No, it is not time for gay rights in Pakistan

Published: June 27, 2011
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Spectators watch the annual Gay Pride Parade in New York June 27, 2010. PHOTO: REUTERS

In the wake of the same-sex marriage bill passed by the New York Senate, a few people are supporting similar kind of rights for the (still closeted) gay community in Pakistan.

In my view, it is disastrous to even think of it at this moment, for the following reasons:

The gay community in the United States (US) achieved their current rights after decades of continuous social, political and legal struggle. Yet even today, several states including the US federal government do not recognise civil union/partnership. Some states permit civil unions but they don’t equalise those to marriage.

According to public wishes, like the federal government, states also have their version of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to preserve the sanctity of marriage – that is a marital union between a man and a woman. This means that a civil union/partnership entered into one state is not recognized either on the federal level or in states which prohibit such unions. So if a same-sex couple enters into a civil partnership in Washington DC, that union will not be recognised in Ohio.

Keeping the US case in view, we must remember that although there is no official religion in the US, based on the cultural and social sensitivities, the majority of people do not favour gay rights. Gay phobia is still prevalent in US society. Moreover, the conservative groups are actively engaged in lobbying against gay rights. Imagine what would happen in Pakistan, where religious minorities are persecuted, the poor have no access to justice and the situation of women’s rights is dismal.

Will it be appropriate to raise a voice for gay rights?

Until recently, sodomy was a punishable crime in several US states. In 2003 the US Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas decriminalised consensual sex between adults of the same gender. There is no Supreme Court ruling yet in terms of giving them equal rights such as a right to marry and having kids.

Gay rights activists claim rights under the ‘equal protection’ clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution which says:

“…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In contrast, Pakistan’s Constitution is Islamic in nature. Given the unanimous consensus in the Muslim world against homosexuality, it is nearly unimaginable in our life time to see any acceptance or tolerance for homosexuality in Pakistan.

On June 17, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed first resolution condemning the discrimination faced by gay people. Such support at an international level will bolster the legal and political struggle by the gay community for equal rights. However, it is important to note that resolutions passed by United Nations General Assembly and its other organs such as the Human Rights Council, are not legally binding on member states as another blogger claimed. Under Chapter IV of the UN Charter which deals with General Assembly, such resolutions are called recommendations. Recommendations are resolutions that only reflect the view of the majority of the world nations.

There is no denying that Pakistan has its own share of bi and homosexual community, but speaking on their behalf for rights sounds quite absurd when longstanding issues like procedural changes to the blasphemy or Hudood Laws are not addressed.

In a situation like this, it is better to prioritise issues.

ayesha.umar

Ayesha Umar

Interested in current affairs, cultural and gender-based issues Ayesha religiously tweets @ayeshaesque. In her free time she blogs at Fifth Junction and indulges in random photography.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/needroos Syed Nadir El-Edroos

    Rights are universal, how can you prioritize or pick and choose? Prioritizing one groups rights while ignoring the others is plain discrimination if the intentions are noble. Recommend

  • Amna

    In the West, God is dead according to their philosophers. In Pakistan people still believe in the Quran and in the story of Prophet Lot alhamdolillah. There might be issues of Klinefelter syndrome – the eunuch found on roadsides but they are clearly not gays nor lesbians. They are the ones who have to be adjusted in the society and given medical help. You need to speak for their rights. Recommend

  • Hussam

    You should tag Rabayl Manzoor in this post.Recommend

  • muhammad sharjeel

    it is not just the taliban but their female versions also which promote and propagate extreme homophobia in our society and then such women transfer their hate to their children and the cycle continues.Recommend

  • Happy Baba

    Thank God, someone finally wrote words which makes sense. Two Thumbs up Ayesha!!!!Recommend

  • Happy Man

    Happy Man se Happy Baba hogaya :P I want my rights too.Recommend

  • shahrukh kazmi

    Thank you!! we are trying to be too modernized this thing will not help us nor going backward will help us please try to be moderate and try not to forget our roots and for heaven sake don’t pull Islam into this cuz it does not permit homosexuality.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    If you’re planning systematic desensitization for the masses, I’m all in. Nobody’s silly enough to believe that we can pass an LGBT protection act tomorrow without the beards burning down the national assembly.

    But for that, we need to keep all lines of communication open. The right time will never come as long as we keep sweeping the matter under the rug saying, “Now is not the time to discuss it”.Recommend

  • Wendyl Harris

    I’m afraid the author’s comments make no sense and are not really strictly very accurate in relation to the US. As of last Friday’s vote in the New York senate only 6 states now afford LGBT civil union/marriage recognition thereby illustrating that the US, despite all its meddling in other nations, its proclamations of democracy, freedom, equality, is not really any of these things. Even more ‘amusing’ here are the comments defending the Republican/DOMA activities, coming as they do from the far right who are equally as frightening and aggressive towards Islam as well as a wealth of other under represented groups.

