How Orlando became a coming out moment born of tragedy for LGBT Muslims
Zayn awoke to the news like so many others: gutted that some 50 people just like him, dancing and laughing moments earlier, were massacred in cold blood. But when the Toronto-area man, who is not only gay but also Muslim, learned that the gunman in the Orlando nightclub had professed his allegiance to ISIS, he says he collapsed in disbelief.
Hours later, still reeling and heartsick, the 27-year-old, who spoke to CBC News on condition that his real name not be used, took to Facebook to express a pain he thought few would understand.
“I want to scream but I feel like I’m in a vacuum,” he wrote in a letter shared with friends. “As a gay male and a Muslim, I have never felt so personally affected … So empty and void of all feeling yet full of emotion at the same time.”
It was supposed to be a time of love, of celebration, and of peace, he wrote. But instead both Pride month and Ramadan were marred by a single act of hatred.
“These are two of the most significant months in my small queer Muslim community’s lives,” he wrote. “Someone thinks he can take that away … Someone who takes love and turns it into something violent. And then affiliates it with my faith, my faith? You kill my people in the name of my faith during a holy month?”