Monday, January 11, 2010

Homeless, Gay and Muslim

I've commented before about the story in Eastenders between Syed and Christian. Now that Syed has been the son he thinks he should be and marry Amira.

But this article on BBC Asian Network highlights that he has got a relatively easy outcome. Many more gay Muslim men are being forced into marriage, often back in the countries where their families come from. Those that don't abide with their family wishes but run away to be themselves often end up ostracised by the whole family network, an outcast, penniless and homeless.

For many the option of taking a bride to please their family is just not they can do. They know that the outcome is going to be rejection from all that they consider close their family, culture etc. But forced marriage is only the start of it, many also face beatings, so called honour violence for bringing 'shame' to their family. Annie Southrest of the Albert Kennedy Trust tells of some examples:

"They face threats of physical violence, actual violence and restriction of liberties.

"We've had people chased out of the house with knives and we have had issues around young people who had exorcisms planned to get rid of the gay demons, I suppose.

"They come to us because they're homeless, or in danger of being homeless imminently. We sort out emergency accommodation for them.

"But the biggest loss they face is the loss of their families.

"I can't imagine what it must be like to suddenly in your late teens, early 20s suddenly not to have a family anymore."

Of course we have yet to see where the Syed storyline goes now that he is married, but apparently still in love with Christian, so maybe there will be twists along the lines of some of those who have had to seek help from the Trust featured.

Listen to the programme on iPlayer on today's Asian Network Reports to hear more about this issue.

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