    Surely the very argument used to advocate addressing religious & gender intolerance hold true for the rights of the LGBT community too? Legislation could deal with everyone’s equality in one go and put Pakistan right up there among the leading nations of the world, places like South Africa for example that came from a position of racial apartheid, torture and abuse as well as criminalisation of homosexuality a few short years ago to full equality for all in every respect today, and teach the US a valuable lesson in how to do things into the bargain…it’s all very well talking about the years and experience of the US civil rights movement but they still haven’t yet won the fight against racism so this argument is fairly irrelevant too.

    And finally as regards the argument that this is incompatible with Muslim values…correct me if I’m wrong, and apologies if I say this clumsily as a non-muslim, but surely the underlying foundation of Islam states there nothing exists on earth that God did not have a hand in creating and therefore it is for God to judge…you might find this interesting too from the UK: http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2011/06/27/surprise-poll-shows-widespread-muslim-supportRecommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    The right time to do the right thing was yesterday.

    “Let’s forget minority rights for now. We have women’s rights to deal with.”
    “Let’s forget women’s rights now. We have grave financial problems to deal with.”
    “Let’s forget financial problems right now. We have an internal terrorist threat to deal with.”
    “Let’s forget the internal terrorist threat. We have India to deal with.”

    There will always be something “better” for you to look after, but that does not mean we should be sweeping all other problems under the rug. We can work on them simultaneously. And by no stretch of imagination is the gay rights problem anything but “major”.Recommend

  • KnvE

    I guess Pakistan is too primitive and uncivilized – is that what is being said? Well, the existence of a “blasphemy law”, for example, pretty much proves that, perhaps. I feel sorry for the few educated and right thinking people in Pakistan, as well as women and minorities.

    Oh and by the way, although homophobia does exist in the United States as it does pretty much everywhere, recent polls show that a majority of Americans now support marriage equality (allowing same-sex marriage).

    We need not sacrifice or delay the fight for rights for one people for another, but should push for equal rights for all, and all together.

    The incorrect thought that homosexuality is a disorder is one of the past. Every single major scientific organization in the world states that homosexuality is a normal, natural, and positive variant of human sexuality. Ten of the most civilized countries in the world now allow same-sex marriage, as do several US states and some other jurisdictions.

    Pakistan need not jump straight to marriage equality, I understand that is quite impossible considering how uneducated a vast amount of the population in Pakistan are (and hence bigoted), but Pakistan can at least get rid of it’s outdated and archaic stance on LGBT rights. The historic resolution on gay rights in the UN Human Rights Council is just the beginning. The resolution will at least lead to backward countries which are opposed to LGBT rights being named and shamed. More will come.

    Progress and the progression of liberty, equality, and justice for all is unstoppable.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    It’s not the right time for gay rights..not the right time for Ahmadi rights…not for women’s rights…not for dealing with the blasphemy law…
    .
    When is this “right time” going to come anyway? At some point, a free humanist would have to bang his fist at the table and scream, “NOW!!”.
    .
    Procrastinating won’t get us anywhere. Only if we invoke the debate now will the law be passed about ten years from now.Recommend

  • Moderate

    Things we do on the name of freedom :( May Allah help us all.Recommend

  • The patriot

    Ayesha , you have nothing better to right ? We are not fanatics but at the same time there are some beautiful things we do and there are some things we should touch as society as its not against religon but nature ……..so please do not get into such things in the name of liberalism………….Recommend

  • iffo

    In the name of Allah, the most benificial and the most merciful.
    Islam is best.. It is the religion for all human by Allah Almighty who created the whole world.. No doubt Allah knows wrong and right about us.. So how dare you think about your rights!
    For nonMuslims: please atleast one’s study Islam please..Recommend

  • http://www.imaan.org.uk Azeem Ahmad

    Ayesha it is disastrous that Pakistan does not think of rights for it LGBT population.
    Only when Pakistan stands up for the rights of all communities will Pakistan be a safe place to live. Pakistan is focusing it’s attention on fighting a physical battle with the taliban and other extremists. If Pakistan was to fight the intellectual and compassionate battle with the extremists the battle would start with rights for ALL persecuted groups. People like yourself think the battle can only be won with the sword but the pen is mightier as history has proven. Use your pen wisely and don’t give into the extremists on your battlefield. The real question for you now is ‘do YOU believe in the human rights of the LGBT community?’

