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Observant gay Muslim balances faith and sexuality

This week we introduced you to a young woman who is lesbian and Muslim. Iman Usman loves the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began on July 8th. "It’s literally my favorite month," explained the 18-year-old. "You get up early in the morning with your family and pray. There’s something about getting up before the sun rises."

The first person Iman came out to in her family was her cousin Salman, who goes by Sal. As a gay man with a longtime partner, he was supportive, if not a little overly protective. "I just reminded her that she’s still a young lady, and still a young Muslim and she needs to act accordingly."

Sal understood exactly what Iman would face - both in their large extended family and in the greater Muslim community. Sal knew he was gay at age 6. He was out in his high school but in the closet at home for many years. He’s now in his late 30s and has only been out to his parents for three years.

One is not supposed to break family ties in Islam. Sal says because of this, his parents tolerate him. But they never talk about the fact that he’s gay or has a partner. "They’ve reiterated that they love me and accept me, but they don’t accept my relationship and they don’t accept what they think is my behavior," Sal said.

Read the full story on KPBS HERE.