Sabrina Jalees on Coming Out to Her Muslim Family in "My Family Broke Up With Me"

January 19, 2013 2:12 PM

Sabrina Jalees and her wife Shauna at their wedding

My Family Broke Up With Me” is hopefully just part one of this must-read story.

Comedian and writer Sabrina Jalees – who you can see regularly on shows like Video on Trial and Match Game and as the left-side half of the gorgeous couple in the photo above at her wedding to wife Shauna (right) – shared the recent experience of coming out to her Muslim family with the Huffington Post. Here are a few quick excerpts that put lumps in our throats and smiles on our faces:

“Over the holidays I gifted my Muslim relatives with the truth: I'm gay, I'm married, I'm happy. It landed in 28 inboxes three weeks ago and has received a grand total of zero replies.”

“The same aunts and uncles who held me as a child, fed me from their hands and heard the first words out of my mouth have shut me out.”

“…do I go with the usual breakup routine and start tagging pictures of me with several more attractive extended families to stir up some jealousy? Of course not. I'm above that pettiness. (Also, they defriended me.)”

Read Sabrina's full post, which includes her awesome wedding video.

The crappiest thing about her extended family's rejection is that it was unanimous – even the younger generation have turned their backs so far. “My mom, God/Allah/Krishna bless her soul, reached out to some of the younger, more progressive members of the bloodline,” she writes. “It got a couple of bites — gross ones.”

When I interviewed Kamal Al-Solaylee about his book Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes – which, in a nutshell, is a family story about  escaping persecution for being gay in the post-colonial Middle East, and was short-listed for the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize – it was so great to hear that younger members of his family were supportive of him and his work.

“I think most of my sisters find it very hard that I chose to speak so openly about being gay,” he told me. “But my nephews and nieces, which is the second generation – the generation of the Arab Spring – have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive and proud of me and so supportive. I never thought I'd live to see the day where one my nephews tells me, 'I always known you were gay and I love you for who you are'.”

We'll be curious to see how Sabrina's own brave and wonderful ability to share her feelings will impact her family and we'll be waiting to (hopefully) hear the makeup story.

Here's a video from my interview with Kamal Al-Solaylee..



Comments are closed.