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The ludicrous ways that gay and transgender people defend Islam in the name of “social justice” « Why Evolution Is True


Let’s face it: gays, women, and transgender people shouldn’t be defending Islam, for that faith has an abysmal record of tolerating these groups. We all know about the oppression of women by Islam, and homosexuality can be punished by execution in Yemen, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia (punishment there can be stoning!), Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. What do these countries have in common?

In Iran, as I’ve written before, transsexuality is legal only if you undergo a sex-change operation (and that means genital surgery), and many homosexuals become transsexual women simply to allow them to have sex with men without being killed or having to leave their country. As Wikipedia notes:

While Iran has outlawed homosexuality, Iranian Shi’a thinkers such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini have allowed for transsexuals to change their sex so that they can enter heterosexual relationships. This position has been confirmed by the current Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is also supported by many other Iranian clerics. The state will pay a portion of the cost for a sex-change operation. Some lesbian Iranian women have cross-dressed to avoid sexual harassment and rape, opposition groups alleging that they do so to obtain “economic opportunities only available to men”, despite 60% of professionals in Iran being women, and Iran even having a female vice-president. It is illegal for a woman to dress as a man, or for a barber to cut the hair of a woman short (out of fear that doing so would facilitate cross-dressing). Likewise, men who cross-dress or are deemed too effeminate will also face harassment or criminal charges. Transsexuals are granted immunity from these regulations.

Since the mid-1980s, the Iranian government has legalized the practice of sex change operations (under medical approval) and the modification of pertinent legal documents to reflect the changed gender. In 1983, Khomeini passed a fatwa allowing sex-change operations as a cure for “diagnosed transsexuals”, allowing for the basis of this practice becoming legal.  This religious decree was first issued for Maryam Khatoon Molkara, who has since become the leader of an Iranian transsexual organization. Hojatoleslam Kariminia, a mid-level Islamic cleric in Iran, is another advocate for transsexual rights, having called publicly for greater respect for the human rights of Iranian transsexuals.

Despite the government’s policy, transsexualism is still a taboo topic within Iranian society, and no laws exist to protect post-operative transsexuals from discrimination.

Here are some data from the 2013 Pew Survey showing how people in Muslim-majority lands regard homosexuality and other issues. Being gay is considered morally wrong by most Muslims in all Muslim-majority lands surveyed (these didn’t include Saudi Arabia or Iran, where asking such questions could get you killed):

Divided by country:

Why, then, would a gay or transsexual person (or even a woman) defend Islam as tolerant and enlightened on issues of their rights? They shouldn’t, but if they’re Regressive Leftists they’ll do it anyway, as they consider Muslims “People of Color” and thus exempt from normal expectations of progressive and tolerant behavior.

For a particularly ridiculous defense of Islam’s “tolerance” for gays and transsexuals, listen to this five-minute eructation of apologetics by Riley Dennis, a transsexual woman whose videos appear on the self-lacerating site Everyday Feminism:

Dennis asserts that criticism of Islam’s treatment of LBTQ people is motivated solely by Islamophobia, which is ridiculous. He argues that Muslims are portrayed as terrorists in movies and on television—an argument that, even if true, is completely irrelevant to her thesis. Further, since there are 1.6 billion Muslims, says Dennis, they can’t all hate gays. And that’s true, but we’re talking about the religion as a whole, and for that you can see the statistics above.

As for the anti-gay laws of Muslim lands like Saudi Arabia, well, Dennis says those laws are horrible, but “that doesn’t mean it’s a Muslim law. . . it’s a law put in place by the Saudi Arabian government, not the religion of Islam”. That’s risible: where did the law come from? Sharia, of course, and that’s Islamic law.  She further says that “most Muslims disagree” with Wahhabi Islam, and that may be true, but most Muslims still see gays as immoral—and that includes 95% of those surveyed in Indonesia, which Dennis touts as a liberal country.

As for Iran, Dennis praises it “since the 1980s, the government has partially funded sex-change operations for transgender people”. Right! And those operations are performed in gays who would rather be snipped than executed. There’s not much of a choice there. So much for the enlightened government of Iran. If you can justify that, you can justify any oppression.

Dennis further argues that Leviticus shows that Christianity calls for the death of gays, and it does, but the difference is that Christians no longer kill gays or punish homosexuality by death. 

She winds up by saying this:

“So why do I support Muslims? Because I can recognize that the laws of a few Middle Eastern countries [JAC: Africa, too!] do not represent the views of 1.6 billion Muslims. Because I know that being a Muslim automatically doesn’t mean being against queer people. Because there are queer Muslims and trans Muslims and gay Muslims. [JAC: Many of them live in fear.] And because Muslims face a huge amount of discrimination in the US and Western Europe because of the actions of a militant group in the Middle East that they have nothing to do with. When fighting for social justice, it’s important not to leave Muslims behind.”

The least sentence is correct: everyone should be treated the same under the law, and not be demonized or oppressed because of their faith. But the penultimate sentence is wrong: Muslims face opprobrium not just out of antireligious bigotry, but because by and large the religion hews to a medieval code that is oppressive and divisive. True, many Muslims like Maajid Nawaz are liberal, and abjure bigotry (note that Nawaz is demonized by Muslims!); but the data show that it’s not just the religion that dictates bigotry: the bigotry has been adopted by its adherents,

People like Dennis are in fact dangerous, for they are “normalizing” and excusing oppression of the worst kind. By giving Islam a pass, and refusing to indict both Islam and many of its adherents for their abysmal treatment of gays and transsexuals (and I’ll add women here), they are not only perpetuating that bigotry, but are embarrassing true progressives. We cannot allow these muddleheaded apologists to become the voice of the Left.


UPDATE: I’ve found a refutation of this video by Blaire White, another transsexual woman, who simply rips Dennis to shreds, decrying his overweening ignorance. She makes many of the same points I do.

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