Although most traditional Muslim scholars condemn same-sex desires and acts, revisionist Muslim scholars have offered a more tolerant approach on this issue over the last two decades. Building on an essentialist approach to same-sex desires and acts, these scholars have argued that Islam accepts difference and diversity, including sexual diversity, as part of God’s creation. Homosexuality, which in their view is an innate disposition to the same sex, is an alternative sexuality and, thus, accepted by the Qur’an and Islam. This article argues that an essentialist approach is not suitable to defend all manifestations of same-sex desires and acts, not only because it is narrow (as it excludes both bisexual Muslims and homosexual Muslims who believe that their sexual orientation is socially constructed), but also because it cannot even argue the case for the view of homosexuality as inborn. This article proposes to open up the debate beyond essentialism and constructivism, which both have their limitations, to accommodate a more inclusive and tolerant Islamic approach to same-sex desires and acts.
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