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  • Tackling LGBT forced marriage

    by Rumbold
    25th October, 2010 at 5:15 pm    

    The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has reported an increase in the number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) teenagers coming forward to ask for help from them:

    This year, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. Last year, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total.

    Just how many of those involved lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) victims is unknown, because not everyone is willing to divulge their sexuality. However, it is thought this emerging trend is just the tip of the iceberg, as more gay men and women seek assistance.

    A number have been referred by the Albert Kennedy trust, which specialises in helping LGBT teenagers. Many of these teenagers have been forced into marriage either because their parents don’t know about their sexuality, or else see marriage as a way to ‘cure’ their children from being NEH (Not Exclusively Heterosexual). One girl, Reviva, interviewed by the BBC, spoke about her experiences once her parents found out about her sexuality:

    The troubled teenager was taken to her grandmother’s house in the Middle East where, as she recalls with a chilling lack of emotion, her parents tried persuading her to take her own life. “I was damaging the family honour. I was making the family looking like a modernised, westernised, filthy family. So what they wanted to do is get rid of what is damaging the honour.

    “They put you in a room on your own, I don’t get any food, or any water, and I have to just sit there and wait to die or kill myself.” To aid the process, a gun, a knife, and pills were left in the room, along with a can of petrol and a box of matches. In her view, Reviva says it would have amounted to murder, not suicide, should she have decided to kill herself.

    Many LGBT teenagers, whatever their backgrounds, feel that they have no one to turn to about their issues (though organisations do exist, as shown above), given the bullying and abuse that can result from such a revelation, whether at school or at home. Until this is tackled, LGBT teenagers forced into a marriage will feel even more isolated than their heterosexual counterparts. That is certainly not to excuse the attitudes which lead to forced marriage, but rather highlight areas others can work on in order to reduce this practice by making LGBT teenagers feel as though there are more people they can turn to.

    Update: The 5 Live Investigates programme is here and an interview with the head of the Forced Marriage Unit is here (thanks to Richard for sending in the links).

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    Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Sex equality

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      New (to me) abbreviation: NEH = Not Exclusively Heterosexual

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    1. Yakoub Islam — on 25th October, 2010 at 5:53 pm  

      This article/interview about UK LGB Muslims, originally posted on MWU, was written six years ago, but I’m sure much is still relevant, and hopefully some of the references and links will be useful to anyone interested in this or related issues:

    2. Lamia — on 26th October, 2010 at 1:05 am  

      The hypocrisy of Pickled politics doing an article on this is extraordinary. The same site that makes excuses the Global Peace and Unity conference - host to a number of hate preachers who persistently demonise and preach against homosexuals - then cries crocodile tears about the inevitable results of such Islamic ‘moderateness’ (copyright Africana).

      I believe Rumbold personally is a poster of integrity, but really, why the cynical refusal to dot dots by Sunny and co? This sort of result - Reviva committing suicide to spare her family embarrassment is exactly what a number of preahcers at GPU want, i.e. what in another context is defended here as merely moderate islamic views.

      Please don’t feign concern about LGBT people. Like most of the left, you don’t give a shit anymore and LGBT people know that. And the paucity of responses to this article speaks volumes about where the concerens of most PP posters lie.

    3. Rumbold — on 26th October, 2010 at 9:11 am  

      Interesting piece Yakoub- thanks for that.


      Sunny wasn’t defending the conference, merely questioning why Baroenss Warsi wouldn’t attend in order to tak these people on. Sunny certainly doesn’t endorse the views of the people there. You are right though that more a debate under this article would have been nice.

    4. platinum786 — on 26th October, 2010 at 9:48 am  

      Lamia, perhaps you should ask the hate preachers what their opinion on all this is. Or is it too much to risk hearing their opinion? Afterall decisions are so much easier to make when you decide what the rules are.

    5. africana — on 26th October, 2010 at 5:47 pm  


      here’s a link to an article which contains a transcipt of yasir qadh’s response to a muslim student struggling with homosexual urges.

      you will note that his response, whilst you may not agree with him,the article is hardly suggestive of a hate filled extremist. the thread attracted a large number of comments, to some of which qadhi himself responded. here he is responding to the assertion, made by a student, that he has in, the past, displyed insensitivity.

      “Shaykh Yasir is to be commended for speaking about the issue with such sensitivity in his article, yet I personally have heard him make stridently anti-gay remarks in class and it is precisely these remarks and attitudes, which cause immeasurable harm to our Muslim brothers and sisters and may alienate them from their faith. Don?t think of us as the other, we are right here, reading Muslim Matters, attending AlMaghrib seminars, memorizing Quran, learning Arabic, fasting, trying to improve ourselves and learn our deen, praying next to you, etc.”

      You’re absolutely right, I have at times allowed such feelings to show in crude jokes. Jazak Allah for pointing this out and I will try my best to ensure this does not happen again. Also, please take it as your duty to correct such attitudes (via private comments) and, at least from my side, it will be taken very positively


    6. Sarah AB — on 26th October, 2010 at 6:25 pm  

      Lamia - I read the post - in fact I’d read a longer version of Reviva’s story story already - and it was really shocking - perhaps people haven’t commented because there seemed nothing to add. Perhaps in response to this discussion one might add that even comparatively mild expressions of homophobia, failure to clamp down on bullying at school etc, can, I assume, be a vector for homophobic violence - and depression/suicide.

