Jahed Choudhury’s and Sean Rogan’s wedding photos went viral this past June and were announced to the internet as the first gay Muslim wedding to ever take place in the UK. The couple has created more visibility for queer Muslims and is definitely an inspiration saying, “We’re going to show the whole world that you can be gay and Muslim.”
However, they aren’t the first gay Muslims to wed in Britain.
Britain’s first out Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore, 34, spoke with The Times about how gay marriage in Muslim LGBTQ communities is thriving,
“In south Asian Muslim culture, marriage is very much a milestone. Even if you identify as LGBT, marriage plays a big part in your upbringing and your psyche and I think LGBT Muslims in Britain are taking real advantage of equal marriage.”
Lahore knows a thing or two about paving the way for LGBTQ people in Britain. She appeared on Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queens in 2015 and has recently come out as transgender. She feels that there may be thousands of queer and trans-Muslims in Britain who are afraid to come out, which is in part why she’s been so vocal about her journey as a drag queen and identifying as a trans woman.
In fact, Lahore had a gay wedding back in 2014 when she was still going by Asif. Even before that in 2005, she entered into a civil partnership with her then partner. Though the two are now going through an amicable divorce, Lahore says that LGBTQ Muslim marriages are thriving. Lahore wants Choudhury and Rogan to know that she’s glad they’re so proud and open about their marriage but that “there have been others before him and will be many more.”
Choudhury and Rogan have faced threats and discrimination since coming out so publicly about their wedding. Many commenters saying “you can’t be gay and Muslim, if you’re gay then you aren’t Muslim.” Though this sentiment seems to be strong for some Muslims, there is a large community of Muslims that support their LGBTQ peers.
Rogan reported to the Independent that “Being gay’s not wrong, it’s not ‘a phase’. People just need a bit of support.” Though their family didn’t support the marriage, the couple is now thriving and more in love than ever.
They have overcome discrimination and self-doubt and now just want to be happily in love, as they should.
In her interview with The Times, Lahore notes that marriage gay marriage is now the law of the land,
“We live in a country where we now have access to equal rights and they should be exercised. It would break my heart if there were LGBT Muslims out there who didn’t feel they were able to marry.”
Growing up in a devout Pakistani Muslim family who attempted to arrange a marriage for her when she was a young boy, she deeply understands the fear of being out. She resisted this arranged marriage and her family has come around to find some acceptance for her now.
Overall, Lahore wants the world to know that Britain has a thriving LGBTQ Muslim community and there are others like her to support young queer and trans-Muslims in not feeling like they’re alone.