity which does not or should not belong in this world.
To family, if i am merely ‘ok’ is and should be enough. With my friends, being just ok is not ok! They remind me that it is my right to feel more; a safe haven which they create to allow me to experience that. Even when sat there together in silence, we do not need to explain our challenges, sadness and woes. We certainly do not posses the ability of telepathy. But what we do posses is the God given blessing of empathy. One so sensitive in nature that when we are sat with each other, we do not need words to explain anything. Our shared experiences tell a silent story of a thousand words. You know me without me telling you about me. It has only been then that I smell the fragrance of true love which emanates from Islam.
Thus, is blood thicker than water? Are family ties more important to us than other relationships we create? The question is of debate, depending on what angle you are looking or arguing from. I am certainly not here to advocate anyone breaking ties with family members no matter what the challenges. As hard as that sounds, it is not what Allah expects. Yes, we can distance ourselves from difficult family members but we can never sever ties with them. However, they seem to be better at this than we are by far.
Choose your friends carefully I say for that replaces a void in our lives which cannot be fulfilled when family are not there or often enough, chose not to be there. These people, who are not your blood, are the ones who come to your aid when you need it the most and become the pillars which we need to lean on. Even more so when our challenges feel like our entire world is about to lose control. Those pillars, in times of chaos, are the ones who keep you upright without being told or asked.
Mashallah, thank you to my two pillars who keep me upright. Without you, I do not know where I would be today. To me you are my family. You are my blood. You are my world.
Giving. Empathy. Love. You make us whole….