    7. Roger — on 26th October, 2010 at 7:02 pm  

      whilst you may not agree with him,the article is hardly suggestive of a hate filled extremist

      No, it is just incredibly stupid and cruel.

      And remember that marriage is a solution, so you should seriously consider it. The Prophet Lut ‘alayhis salam told his people, “These are my daughters, they are more pure for you.” Some scholars say that when he said “daughters”, he is also implying the women of the town and not just his own daughters. So he’s telling the men of his community who were guilty of this crime to go and marry women, for they are better and purer for them. Marriage is a solution, because sensuality and sexuality is something that can be satisfied – rather it should be satisfied – by the opposite gender within the confines of marriage.

      So Qadhi’s solution for a gay man is not just to ruin his life but a woman’s too, by locking them into a marriage that will not work.

      For hate-filled extremism from Qadhi on homosexuality, watch this.

      The man is disgusting.

    8. Lamia — on 26th October, 2010 at 8:13 pm  

      @ Rumbold,

      “Sunny wasn’t defending the conference, merely questioning why Baroenss Warsi wouldn’t attend in order to tak these people on.”

      Two words - ‘Dominic Grieve’. that is another reason why it is not comparable to QT - the Islamists get to decide how their opponents’ arguments appear - indeed, whether they appear at all. sunny is being incredibly disingenuous.

      @ platiunum786

      “Lamia, perhaps you should ask the hate preachers what their opinion on all this is. Or is it too much to risk hearing their opinion?”

      We already know their opinion of homosexuals, it’s why I quoted some of them on the other thread in the first place. They consider homosexuals to be evil, spreaders of disease, etc etc. A good number of them support executing homosexuals.

      What on earth would make you or anyone else believe that they have a contrastingly humane and tolerant stance on the subject of forced marriage or homosexuals. Grow up and stop being so stupid.

      @ Sarah

      “perhaps people haven’t commented because there seemed nothing to add.”

      Yeah…. right. Perhaps you can address some of that that to platinum786 and africana. They’ve added quite a bit of crap, but I don’t see you taking any issue with what they have said.

      @ Africana,

      I can’t work out if you are sincerely trying to square the circle or if you are just concerned with defending this man’s ‘honour’. Watch the video. Try substituing ‘Muslim’ for ‘homosexual’ and then tell me how you think you would feel if the situation was reversed in this way. Try that.

      A momentary lapse on Qadhi’s part from his habitual state of making - as a student notes - stridently anti-gay remarks hardly amounts to proof of his moderation. The most dyed in the wool bigot can have the occasional day off or twinge of compassion, but they pass.

    9. damon — on 26th October, 2010 at 8:30 pm  

      I didn’t comment on this thread as there was something on a talk radio phone-in programme the other night, which I turned off after 20 minutes and went out … as it all seemed so predictable and hopeless.
      A young woman of south asian origin spoke of her ordeal.
      How her parents had lined up male suitors for her, even though she had rejected them all and they already knew that she liked girls. It was an open family secret. And suicide was suggested from her parents … and that’s where I switched off the radio.

      75% of Pakistani Bradfordians marry their first cousins, so these backward cultural practices are going to be ever present until Pakistan changes and the people coming over are more liberal.

    10. Sarah AB — on 26th October, 2010 at 9:37 pm  

      Lamia - I did say I thought even quite mild bigoted staements (and I think this is particularly true of people in authority such as teachers and priests) could lead to an atmosphere which encouraged violence and bullying. I did (just now) look at the essay Africana linked to - it’s possible to find much worse but obviously I find his advice (as some of the commenters pointed out too) actively unhelpful. As an atheist I find his perspective quite alien - the advice to marry seems potentially particularly cruel (to two people). I assume much of his advice is similar to that offered by stricter Christians.

    11. africana — on 27th October, 2010 at 1:46 am  

      going by your name, it sounds to me that you are an lbt indentifying woman of muslim heritage. given that many muslims, regardless of their level of practise, have a negative attitude to gay lifestyles ranging from the belief that it’s odd to abhorrent, it wouldn’t surprise me that you’ve faced, or anticipate, some kind of negative reaction from your loved ones and that a lot of the vitriol directed at yasir qadhi and others is misplaced anger.

      it would be a effort in futility, on your part, to expect any orthodox muslim (or haredi or ugandan christian, for that matter) scholar to subscribe to a view of homosexual activity (or any acting upon homosexual impulses) as anything but forbidden.

      that being said, in islam, the greatest and most unforgivable sin in the sight of God, as per the quran, is that of associating partners with God (in the manner of the christian belief in the trinity) and failing to believe that God is One and Unique. yasir qadhi knows this. i think it would be safe to assume that, whilst any muslim scholar worth her/his salt will condemn homosexuality, they are not bereft of compassion as they do still wish to see people with homosexual urges identify as muslim (although they will, naturally, emphasise that whilst thoughts of a sexual nature concerning one’s own gender are not sinful, any acting upon them is).

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