Gay bars have played an outsized role in the lives of many gay men. They're often our first introduction to the gay community, our entry to a Technicolor world after struggling to be true to ourselves in a black-and-white world. They're where we meet others like ourselves and realize we're not 'the only one.'
Do I believe that most mosques today would let recovering alcoholics and drug addicts speak to their congregations? Probably not. Do I think there is a problem with that? Yes, definitely. Our failure to engage diversity in our communities, inclusive of diversity in terms of life experience, leaves us potentially stunted in our individual and communal growth.
For many of us who may struggle on a daily basis with anxiety, depression, addiction and self-worth, all we want to do is just get to first base. Sometimes, that's as far as we can go on any given day, month, or year. Hitting a home run isn't really something we are able to do just yet. But be patient with us. Give us the gift of time, and a maybe a little more than three strikes.