My sister found my little brother’s phone still in his hand late on night. Light still on and headphones still plugged in. He was fast asleep. She reached to take the phone from his clutch and place it on the table besides him. And then she dropped it.
He had been watching porn. And not just any porn but gay porn.
Her little brother. 17, brown and Muslim.
She didn’t know what to do and and came crying into my room. She gave me his phone. He had been messaging a older man. The man had sent him pictures and videos. And he had sent pictures back – but only of his face, fully clothed (as far as the pictures on record showed).
I proceeded to printscreen and send to myself so I had this man’s number. A man who was sending naked images to minors. And accidently locked the phone. Fuck.
The next morning my brother saw someone had messaged me the pictures. I called him into my room and explained I that I was simply worried about the pedophile and reassured him I still loved and cared for him. I apologised for going through his phone and told him he could speak to me if he wants.
He told me he was bi. And I told him it was ok. He begged me not to tell mum and I promised him I wouldn’t.
And I haven’t.
But we haven’t spoken about it since. Not me and him. Not my sister and I.
I have always been an advocate for liberation and this included LGBT+ rights as you cannot separate them. Yet as a straight, cis person – it has not been personal before as racism, disabilities, sexism and islamophobia have been.
Since then I have been doing a lot of thinking about queerness. I do wonder if we are all born queer and socitial and other pressures lead us to live one way or another. For instance, LGBT+ communities were very prevalent and accepted in south Asian communities prior to western, Christian colonisation that outlawed it. And yet Islam specifically prohibits non-heterosexual relationships. It also prohibits all sexual relationships prior to marriage.
I guess it is easy to speak about rights that go against your culture when the two don’t have to intersect. This whole thing has made me question my allyship. Clearly more for show than I had previously realised.
And of course this is not about me. I am sure my brother is going through a very complicated thought process, being outed without his choice and having to navigate life as a bi, brown, Muslim man.
Yet that does not take away from me having to do a lot of learning and growing.