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A program to provide mental, physical and spiritual health care for LGBTQ Muslims will be introduced in May after attracting funding from City of Sydney Council.
Training workshops will be held for LGBTQ mental health care providers to aid in the cultural sensitivity of Muslims within the LGBTQ community.
Aimed at recognising community contribution, the council’s 2017/18 matching grant program allowed for not-for-profit organisation Sydney Queer Muslims Inc to receive funding.
According to a City of Sydney spokesperson, the grant will help Sydney Queer Muslims Inc develop a project for “counselling and therapy professionals to promote culturally competent care of Muslim LGBTQ clients.”
For founder of Muslims for Marriage Equality Fahad Ali, the initiative will be a step in the right direction for the conversation surrounding the taboo concept, stating that this “would be a massive boon to the mental health of so many young queer Muslims.”
While acknowledging the valued work of mental health care providers, Mr Ali said LGBTQI Muslim clients face situations where they are left misunderstood by psychologists.
“It’s quite difficult to understand the intricacies involved in the Muslim community particularly if you’re not in the community yourself,” Mr Ali, a participant on SBS program, Muslims Like Us, said.
Coming to terms with his homosexuality alone at age twelve, Ali believes “having to have this deep personal crisis… you can’t actually talk to anyone about, really does lead to suicide, depression [and] anxiety.”
Sydney Queer Muslims Inc is one of twenty applicants who received funding from the Grants and Sponsorship Program that “build the social, cultural, environmental and economic life of the city,” they said.
In the matching grants document provided to the City of Sydney, Sydney Queer Muslims Inc stated that the project would also aim to “support family and friends of Muslim LGBTQ community on reconciliation of gender, sexuality and spirituality".
With the $4000 grant, the project is expected to start in early May and run for twelve months, working in conjunction with City’s Social Policy and Programs Team.
Partnerships with ACON, Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia, Arab Council of Australia and Muslim Collective are noted for the upcoming project.