“It’s still very difficult for me to tell my family about my life being a lesbian. They know I am a believer, they know I am religious, but going as far as saying I am a lesbian is quite hard. I remember thinking this is the only time I am going to get married, and my family weren’t there.
That was constantly going through my mind – I am having an Islamic nikah, doing as much as I can through my faith, but my family weren’t there.”
Asra, a lesbian muslim woman who has married her partner Sarah through a ‘nikah’ or traditional Muslim wedding rite, despite the faith’s ongoing majority opposition to same-sex marriage
Picture the scene. It’s the week before Christmas and today is bitterly cold. Even though it’s not yet evening, darkness has well and truly fallen. If you braved the wintry weather tonight, you would soon see the stone walls of a church by the sea. Warm lights shine out invitingly from the windows and make patterns of the churchyard trees on the new-fallen snow.
Then, suddenly, the lights go out. If you went inside right now, you would see people of all ages lining the walls of the church, each holding an orange with a lit candle. The tiny lights show little else but the face of each bearer. And they all begin to sing.
Hands up – coming clean – I am a Christian. The chances are, you wouldn’t know this about me unless you really know me. I have never been the type to stand on a soapbox to proclaim my beliefs for all to see. I don’t even share them with other Christians (unless asked) because in my 26 years of being a follower of Christ I have encountered more hate, rejection and derision inside a church than out of it.
That being said, I am still a Christian. I call myself an unconventional one, and this is why.