“Underneath the hijab”
…if only we all could live in a gender-free society!
I am a 28-year-old closeted Muslim lesbian, came from a decent and religious Muslim family in the Philippines. I knew I was attracted to girls at such a young age, probably begun when I was in 3rd grade, but at that time I didn’t know the proper word, didn’t know such “lesbian” exists. So I ignored my feelings. I am the only girl in the family and blessed with six brothers.
God knows I tried to do the “right” things, forced myself to like men… even entered relationships with them. When I was in 10th grade, I had my first boyfriend. Maybe to avoid the growing confusion. I knew I cared for him, but I knew at that time that there was something off with my feelings towards him that I couldn’t explain. So we decided to end the secret relationship after ten months trying.
My second boyfriend came when I was about a year away to finish my degree. The relationship lasted for six months. I sensed that my boyfriend was getting more serious about us. He wanted us to get married which is good for the normal relationship. But I didn’t feel that way, I felt the need to end the relationship because I wasn’t ready. Or maybe I know I will never get ready for such a thing. I never picture myself marrying a guy.
By trying to do the “right” things, I finished my college and got myself a job. I was earning my own money and contributed to the family’s needs. Everything’s okay… I thought.
My confused feelings then occurred and after so many in-denial moments and fears, I had my first-ever girlfriend at work, a Catholic woman. She knows my religion and faith. I brought her to our home and introduced her as my best friend. My family knows her and they didn’t catch a hint. We’re very careful because I know the consequences that might happen if they catch us. I know my family so well, so well that I might lose my head for having this. I know that. Thus, I never bother myself to think of coming out to them. But also I know deep down in my heart that I love this woman, the feelings I had for her were so pure. I was so ready facing the future with her, building our dreams together. I even thought of moving to other countries with her just so we can build our own family even though I know it will take a lot of courage, effort, time and money.
Until she decided to end our closeted relationship after two and a half years. She gets tired of hiding. She gets tired of our daily routines. She wanted us to settle down. She wanted us to be able to do the things that a couple does openly without being judged… and it pains me that I didn’t know how. She broke up with me and that was the most painful thing I’ve ever felt yet. I blamed everyone around me… even God.
I couldn’t give her the life she deserves, the life she wanted for us. She wanted to be free. She wanted to show the world the kind of love we had at that time. But she couldn’t… because she had to protect me for being a closeted Muslim lesbian which makes it even harder for her to bare. During that time my faith was shaking easily… I even thought of ending my life. Twice.
Almost two years have past since she broke up with me. Heard she’s in a new relationship now with someone who shares the same religion. She’s finally free, but not in my arms. Honestly, I am happy for her. I prayed for her happiness, God knows. I couldn’t blame her. You know you love someone so much when you are willing to set them free and let them fly on their own.
Me? Nothing much new. I am still here trapped in this feeling. It gets heavier every single day. I am suffering deep depression. I feel so alone and lonely. I left my job. I stay at home. Barely go out. I crave for a deep talk every single hour but I always find myself in bed, staring at the ceiling, overthinking everything. I even created this account just to be able to let my feelings out, share it without being known because I am scared. Too scared.
I wish we all could live in a gender-free society.
May Allah bless me with peace of mind.
Source: BAH ( Bangladesh Against Homophobia )