From the Executive Summary:
Purpose, scope and methodology
In 2017, Muslim Collective received funding from the Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion Division (MASC) in the Victorian State Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to conduct a research project aimed at improving our understanding of the unique service needs and delivery requirements for vulnerable members of the Muslim LGBTIQ+ community.
The rationale behind this research is the knowledge that many Muslim LGBTIQ+ people want to belong to and feel they have a place in their families and faith.
Community, faith and health services can play an important role in supporting LGBTIQ+ Muslims in navigating this space.
While the dominant heteronormative discourse of Islam constructs same-sex attraction and gender diversity as problematic (and perhaps imposed by a “morally decadent” West) there are marginalised alternative interpretations that provide more nuanced perspectives. Some LGBTIQ+ Muslims also differentiate between religion and spirituality. In this way, many LGBTIQ+ Muslims continue to meaningfully identify as Muslims (both in religion and ethno-cultural identity). LGBTIQ+ Muslims experience complex discrimination and prejudice in the form of micro-aggressions that remind them
of the constant threats they face. This has been exacerbated by globalisation and social media whereby the assaults can be experienced vicariously.
In this report, we explore participants’ experiences of how their sexualities, gender identities and religious beliefs affect their healthcare access and use, and the meanings they derive from such experiences. While exploring how LGBTIQ+ Muslims address and manage stresses can provide practical insight into means of promoting resilience and encouraging the access of health and community services, it does not excuse or decrease structural and institutional responsibility and culpability.
The study involved qualitative interviews with members of the LGBTIQ+ Muslim community. It was conducted in accordance with decolonising research design and practice and the Guidelines for Muslim Community-University Research Partnerships published by the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) (2017). This Report is therefore an example of and recommends co-design, co-participation, co-review and coimplementation research strategies which enhance trust in and the credibility of the researchers. In adopting all the above ethics and methods for this research, the aim was to prevent participants feeling exploited and to avoid their homogenisation into a single queer Muslim representation. Hence, this report is provided with mindfulness regarding the considerable diversity of religious teachings and practices, cultures and languages within the categorization of “Muslim community”.
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