Aiseyman! Ex-Muslim shares his difficulties and reasons for remaining in the closet


I am an apostate who doesn’t talk to half of my family any more. Not disowned, but... yeah, it's not good. I know a lot of other apostates who are just sort of closeted and have no intention to come out as atheist ever, for obvious reasons. Me, I'm half-Chinese, so I was like 'fuck it, I still have half a family left', but the ones who face losing their entire family and a huge part of their social group - well, they're in a much shittier situation by far. Even if they aren't disowned, they face a ton of screaming, yelling, crying, social shunning, and general bemoaning that's honestly not going to be fun to deal with in the least.

I was basically atheist in my teens, but didn't come out for like five or six years later, and when I did it was because I kind of couldn't take it any more. I absolutely would never hold it against anyone who didn't come out about it due to the pressure they face. You don't have a responsibility to put yourself through that kind of experience. A lot of people don't get how tight-knit the Malay Muslim community can be; and how something like not being Muslim any more (while the rest of you is still the same, pretty much) can basically mean losing pretty much everyone around you, including your family, in one fell swoop.

I still am very fond of my family, especially my tiny cousins, and I think plenty of them are great people. But they'd look upon me, someone that basically abandoned the religion, as totally 100% terrible (while interacting just fine with their non-Muslim friends and co-workers), and dealing with knowing that while lying was not something I thought I could do for the rest of my life.

Ultimately I figured I'd rather them hate me for what I was than like me for something I wasn't. It did help that I had a really supportive partner who was in a similar situation (family of Korean Christians in America) and my dad's side of the family which I'm still close to, though. Without that, I don't know if I could've.