'Yes, but suppose everyone turned gay?' The structure of attitudes toward LGBT rights among Islamic youth in Belgium'Yes, but suppose everyone turned gay?' The structure of attitudes toward LGBT rights among Islamic youth in Belgium
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
Journal of LGBT youth
7(2010):1, p. 49-71
Various quantitative studies have suggested the occurrence of hostile feelings toward LGBT rights among Islamic communities in Western societies. We know less, however, about the structure and determinants of these attitudes among this group. Based on focus groups and in-depth interviews, we try to disentangle these elements. The interviews suggest that feelings toward LGBT rights among this group are not based on a discourse of individual rights but are considered within the background of dense family relations, strongly linked to notions of family honor and the duty of the individual to contribute to the stability of the family and the community. While the respondents endorsed the notion that the basic scriptures of Islam prohibit homosexual behavior, there was more disagreement about what this entails for the moral status of the individual involved in this kind of behavior. It is suggested that this form of disagreement might serve as a leverage point for the development of a more tolerant outlook toward LGBT rights among Islamic communities in Western societies. Rather than to antagonize various groups in the community, it is suggested that efforts to reduce prejudice against LGBT youth should take into consideration the role of various cultural backgrounds.