Coming out to a Muslim family by Houssem E. Ben Messaoud, Morocco/Canada

‘’I knew something was going on, but I didn’t expect this. I just knew you were not like the other boys. You are my son, I love and you will always be my son but go see a doctor ’’- My mom said on the 13th of December 2014.

It all started at the age of 12 when chatting online with other boys was more interesting than trying to get a girlfriend. By the age of 17 being sexually active, things changed dramatically. Sexual activity had helped me know who I was and what I liked.

Being gay, or let’s say being different in a society that will  judge you by the way you look, walk, speak or dress is difficult. Trying to understand who you are when everyone around is not like you doesn’t help much. You must hide. Hide the truth and tell everyone that you are just like them, like talking about boobs and the-V. It was not me.

Once people have doubt about who you really are, they will start calling you names: pus**, fag… and it never ends. Highschool was not as easy as expected. I had to have a girlfriend. Just to stop rumors. In college and university, things were a little bit easier, living in the big city helps you develop your LGBTQ friends circle. This made my days go easier.

7 years in the closet, until I decided to just come out.

It was snowing in Quebec city. I couldn’t sleep the night before. My parents usually call at around 12. It was 10am, I couldn’t wait, the stress was killing me. I called them. The usual talk, everything was fine. But then emotions got me. I started crying for no reason and I told them I had something to say… they started panicking .

Me to mom : I don’t like women

Mom : what do you mean ?

Me : I’m homosexual

Mom : What ? and she hung the phone.

My dad calls back : What did you tell your mom ?

Me : I don’t like women

Him : what is that ?

Me : I don’t like women, I’m not getting married . I’m not into women.

Him : Since when ?

Me : I have always been like this. Where is mom ?

Him : crying in the bathroom

Me : let me talk to her

2 min later

Him : she doesn’t want to talk. She is locking herself in the bathroom.

Me : ok I’ll call back in a while .

15 min later,I couldn’t wait … I called and mom didn’t want to talk to me.

Later on the same day she called and just said that I had to go see a doctor “This 

is is not fine, you are sick and need to get your self a psychological help. You are bringing such a shame to the family!”

Since then, she calls every morning asking if I went to see a psychiatric and started any treatment. My answer always is: “I’m not sick, I’m not seeing any doctor. End of  story, stop asking me this”.

Things didn’t go as expected. but my father was different. He just said:’’ if you are like this, then it is going to be like this”.

And now it has been 3 years since my coming out. My family is still not fine with it. We don’t talk about it. However, they no longer ask about marriage. Coming out has helped us understand what was going on. Things didn’t turn as I expected, but at this point, there is no coming back.

Living openly gay meant that I lost most f my friends, but FINE, I have new friends, I have a boyfriend, we are moving in together on July 1st and we may adopt a dog.

 

This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region. 

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