    Peace, Azeem
    http://www.imaan.org.ukRecommend

  • Ali

    No such thing as homosexuality and Islam therefore there is no need to recognise homosexuality.

    Yes rights are universal but do not dictate ones countries interpretations of rights on another country. We have Islamic rights and we need to ensure Islamic rights are followed long before we ever even think of giving rights that are not Islamic.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahmed

    Seriously….. It seems like people are completely misunderstanding the complications associated with Pakistan. We are being told to join the modern world when we have really not addressed some basic issues. Tolerance does not develop overnight and you have to prepare people before you open up something so unexpected on them. I think it reminds me about how much money was being spent in Pakistan regarding targeting HIV/AIDS where as majority of the people were dying because of cancer and TB. I think even bringing this issue to limelight can wait until we have actually addressed things which are affecting everyone regardless of their gender with equal plight. It will take some reform and 90% literacy along with curriculum based on tolerance before you should start being vocal about this issue and create more confusions for a public who are still not sure who the real enemy is. The pragmatic approach often requires patience and caution otherwise you only inflame the feelings of hatred and confusion. Recommend

  • SomeGuy

    “Justice delayed is justice denied.”Recommend

  • Ali

    To all theh straight people out there, think of this. why would anyone in teir right mind choose to be gay in a society that persecutes anything different? I am gay, i would never wish it on anyone else as life can become hell. I would never choose this. But the fact is i dont have a choice, i am who i am so i just accept myself and get along with life.

    If you aske me to get married, who should i marry? Would you like it if your sister was married to a man who could not make her happy?

    The situation is even worse for lesbians. I don’t expect any kind of gay rights from a very hypocritical society, but the least you can do is open your mind and understand people and their feelings and humanity. You can be tolerant towards people who are different to you. Imagine one day it is your brother or sister who is gay/lesbian? what would you do? or if it is your child?

    1 in 10 people in this world is gay/lesbian so you definately know someone or have someone in your family who is gay.

    Just think before being so nasty to anyone else who has done nothing to hurt you!Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    We should be demanding equality and basic human rights for all. Let’s start there, and then we won’t really have to worry about when is the right time, and for what.Recommend

  • http://obamasaysdomore.wordpress.com Rabayl

    To the author:

    Ayesha,

    We’re entitled to our opinions and let’s agree to disagree on whether the time is right for human rights or whether they should be delayed before some other human’s rights are achieved. Fair enough. I don’t get into comments and discussions but because my Twitter account was linked to my blogpost I’ve been getting tagged in tweets. Eventually I read your tweets and thereafter, I read this post by you.

    I only want to say one thing to you. You and I both agree that gay people deserve rights as equal human beings and should ideally be not subjected to violence when they come out. This basic point we agree upon, right?

    So why would you write a contrary post that fuels the fire against rights gay people and has the potential to further the divide of opinions as pro-gay and anti-gay? I can tell you are NOT anti-gay but that is how your post is being read and circulated. We did not have to be pitted as being on the opposite side of the fence. We clearly are NOT on the opposite side of the fence when it comes to human rights. But it ends up looking you it’s you and against me. Which is a shame.

    It is a regrettable that you would contribute to more hatred and denial of rights in this manner.Recommend

  • Asif Kamal

    “unanimous consensus”? Enjoy your upper class privileged lifestyle lady. That’s the same foolishness mullahs use to keep women hidden and unheard. Human rights are universal, not only for those who enjoy English medium education in a country that can barely read or have access to clean water. Be grateful to the life Allah has given you and with that gratitude use it to do good in your country rather than tell people to wait for the basic right to be left alone and live THEIR lives free of discrimination and injustice. As a woman, I thought you’d have more compassion and sense. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jebrael.Uzair Ozer Barzani

    When she talks about, against Hudood ordinance and Blasphemy laws first and makes it our nation’s priority she needs to understand LGBT liberation and rights are equally crucial as well..
    if women are sentenced to penalty for being rapped, LGBT community lives under the fear of British India act 377 inspired homophobia…( I don’t call it religion inspired, I don’t think Islam is Homophobic, Ignorance is) we cant just talk about ridiculous Hudood and blasphemy laws ignoring LGBT rights completely.. if we don’t talk about it now… Its never gonna be talked!!! if our 42 years of struggle don’t start now it will never start ever…Human rights including women, children, LGBT and other are universal… how can she pick and prioritize some rights and totally ignore others. She snuggests we should delay the gay rights movement and debates about it, let me tell you “Justice delayed is Justice denied”
    we all demand all basic human rights, now, and here and we really don’t need to worry about what’s the perfect and right time! Now and here is the right time.Recommend

