Coming to terms with my sexuality has made me a truer, more complete person. It has also been a rather long journey - acceptance only came to me seven or eight years after I first realised that I was...for lack of a better word, different.
My path to self-acceptance began while I was at university in England. England, at least in comparison to Bangladesh, turned out to be the realm of high speed Internet. Not having to wait 10 minutes for a single webpage to load made me feel like all the knowledge in the world was at my fingertips. And no, I didn't exploit this for porn, the novelty of that what worn off by now. Instead, I immersed myself in a multitude of other areas, from re-learning French to finding out more about Linux (didn't make much headway there unfortunately). Over time, out of curiosity more than anything, I found myself exposed to non-erotic gay material. This led me to the concept of healthy, romantic same-sex relationships and the greater discourse that existed around rights and equality. For the first time, being attracted to the same-sex was cast in a positive light, albeit a secular one.
While I was with my ex, I really felt that this was it - this was confirmation that I could stay in the closet forever. I could have a completely fulfilling relationship with a woman, without having to worry about men. But towards the end of our time together we hit yet another rocky patch, and this created an opening for introspection. We went on a break, and I left for a summer internship in a new city. Being alone let me gather my thoughts, and by the end of summer when we broke up I was determined to face my bisexuality. To anyone hoping for an Islamic vindication of my sexuality, I apologise. The main component of my self-acceptance was an internal epiphany not necessarily related to Islam - and I suppose this may not help anyone looking for a religious answer. Expressing this in words is difficult - basically, I took a good look at myself and the state of my mind. On a practical level, I knew by now that I couldn't keep this bottled up forever. Being closeted didn't bother me all of the time, but when it did, it ate away at my brain. I knew over so many years that my bisexuality was an inherent part of me and it wasn't going to change. Maybe I could suppress my attraction to men and concentrate more on my attraction to women, but my bisexuality wasn't going away. However, it didn't somehow hinder me being a fully functioning member of society, and it didn't harm anyone. There was nothing wrong with the way I was, and there was nothing in it that could be considered morally wrong. It felt like I had reached a major milestone in my life, and that a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
From there, everything got a little easier and, honestly, maybe even a little exciting. I felt like was being honest with myself and God in a way I hadn't for quite a while. I tested the waters by telling random people I'd met over the summer that I was bisexual, and the lack of negative reactions helped my confidence. I made plans to tell my friends, starting with the ones closest to me and the ones who would most likely take the news well. I looked into Muslim sources both for and against homosexuality to understand where criticism came from so that I could assess it myself. The people of Lut came up frequently, and I wasn't at all surprised at how much the sin of homosexuality was down to interpretation. It was after this that I found other more affirmative sources of information from various places (for me, most notably Irshad Manji), all listed on my Links & Resources page. I signed up for an LGB support group at university, hoping that it would mean finding other people in similar situations and that sharing experiences would help me deal with the obstacles in my own life.
Since then, everything has been going very well. Many of my friends and even some family know of and are perfectly fine with my bisexuality. I want to move on to writing more about them, and as such I'm done with this series of posts. I hope they've been insightful and informative. Over the next few days, look out for a post describing my plans for the next series of articles on the blog, and a Bangla translation of this post!