Post submitted by Michael Toumayan, former HRC Senior Religion and Faith Program Manager
A majority of American Muslims accept lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people as part of society, according to new findings from Pew Research Center, marking a dramatic shift in attitudes over the past decade.
Fifty-two percent of American Muslims now agree with the statement, “Homosexuality should be accepted by society,” nearly double the number from those polled a decade ago. The survey also revealed that Muslim women are much more accepting of LGB people than their male counterparts, with 63 percent of women supportive compared to 42 percent of men. Pew also found historic support among Muslim millennials (60 percent), U.S.-born Muslims (57 percent) and foreign-born Muslims (49 percent).
This marks a spike in support since 2011, when only 39 percent of American Muslims were accepting, and a huge rise since 2007, when more Muslims were not accepting (61 percent) of LGB people than accepting (27 percent).
The Pew survey also found that 64 percent of American Muslims agree that there is more than one way to interpret Islamic teachings -- an encouraging finding for improved LGBTQ acceptance going forward.
These findings shed a promising light on Muslims’ attitudes toward and beliefs about LGBTQ people, and suggest that the door is open wider for a re-examination of Islamic teaching on LGBTQ people by Islamic scholars like Imam Daayiee Abdullah, a member of HRC’s Religion Council and founder of MECCA Institute.
The findings, released Wednesday, were based on Pew’s survey of 1,001 U.S. Muslims between Jan. 23 and May 2. Unfortunately, there remains limited to no research on transgender people among American Muslim audiences.
HRC welcomes these numbers as significant changes within the community.
HRC Foundation is committed to engaging the American Muslim community and elevating the stories and experiences of LGBTQ Muslims. Recently, HRC presented “Ramadan Reflections,” on online campaign aimed at creating an inclusive space for reflections during Ramadan. And, in 2015, HRC released the guide, “Coming Home to Islam and to Self.”