  • Ozer Barzani

    and the Author tells us “Pakistan Queer Comunity” to shut up in other words becoz we are never getting rights to live under freedom of choice (Although i dont think being LGBT is a choice) and respectable Author says we are never getting rights at least in her life time, we dont even expect either, but it doesn’t mean we will stop speaking up for our personal freedoms! we pay taxes and we are equal citizens! it just amazed me how she picks and prioritizes the Hudood and blasphemy and Tells us to STOP talking about LGBT rights, okay if she doesn’t support she doesn’t need to demoralize a bigger LGBT community here either. Smaller LGBT comunity Oky* but we are queer and we are out there :)Recommend

  • NASAH

    No there is never a time for the minorities in Pakistan – period.Recommend

  • wendeth khan

    To address the article at hand….it wasn’t “time” for Gay rights in the U.S. back when the people began to stand up for themselves….same as with civil rights, with slavery, etc etc. It’s never “time” to stand up if you base your agenda on status quo. The other issue with the Islamic nature of Pakistan’s constitution is a different agenda entirely, the constitution denies rights to Muslims, non-Muslims of every walk of life (including professionals such as journalists). Perhaps it’s TIME for Pakistani’s to start standing up for RIGHTS in general, and perhaps it’s time to either be Islamic or not. You can’t have a theocracy while you allow the raping of women and children, while you have the mistreatment of anyone at that. You don’t need a theocracy to treat people properly, but you can’t have one and not be treating them properly.
    I don’t know the author, but it seems to me this is a “fear based” piece. Anyone who says it’s not time for human rights is too afraid to stand up for them.Recommend

  • Afsha Saeed Mirza

    The author does make some correct points of the history of gay-rights in the USA but she cleverly leaves out the facts to make her blog more affective. The religious right have spent years of political and financial capital to demonize gay people & deny them equal rights enjoyed by ith citizens. For a while they were successful, they tried the usual tired arguments that if homosexuality was legalized then God would look down on America. The gay-rights movement worked despite at the time seemed like a steep hill and they convinced each member of their community and in spite of being thrown curveballs they keep the good fight going.
    First the Christian conservatives in America classified gays to pedophiles and warned parents of their children being indoctrinated by these so-called gay monsters.In California they tried to identify gay teachers to be removed but then that failed. Fast forward with the older population being stuck in their rigid beliefs the younger generation are more open to accepting equal rights for all in-spite of their sexual orientation. There have been horrific acts if violence spurned by the fire of the religious minsters that saw a spike in gay bashing.
    When the first lesbian kiss was shown on television there was a religious hysteria that America has fallen into the abyss of moral degradation. The Republicans are not fans of Islam but they stand together in trying to squash gay rights.
    It has taken America many years to right its wrong, it has seen its mistakes and accepted it shortfalls. Change does not come easy an there should be no grandiose ideas that gay rights are coming soon to Pakistan but the fact that we are having a conversartion is a big step.Recommend

  • http://ayesha5.wordpress.com Ayesha

    Several people thought that this blog denounced gay rights. That is not true. The main idea was to compare the case of two countries and prove that any movement takes practical effort of decades to attain the rights. It is good to talk about attaining rights for a minority group in a society but at the same time it makes more impact when the people from the same community step forward and document the discrimination or hardships faced by them. The same happened in the US. The gay people formed organizations, went to courts and their local representatives to prevent the work place discrimination (they didn’t exactly demand the right to marriage from the go) and from there they gradually being pushing for the equal rights on the social, political and legal platforms. (The Times of Harvey Milk is a good documentary to take inspiration from).

    In a conservative society like Pakistan it is hard to demand such rights primarily because our laws/constitution are deeply Islamic. I mentioned prioritizing them because certain issues (such as blasphemy, zina laws in Hudood Ord.) in our society are well debated for over two decades and yet people are hostile to them. Suppose if those laws are reformed people can ask for other rights with confidence.

    One thing should be remembered that international resolutions are inspiring but they hardly change the course of a country’s domestic law. For that the people within will have to struggle to reform the laws.

    It is time to get organized. The gay community itself should write in the mainstream media about the issues they face so that the society know what they go through emotionally. The positive testimonies of the families of the out people will also help. Moreover, they should ask the opinion of moderate-liberal Pakistani religious scholars too so that they could argue their case convincingly.

    Generally, many will agree that the gay rights issue is very complex especially in the context of Pakistan and one should be careful in a paving way for it. Also the supporters and gay community should be ready for the backlash. Social movement are successful only if sacrifices are made and the struggle is persistent.

