Stories about homosexuality

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, a documentary exploring the widespread sexual abuse of children in the streets of Peshawar, is something one wishes every Pakistani would take time to watch, while imploring his or her own eyes to un-see it. The practice of ‘bachabazi’ (child prostitution), as it’s known around the country, is something most of us are aware of. It is an ignominious fact of life in Pakistan that has blended seamlessly among all the other facts we don’t like to talk about. The statistics are hair-raising. Of the estimated one and a half million street children in Pakistan, 90% have suffered sexual abuse. And for every 10 ...

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My husband is gay – A difficult truth

Case 1: On her wedding night, *Hira found out that her new husband had a male partner. Her world came to a standstill. He told her not to expect much from him because he had no inclination towards her as a wife. Hira came back to her parent’s house the same night and when she confronted her in-laws, they sheepishly replied that they thought he would be ‘fine’ once he got married to a girl. Case 2: *Shumaila’s husband lived in the UK and, despite having been married to her for eight months, didn’t sponsor her visa so she could join him in London ...

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From pederasty to paedophilia and Freudian slips

A long time ago, a gay Pakistani I know asked me once whether the relationship between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz qualifies as paedophilia. I didn’t understand his question or the context of it because he is well-read, intelligent, knows his religious history and psychology. The question confused me because there was very little I knew about them compared to Madho Lal Hussain. Nevertheless, to avoid hurting my own ego, I referenced my mental notes on the romantic relationship between Madho Lal and Shah Hussain, and immediately tried to correct him. “The feelings Rumi had fall under what we know as pederasty, ...

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A mosque named after Mumtaz Qadri? Well done, Pakistan!

I was spending a lazy afternoon lounging in the Osama bin Laden library, bemoaning the dire lack of buildings honouring our local murderers, when my Smartphone informed me of this fascinating new development. I learned of a mosque being erected in Faizabad that is to be named after the man who killed the former governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer. The very idea of a mosque, a sacred house of worship, being named after a man who attained his glory by murdering another man in cold blood, may reasonably offend certain people. Certain people like, say, Sherbano Taseer, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Mehreen Zahra, who expressed ...

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Is Islam better practised in the West?

Most people are very quick to point out the flaws and imperfections of Western lifestyle, citing promiscuity, free flowing alcohol, homosexuality, gay marriage and a free mixing of sexes as the main ingredients in its destruction and thus its aberration from Islam.  However, I personally think Islam is implemented in a much more effective manner in the West than it is in Pakistan. Why? Well for several reasons – the social welfare system, the cleanliness of streets, the unacceptability of discrimination, the freedom to practice your religion and a system which protects women and recognises their rights as commensurate with men. Social welfare By social welfare, ...

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Liberal India will not accept the SC verdict, we are not against LGBTs

Shehla Rashid cuts a lonely figure in the crowd of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at Delhi’s protest street popularly known as Jantar Mantar. A student of sociology in a leading university in the capital and an activist fighting for the cause of women and minorities, Rashid has come to express solidarity with the gay community who are outraged over the judgement of the Supreme Court that has criminalised same sex alliance. The young student feels angry that the apex court has lost a historical opportunity to give the sexual minority their due rights under the constitution. “The judgement ...

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A modest ‘proposal’

The reaction that one expects after having written an explosive story on the gay and lesbian community in Pakistan is threatening warnings and murderous calls. All I got however, apart from that usual list of fiery comments on the article, was a very interesting email suggesting a ‘match’ for me (replete with a bio-data and picture akin to a rishta service). I honestly don’t know what to make of it especially since the email that was sent to me with this ‘proposal’ of sorts several months after my story was published.The fact that it coincides with my recent change in ...

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Because I’m a lesbian

For 24 years, the horror of lesbianism haunted me. No, I don’t belong to an anti-religion, mod squad, liberal family. My family is as normal as any middle-class and religious family could be. After my teens, I grew up questioning my sexual orientation and my doubts turned into guilty trepidation when I realized this was not “just the phase” I was going through. This was the my life which I had been constantly denying. Being a lesbian in Pakistan where one is eloquently declared a sinner or deemed to have a psychological disorder, is like committing a crime. You are considered as disgusting ...

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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 ...

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To Pakistani media: Stop spouting homophobic hatred

Right from the outset, I want to state in no uncertain terms that homophobia infuriates me to no end. Whether or not one agrees, it is a natural proclivity and/or a conscious choice, the state has no business regulating sexual expression and practice between consenting adults. There are far more pressing matters for the government to spend its budget on than policing what people do in private. Having said that, I understand that lawmakers in Pakistan will not remedy homophobic laws because the majority of the citizens would oppose such a move. I’m not naïve enough to believe we’ll follow ...

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