Mohammed H is a bisexual Arab muslim who until recently, had always denied his sexuality.
There’s no active community for him to get involved with despite meeting other LGBTI people in school.
He lives in Bahrain, a small county near Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Mohammed explained to GSN: ‘Since middle school, I always had some odd thoughts going around in my head. I had a male friend that I always found to be cute and attractive.
‘I always wanted to get closer to him and make out with him. That was when I started questioning my sexuality.’
Despite these early thoughts, Mohammed pushed the idea he might not be straight to the back of his mind because of homophobic comments.
‘When I started to learn more about LGBT people, I saw how people labelled them “sinful and disgusting”.
‘For years, I denied myself and always viewed myself as 100% straight despite the fact I sometimes find some males in various media and places to be hot. It wasn’t until August last year this changed.’
While on holiday in Europe, he started to consider the label of bisexual. Mohammed says he finds both genders attractive, ‘although not on the same level.’
‘My dad tells me not to involve in “bad behavior”‘
Although he has now come out to himself and wants to be proud, the only person he is out to is his father.
‘Apart from my dad, no one else knows that. While my dad still loves me for being his son, he sometimes tells me to not to involve in “bad behavior” with people.
‘My friends don’t know because I fear I might lose them if they knew. I treasure the few friends I have and losing them will be hard for me and would hurt so much.’
Despite there being no laws against homosexual acts, Mohammed says many still look down on LGBTI people.
‘While homosexual acts are apparently something legal in this region, it still does not stop people from expressing disgust whenever talking about gay people.
‘To them, the idea of a gay male is unmanly and against nature. They think that all gay people are involving in casual sex all day long and always spread AIDS and HIV all around.’
When it comes to his religion, Mohammed points out ‘people should remember there’s plenty of types of Islam, those who agree and disagree with several things. ‘
‘Some people who hate gay people for being sinful are being ironic. Why? Because they all have done something that is considered sinful but nobody complains about it or even cares that’s happening.
‘I mean every weekend you see people from Saudi Arabia coming over here just to get drink or even laid…who knows what else?
‘But then the moment you hear the word gay and suddenly everyone looks at you negatively.’
‘I’m bisexual in a part of the world where being LGBT is a “disgrace to humanity”‘
He also acknowledges sexual orientation can be very separate to romantic orientation.
‘I believe that being in love with a same gender should be treated differently from having sex with same gender. Not everyone done or does both of those two things.’
Mohammed feels the combination of being an Arab, muslim and bisexual puts him in ‘somewhat an awkward position.’
‘I have always felt unusual and different from everyone else. I tend to feel that no one’s going to understand my struggle and will just hate me for whatever reason.
‘On the other hand, the fact I’m bisexual in a part of the world where some locals refer to LGBT as “disgrace to humanity” and the some of the world view us as homophobic extremists makes me want to stand up and talk about my life.
‘I want to raise awareness for people in similar situations.’