    That was the main idea behind this blog which it seem didn’t come across correctly.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Prevalence of homosexuality is actually higher than 1/10.
    According to Kinsey’s report, roughly a quarter of all people (37% of males and 18% of females) are homosexual, or at least bisexual. Recommend

  • faraz

    Amazingly, people were more tolerant towards gays 500 years ago. Bubur, the great “holy warrior” and Mughal emperor, admitted in his autobiography that he had homosexual tendencies. He dedicated poetic verses to his lover Mr. Baburi.Recommend

  • http://ayesha5.wordpress.com Ayesha

    @Rabayl: I did mention that in a note to ET that this blog is not a rebuttal it is just a different view point.

    Yes, I did write to them and also mentioned in my blog post and writing it the umpteenth time here that people should not be misled by believing that the UN resolution are binding and can grant them a right. For this people form the persecuted community will have to speak up at the domestic level. Practically, indigenous movements are far more successful as compared to when the perception of being pressurized from the international community is developed.

    Moreover, I apologize if that blog served as a personal attack on you. It was not intended so. And every person is entitled to an opinion as you mentioned. I wrote what I feel. The good thing about opinions and debate is that it can change. Recommend

  • Isa Aldrete

    To shame with the other of this article. “Justice delayed is justice denied”, as so many others have already quoted. As a Muslim, I am appalled by the amount of homophobia in the Ummah. We should never ever just sweep things under the carpet, no matter how long it may take. The more it is spoken of, the more people will question and hopefully, begin to realize that gay people are people and deserve respect and safety. I sincerely hope that the author really rethinks of this, because all this is doing is making the Ulema nod their heads in that gay rights are simply not important. Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    I agree with Rabayl.
    Ayesha, in her attempt to take a more pragmatic approach on the issue of gay rights in Pakistan, has ended up promoting the idea that this movement needs to be nipped in the bud.

    Why? Because demanding rights for the gay community now would be impractical and futile..

    But the reality is that the movement will have to start somewhere! The public’s homophobic attitude will not change unless people like Rabayl keep stirring up the issue and reminding us all of the imperativeness of this movement. If we remain silent on the matter saying, “Now is not the time to talk about gay rights”, then this air of homophobia will persist indefinitely.Recommend

  • Norwegian Pakistani

    It was really annoying to read this blog. Seems like author is one of those people who only compares Pakistan with USA. What about countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark? Gay rights are not lame like USA in these countries. And just because it took USA decades to get the “rights” and it did not work well, DOESN’T mean that exactly the same outcome would be in Pakistan. Do yourself a favour and read about Gay rights and history in other countries than USA and then write a new blog post! Such a waste of time to read blogs like yours.Recommend

  • Mirza

    I am for human equality and civil rights for all humans irrespective of their caste, color, religion, national origin and sexual orientation. Like most countries Pakistan is also a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN. The number one says that all people are born free and equal, that includes gay and straight alike.
    However, the biggest problem in Pakistan is that people cannot openly and fearlessly go to even their places of worship, how can they guarantee the rights of gays? When we are not safe to go to shrines and say salaam to our prophet, then forget about any other freedom. In fact a gathering of gays would provide an ideal target to extremists. Sorry to say, it may not be a practical idea in present day Pakistan. In fact let Turkey, Malaysia, and other liberal countries take the lead, and watch.
    The 1948 the United Nations listed 30 human rights.
    These 30 rights are, in brief:
    1. All people are born free and equal
    2. Everyone has the same rights , whoever they are.
    3. The right to life, liberty and to be safe.
    4. No slavery in any form.
    5. No torture
    6. Recognition as a person by the law
    7. Protection by the law
    8. The Right to justice
    9. No arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
    10. The Right to a fair trial
    11. Innocent unless proven guilty
    12. Right to privacy
    13. Freedom of movement
    14. Right to asylum from persecution
    15. Right to a nationality
    16. Right to marry and have a family
    17. Right to own property
    18. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
    19. Freedom of opinion and expression
    20. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
    21. Right to take part in government
    22. Right to social security and the benefits of society’s progress
    23. Right to work, a fair wage, and to join a trade union
    24. Right to rest and leisure
    25. Right to a decent standard of living
    26. Right to education
    27. Right to freely participate in the community
    28. Right to have an international order so these rights can be realised.
    29. Everyone has duties to their community
    30. No one has the right to destroy any of these rights or freedomsRecommend

  • waqas

    o muslims!!! For your religions sake, come on.. what are you upto?
    The followers of Hazrat Lut were destroyed because they were indulged in homo-sexuality. You need to be firm on your religion and must not try to bend its rules. The rules have been laid by our prohpet(s.a.w).
    We need to decide whether we are the followers of prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) or the followers of America………………….Recommend

