Since I won the Mr. Gay Denmark in 2012, and thus became the first Muslim participant in Mr. Gay Europe and Mr. Gay World 2013, there have been many different reactions. Furthermore I won the title Mr. Congeniality in Mr. Gay Europe and the ‘activist prize’ in Germany in 2013.
While people now are well aware of the existence of Christian and Jewish gay communities, the issue concerning gay Muslims is still a closed area for many. This taboo also got a lot attention in the Danish press Politiken and also in the program DR3 Gay Studies which followed me through the Mr. Gay competition, and focused on my ‘Muslim life’, and how I live as a minority in a minority.
However it got as expected, major consequences for me to come out as gay Muslim.
It ended up as headlines on Facebook with thousands of comments. My husband and I were subjected to extremely hateful comments.
The media in Denmark was more interested in the attention the story got than me as a person. So when people wrote despicable things to me and my husband, the newspaper did not care about removing the really offensive comments.
We had three death threats, which we reported to the police.
We had the names of the three who had sent the death threats we also knew where they worked. Despite of this, the police did nothing. The only comment we have received from the police, was ‘it’s good that someone is fighting for this cause and showing the way for others in similar situations.’
Our car was vandalized, scratched all around, and had ‘faggot’ written on it.
The insurance did not cover all the expenses which were estimated to €5,000 ($5,600).
Additionally my family was worried, frustrated and very upset. They made it very clear that I should stop participating in interviews or programs, instantly for our own safety.
In spite of the fact that the gay media Out & About and the Danish newspaper Politiken wrote about several hate crimes we have been subjected to, we have not been supported by any LGBTI organizations. Although one might think that Denmark is a very liberal country, we still have a long way to go.
The positive results of being open about my Muslim identity also got me accepted and included in many Muslim communities, which of course made me proud. This unfortunately resulted in LGBTI people (here with Muslim background), writing offensive comments as many of them had left Islam, and subsequently resulted in being Islamophobic by nature. I came to the conclusion that the price of my fight was too high. I had to think about my family and what this was doing to them.
My husband and I will, regardless, still support LGBTI organizations.
But they need to be ready to support and to open their eyes to the fact that gay Muslims exist. Awareness in this area is highly needed.
We have had correspondence with Bijat Abdellah, who will be the second Muslim participant in the Mr. Gay Europe competition. Of course he has our support, and knows that we will be happy to be at any assistance if needed. We got the impression that he is already going through similar things as I personally experienced.
Michael Sinan was the winner of Mr Gay Denmark in 2012 and a contestant of Mr Gay World 2013.