A Jihad of the Heart a study with practicing Muslim MSMs to see impact of religious belief on them

Published: August 1, 2008

A Jihad of the Heart a study with practicing Muslim MSMs to see impact of religious belief on them

Background: Sexual identities, masculinities and sexualities take shape within psychosocial and historical processes, which in turn are contextualised by religion, culture and language. Different cultures will often contextualise similar words and phenomena so as to take on different meanings with inherent subtleties typical of that culture. This is true of the South Asia region. 

Methods: Through focus group discussions and one on one interview 150 muslim self identified MSMs i.e. kothis, were accessed in 4 cities in India and 1 city in Bangladesh (30 per city). 

Results: For Muslim kothi-identified MSM, the daily conflict between sexual practice, desire and gender performance and their Muslim beliefs leads to an emotional life that swings between pleasure and depression as a constant experience. They believed they could never be true to themselves, resulting in very low level of self esteem and self worth. Faced with an either or choice, kothis often expressed their low self worth upon themselves as a form of physical self-damage along with suicidal depression and low condom usage believing that possible HIV infection is upto Allah. 

Conclusions: Further studies are planned towards developing resources that will empower Muslim self identified kothis and other muslim MSMs in regard to their religious belief. 

-Abstract can be found at link below-

 

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