  • Ali

    while it certainly looks like a long way away to have gay rights in pakistan the argument that gays only got their rights in the US or western world after a long hard struggle and therefore should do the same is faulty in principle. we should either accept that everyone have a right to live their lives the way they want it or that the state should tell people how to live their lives. its time we choose one of these.Recommend

  • sajjad

    @Amna:

    I agree with you, a Muslim must understand that he is a Muslim and treat the crime as a crime, its above my understanding, writer should criticize rather discuss it as human being and national matter. she must read the history of such nations who were involved in this crime on national basis consider it as a right.So if you are a Muslim then you have your own values and you have a religion. Recommend

  • Hmmm

    And what’s the point?Recommend

  • Jojee Khan

    There are Gay’s in Pakistan? Recommend

  • EmmKayEss

    I am gay and I feel for homosexuals.
    It is not a matter of choice for me to be gay. I was born this way, I am attracted to same sex since the age of 5 or maybe 4.
    For all those who are against LGBT rights, pause and think for a moment: there might be a gay in your family, amongst your folks, siblings etc.
    I just wish all the homophobic people on this earth give birth to a homosexual, in straight logoun ka ghar bhi taaliyoun se goonjay, aur inke ghar bhi hamarey jaise bachey paida ho, it will be ONLY then when they could feel for us.Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jebrael.Uzair Ozer Barzani

    Pakistan is a very hypocritical society, one of its kind… but there are some who have stamina to stay true to themselves! those who advocate anti gay sentiments and tell us its not the right time, they better know as my fellow participant LoneLiberal PK stated “The right time to do the right thing was yesterday.
    yesterday people like the author said, Let’s forget minority rights for now. We have women’s rights to deal with. then the next day Let’s forget women’s rights now. We have grave financial problems to deal with. then Let’s forget financial problems right now. We have an internal terrorist threat to deal with.” now Let’s forget the internal terrorist threat. We have India to deal with.”
    There will always be something “better” for you to look after, but that does not mean we should be sweeping all other problems under the rug. We can work on them simultaneously. And by no stretch of imagination is the gay rights problem anything but “major”.

    some thing will sure happen if we start our 42 years long struggle now… okay make it double (84 years) as Pakcistan be an Islamic Republic, but we have hope for freedom to “LOVE” for our future generation. not only for us.Recommend

  • Ozer Barzani

    @waqas: people of Lot, they were involved in illegal homo-forced sex and it was thier bad habit to rape every boy they saw who was beautiful! lets say for example the account of the people of Lut A.S in Koran, God sent 4 angels in the form of beautiful boys in order to test them, but the whole group of sick minded molesters gathered around to “forcefully make Lout A.S, handover those beautiful boys to them so that they could rape them openly against their (boy’s) will… And pedophilia was widespread! It is NOT about “sex with consent” between two adult males! They didnt fall in love! they rapped they made other straight or non willing gay men have sex with them forcefully! and they were doomed because of this very reason. not because they fell in love. any ways its the matter on interpretations,
    in my personal opinion, Allah can never ever forbid love! In any form bcoz he himself is All love! And it was not only homosexuality that doomed ppl of Lot (peace be upon him), they also attacked the trade caravans that passed through their areas! They commited adultry and robbed! Its not only Homosexuality the way radical muslims christians or Jews interpret it!

    So my muslim and Islamic Gay And Proud brothers and sisters! Dont fear those radical mullahs, only fear Allah, and fall in love, jus the way Allah made you!

    Im sorry to say but ppl who are being more muslim here always try to propogate their own persoanal radical brand of islam! They should atleast look closely at what human rights they support, lets forget gay rights for a second! Straight women in radical saudi kingdom cant drive, straight men in Iran if they try to grow hair for fashion, Islamic regime police litterly burns their hair and beats them to blood!! Where are stright human rights in your brand of Islam!
    Dont try to steal and abuse the name of our beautiful religion Islam! Its so open that it has space for every one! Be it men, women, animals, trees even supernatural creatures!Recommend

  • Ali

    Also you are so concerned about gay having rights, how about fighting for those boys raped by the mullahs and the tradition of pederasty in KP?Recommend

  • Tughral T Ali

    wow.. I am posting on this blog simply because I find it incredulous that such a thing is even being written on in Pakistan. This entire debate can only be the product of drawing rooms of the seriously disconnected. Really??? Are you that out of it? Which idiot identifies this as a priority problem in Pakistan? Or even a problem??? Yes there is a sizable gay community in Pakistan but whats the issue here? I dont understand?
    To the educated elite: Khuda kay liay, spend your time and energies fixing the huge pile of REAL issues in this country.. dont just start blindly aping the latest imported psuedo-intellectual debate.Recommend

