Contemporary Same-Sex Muslim Sexualities: Identities and Issues

Living reference work entry

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the existing research on same-sex Muslim sexualities. It begins with the historical research that demonstrates both the existence and transformation of Muslim homoeroticism from the premodern to the modern era. These historical analyses remain significant to this field because they raise three key issues for understanding the contemporary manifestation of same-sex Muslim sexualities. These are discussed in the next section and comprise the cross-cultural differences in the emergence of homosexual identities, the basis of contemporary Muslim homophobia, and the connections between Islamophobia and LGBT politics. The chapter then reviews the contemporary research on Muslim homoeroticism in two sections, the first of which focuses on Muslim majority cultures and then the second on Muslim LGBT experiences in minority immigrant cultures in the west. Drawing on this evidence, the chapter then discusses four key issues for future research: the need for more research on LGBT Muslims in both minority and majority populations, more conceptual development of an intersectional analytical framework of LGBT Muslim identities, the significance of theological reinterpretations in Muslim politics, and the importance of recognizing the connections between sexual diversity politics and contemporary Islamophobia. There follows a concluding summary to the chapter and recommendations for further reading. Throughout the chapter, LGBT is the term used for homosexual identities, and “queer” is also used synonymously. It is important to recognize, however, that queer is a term that is more common in western academic literatures and LGBT politics and therefore does not have universal cultural relevance. Moreover, the vast majority of empirical research discussed is focused on lesbians and gay men rather than transgender or bisexual people.

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Recommended Reading

  1. For interesting historical literatures on Muslim homoeroticism, see Murray and Roscoe’s edited collection from 1997, Islamic Homosexualities, and Babayan and Najmabadi’s similar collection, Islamicate Sexualities, 2008. For a theoretical critique of some of these historical approaches, see Massad’s Desiring Arabs, 2008, which also lays out his postcolonial argument against the westernization of international LGBT politics as having a colonialist impact on traditional Arab homosexualities. For a broader argument on this theme that connects this western influence with developing LGBT normalization in the west, see Puar’s Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times, 2007. For a more specific focus on Muslim sexualities and a more thorough review of available research evidence on the tensions between Muslim cultures, western LGBT politics, and queer Muslims, see Rahman’s Homosexualities, Muslim Cultures and Modernity, 2014. On specifically queer reinterpretations of Islam, see Al Haqq Kugle’s Homosexuality in Islam, 2010. For identity formation issues for queer Muslims, the various articles and chapters by both Yip and Jaspal cited above give a broad sense of this issue in the UK, but there is not enough other evidence from other cultures to be certain of the generalizability of such results. The same can be said for the work of Blackwood and Boellstorff, who have both produced an impressive body of research on Indonesian queer identities.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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