It’s not easy being gay
I am a male. I am a Muslim. I am a Pakistani and I am gay.
I come from a deeply religious family, where everyone prays five times a day and reads the Qur’an every day.
I came to the realization when I was eighteen-years-old, while I was in a relationship with my first girlfriend. Even though I was with her, I did not feel any sort of attraction towards her. The only feeling that I felt for her was of a friendly affection, nothing more and nothing less.
I say realization, but deep down I suppose I always knew that I was different from all the other guys. I never used to sit and ogle at girls and pass comments about them, but at the time I attributed that to my upbringing and to the fact that I had learned to respect women, having lived with three very admirable women at home, my mother and my sisters. And even though that still stands true, now I understand that it was something else – something inside me which made me think and behave differently.
I began to hate myself when I gradually became more and more convinced about my sexuality, trying to cut myself with any sharp thing I could lay my hands on, knives, scissors, blades, anything at all.
Whenever such thoughts came into my head, I went and locked myself in my room and tried to hurt myself.
I started to pray even more. I sat on the prayer mat for minutes and hours on end crying, begging Allah to change me, not to make me the way I was turning out to be.
I thought Allah was testing me, that He was testing my faith, my imaan; that He wanted to see if I could fight temptation. But I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I struggled or how much I prayed and asked for help, I failed every time.
Now I’m reaching that age where my parents are starting to discuss my marriage and whenever I listen into their conversation, a part of me dies inside.
The feelings of helplessness and impotency that I go through cannot be compared to anything else.
My parents have been planning my wedding ever since my older brother got married eight years ago: how can I go and tell them that I cannot get married? How will I be able to live with myself if (or when) I am married, knowing that I’ve ruined an innocent girl’s life because surely I will never be able to give her the love and intimacy that she truly deserves?
Sometimes I contemplate on whether I should tell my family the truth and stop living a lie, thinking that they will love me no matter what. Then my fantasy comes to a grinding halt. My bubble bursts, when I hear my sister or my brother passing comments full of hate and prejudice about gay men and how much they detest them, whenever they see them on television or in person. I sit and think what they would say to me, if anything at all.
But now I feel that I’ve come to terms with whom and what I am.
I have accepted this fact, that no matter how hard I try I will not be able to change myself. Although, that does not mean I’ve moved away from my religion or from Allah. Why can I not be who I am and stay close to my faith at the same time? Why does it always have to be one or the other and never both?
The average person tends to think that people like me are the way we are because we choose to be this way. This may be true for some people, but it definitely was not true for me.
Why would I choose to live a life where I have to constantly lie to all those who I care about? Why would I choose to live a meaningless life where I may never be happy? Why would I choose to be this way when I’m fully aware of what my family would do to me, if they ever were to find out the truth about me?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.