  • Ahmad

    Another stinking vulgarity from stinking western slave mentality liberal. Why the hell ET has nothing else to promote other than bay-hayyai. How do we care if gay union is allowed in one state of sacred-to-stinking-liberals America? Homosexuality is Haraam in Islam, end of story. Don’t know where do rights come into it. The rights are absolutely defined for us Muslims.
    Shame on the author to write this filth, shame on ET to promote it and shame on our rulers to allow such an organisation to operate openly in Islamic Republic.
    Allah Hamaarey Haal peg reham karey.Recommend

  • hasan

    Live and let live. Why are so many of these people bent upon not giving LGBT people their rights.
    Why doesnt Ayesha give up some of her rights for eg. praying.
    hasanRecommend

  • SR

    This article is not only offending but disgusting too… I mean how can you even think about such a absurd thing! When Allah has made it haram and it’s unnatural by all means how can one even talk about it’s rights! Seriously I’m so sick n tired of these peudo intellectuals who follow west so blindly that they can’t even see what religion teaches us! All I can say is may Allah give this writer and her like-minded’s a hadayaat! AmeenRecommend

  • Bystander

    Fine, I’m going back to the States. To hell with Pakistan.Recommend

  • a muslim

    simply there should be equal basic human rights for each and every person but as for legalizing gays and lesbians, no thank you.
    being liberal & modern, doesn’t mean you’re right..
    right and wrong is a completely different issue..
    Neither Muslims nor Christians think homosexuality right.. so stop trying to legalize sin.Recommend

  • POV

    Hmmmm… to all the ones talking about Islam lets see… Answer the following truthfully:

    1) Islam does not allow photography, do you get your photographs taken?
    2) Islam does not allow “sood” interest , do Pakistani banks charge interest?
    3) Islam doe not allow drugs, Dosen’t Pakistan have the largest addict population in the world?
    4) Islam allows wife beatings, Does Pakistan allow this?
    5) Islam allocates women half the intellect of a man, Do you subscribe to this too?
    6) Islam calls for murder of apostates, Do you murder the nearest apostate you find?
    7) Islam prohibits pornograhy, Isn’t Pak the internet porn capital of the world?

    The fact is some of this was progressive in 7th century Arabia, not in 2011. Reform or get washed away! As history teaches us,if you do not move with the times you will find yourselves in the trashcan of history. Sooner rather than later ;=PRecommend

  • Afsha Saeed Mirza

    I would not be surprise at all those who are horrified at the idea of Islamic acceptance of homosexuality are probably the same crowd of people that look the other way when the little boys who are enlisted in the Madreassahs while their childhood innocence is being destroyed by the Sentinels of Islam who are divulge in this but would rather preach then accept reality.Recommend

  • Rainbow

    I do not understand why you are condemning a movement to provide rights for members of Pakistan’s LGBTQ community. Just because certain parts (and if you ask me, most parts) of the US are very backward thinking does not mean that we have to follow their example. Has the US had a female leader yet? Have we?

    Even though our society is very conservative, and follows every literal meaning of the Quran so staunchly (but alas, only where it suits them) does not mean that change is not possible. For example, recently our transgendered citizens were granted a very large number of rights, something so progressive for a region like ours.

    Yes, these are tumultuous times for Pakistan, and we have a never ending list of problems. But saying that we need to push back the struggle for a particular communities’ rights is NOT the way to go. This really is not the kind of mentality we need right now.

    Realistically, even I agree that the LGBTQ community has a long wait ahead of them to be fully recognized and appreciated, however, the time to start the struggle can be now. This blog, unfortunately, is very pessimistic, an approach that will get us Pakistanis nowhere,Recommend

  • Stacey

    Actually, for the first time ever, a Gallup poll showed the majority of Americans, 53% (above the margin of error), favored legalizing gay marriage. Don’t let the loud, ugly Americans fool you. Most of us are pretty cool with this kind of stuff.Recommend

  • Ahmad M. Qamar

    I just cant understand the rationale behind this piece! It has no logic and is devoid of sense. Nonsensical to the core. Pakistan is, predominantly, a Muslim country and Islam categorically rejects any same sex union or marriage or sex, not to mention the living together of such people as life- long partners. Recommend

  • bilal

    USA has progressed because of its technological & Scientific development…. why dont we take those as our example.. instead of highlighting such useless trends which contributes nothing to betterment of a society. Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    why doesnt the author simply declare herself homophobic instead of this lame if-and-buts-well-you-know argument? The sheer duplicity of words is so evident.Recommend

  • Rebeliouspirit

    LGBT…the author sure does is not in her right senses…the article also seems as confused as the author. This is not the enlighten moderation we are hoping for…

    please get a life and stop immitating the west.

