Dear mum and dad,
Writing this letter hurts because I may never be able to share it with you.
Both of you are wonderful parents, and we have shared amazing memories; I’ve not had even a moment’s doubt that you love me.
You have always taught me the importance of probity, but some truths are more difficult to share than others. I haven’t been honest about much of the life I chose to share with you.
Mum, remember when you found me, thighs slit open, blood running down my legs? You didn’t understand why I would take such self-destructive actions. You provided me with everything you humanly could, and yet I was depressed. Finding a psychiatrist seemed like such a bother to you, but going to an exorcist wasn’t; because you believed that only possessed people attempt to take their lives.
When you saw how badly depression hit me; when you saw how much no exorcist could banish my illness, you helped me find the help that I needed. You did this in spite of your family’s objections, knowing your society wouldn’t accept it. Even though you didn’t understand what was happening to me, you stood by me at that time, and I will forever be grateful for your support.
Today, I have a simpler truth to tell you. Though for you it may not be as uncomplicated or one with which you can come to terms.
I am bisexual.
We have always had our differences, and you never approved of my support for the LGBT community. Well, I’m not just a supporter, but that B in LGBTQ+ stands for me, and others like me. You are both faithful Muslims, and in our community, in your eyes, I am an abomination; an unnatural being, a person you may never accept. In Islam it’s alright to be depressed I suppose, but haram to be anything but heterosexual.
Years of living together have taught me that for you, there is no living without faith. You always have survived by the rules of your religion, which completely abolishes homosexuality. While the laws of the land have evolved, I understand how Islam’s provisions anchor you; without them, you’d be lost amid the unceasing sea changes in the world.
As an atheist, the concept of religion is alien to me. However, I think — no, I have to believe — that family, blood connections, are beyond faith in one religion or a particular edict.
We’ve had our disagreements, but from you, I’ve learned the value of honesty, empathy, and respect. I’d be lying if I said I do not hold out hope that one day you’ll accept me as I am. After all, if two devout Muslims can raise a child who has no place for religion in her life, perhaps they will find the will to support a bisexual one as well.
Someday you will see that my sexuality is just one aspect of me, albeit an unalienable part. The woman you raised -honest, respectful, questioning, brave – is not changed by coming out of the closet. If anything, the confidence to do so comes from your teachings.
Still, I’m afraid that telling you the truth about my sexual preferences will break your heart. I’m scared that being bisexual and being your daughter may never be mutually exclusive; the latter could mean I’ll forever lose the right to call you mum and dad. The thought of such an outcome weighs on me. It hurts in a way I cannot describe.
As your child, breaking your heart is the last thing I want to do. Yet, mine too shatters at the thought of keeping from you a fact so integral to my identity… to who I am.
Having shared all my life with you — every trial and tribulation, my heart thumps with frustration that we may never speak about this. Often I wonder if the only way to tell my truth is to break away from you. It’s an option that tears apart my heart because I do love you.
So, I’m spilling my secret, secure in the fact that you may never read it. Honestly, though, there exists in me a glimmer of hope that one day, you will read this letter.
You gave me breath, and your god gave me these sexual desires. Does the all-powerful make mistakes? And if he does, the world is full of “mistakes” that make life a better experience. Could I not be one of them?
To spare you the pain of choosing between your child and your faith, I’m keeping my secret, even though this makes it difficult to love myself.
Maybe in some time, such knowledge will not break your hearts.
I’ll forever be holding on to that hope because without it I’ll be as lost as you would feel without your faith.
The daughter you may someday know
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