    Some roads a less travelled and less travelled for a reason…Recommend

  • http://russianroulete2.wordpress.com Jeddy

    Sexual preference is not a religion – either someone is gay or is not. Gays will remain gays in private even if society does not accept them. I ask as before why is it always easier to hate than to love? Why is easier to kill than to preserve life? Why is it easier to destroy than to build?Recommend

  • Mr white pathan

    @Wendyl Harris:
    If you accept the premise that religions in general are anti gay and if you accept that marriage is more or less a religious institution(especially judo-Christian-Muslim marriages) then I ask you why do gay people want to get married? Recommend

  • Ahsan H

    Salamz all, I’m gay and I could say that yes, God has made me this way. You guys might not understand this but don’t worry, you’re not alone out there. I, myself, don’t understand why was I made this way. I’m your average Pakistani belonging to a good religious, yet wealthy enough family, having good educational background. How would you feel when you have to question your own being, your very own existence? I do that everyday non-stop. If I had a choice, I would have chosen to be ‘normal’, but I’m normal in more than thousand ways. I’m a good son, a good brother, a good cousin, a good everything, yet they say that I would go to ‘Hell’. One thing I don’t understand is who are they to decide who would go to ‘heaven’ and who to ‘hell’? Last time I checked ALLAH only gave wahi to MUHAMMAH (SAW) who told some of His Sahaba the same thing. Do they think that they are ALLAH or MUHAMMAD (Nauzubillah)? It is very easy to point a finger to someone else, but I do that everyday towards me. *I always think before I speak fearing that I might hurt someone with my words*. I love ALLAH and MUHAMMAD (SAW) but still, I’m an outcast because many out there think that I have chosen this ‘life style’ for me. Ayesha, now I’m not saying that I should have all the rights of a ‘normal’ human being but at least I should be able to say that ‘I’m gay’ without the fear of being ridiculed or violated. We, and I include myself here as well, are not ready for a Gay Right Activism. We have too many misconceptions, even in the gay community. ‘Normal’ people, and even many gay people, think that when it comes to ‘Gayism’, sex is always included. I strongly disagree here. Love for a man has a very important part in my life. I know one day I might have to get married as well and live a double life, and I would hate myself when I would be cheating on my wife with another man. Now call me mental or a mind sick person and advise me to seek medical help but they won’t help, only ALLAH can. P.s I’m not following any western modern notion or anything, I’m just following who I am, and I’m not a bad person.Recommend

  • Nighat Mishbah

    @Mr white pathan – why do gay people want to get married?

    The tide of marriage for same-sex couples has ebbed and flowed FROM America to Pakistan with stops in Canada and Bangladesh over the last decade with no end in sight. Because marriage sits squarely at the intersection of religion, law and society, the discussion around same-sex couples’ inclusion into the institution of marriage has been one of the most complex and hotly contested topics around the world. Gay people want to get married so they can enjoy the same benefits that heterosexual people enjoy like health and property benefits and when they migrate to foreign countries they are give the same immigration status and why @Mr white pathan do you feel you have the right to deny another brother or sister that right?Recommend

  • Atif

    There are no rights and freedom of speech in Islam outside of boundaries set by our Creator Allah (S.W.T). Our Creator Allah (S.W.T.) has asked us not to cross these boundaries. So being gay and talking about their rights is a no no. They don’t have any rights if they do follow it publicly or are caught with evidence (proper Islamic evidence) then according to Islamic law they are criminals and their punishment is death. End of Story. So wait for Islamic Law to prevail and then we shall see how many people follow and talk about such shameful ways of life.Recommend

  • http://yahoo,com basharathaq

    @Loneliberal PK:
    the reply is to all who r muslims n demands such rights .Allah may forgive us for such sins .this is all clear in HOLLY QURAN those who believe in Allah n Quran must not ask for such rights because we know what happend to QUME LOOTH .so please donot call for Allah’s azaab.Recommend

  • Ayaz

    anybody who thinks we can raise a voice in favor of gay rights, thinks that Pakistan is made of 10 people, all of them educated, wealthy and atheist. Pakistan is an Islamic republic for God’s sake! Do Muslim women in france have ‘right’ to wear hijab? Where does freedom goes then when it comes to our rights? everybody talks about rights, what about our obligations living in this country?Recommend

  • Moiz Kazmi

    Gay Rights will not be won in any court room but in the minds and hearts of the people we live with.Recommend

  • gayvoice

    In pakistan gays should be promoted.Some gays lost their life due to no rights in pakistan,before religion and country we should think that we r human beings.i ask to every person if heterosexuality prohibitted than what they do similar gays r in problems plz promote gays .i appeal to whole world plz promote gays otherwise nations will ruin.Recommend