Stories about LGBT

“Failing state”? Even Indians think Swara Bhaskar should stop confusing Pakistan with her career!

Given the current milieu of tense relations between India and Pakistan, an Indian contemplating the comments made by a relatively unknown Bollywood actress regarding Pakistan being a “failing state” may not be the most reasonable exercise. However, her statements bring forth something very typical about an average Indian’s perception of Pakistan. Over in Pakistan, actress Urwa Hocane’s posts calling Swara Bhaskar out for her contradictory statements on Pakistan have already gone viral on social media. Pakistan is the country that you @ReallySwara referred to,in 2015, as the “Best country you have ever visited” and it has only gotten better in the last few ...

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Pakistan issues its first gender-neutral passport – what’s that, America? You still haven’t?

In an unprecedented move, the government of Pakistan issued a gender-neutral passport to a transgender activist, Farzana Jan. In an interview after receiving the passport that marks the gender as “X”, Jan said, “I am so happy to be recognised by the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports that I am a human and have a gender other than male and female.” Jan is an activist for the rights of gender minorities and a co-founder and president of an advocacy group, Trans Action Pakistan. The group works for the rights of gender non-conformists, such as eunuchs, transgenders and transvestites. Hate crimes against ...

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‘You’re so bipolar’: Mental illness is not a joke

In an age where obtaining information is as simple as typing a few letters in a search bar and pressing enter, it’s disconcerting to witness the extent of disillusionment when one realises we’re so uneducated in matters of great importance. Mental illness is one of those things. We may live in the 21st century. We may live in a world where automobiles can drive themselves. Yet, as far as mental illnesses go, we may very well be back in the 17th century. The extent to which people are unaware about mental illness is so pervasive, that those who are informed of it are ...

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He told his parents he was gay. They started grieving and looking for a “cure”

“I fell a-weeping, and I cried, ‘Sweet youth, Tell me why, sad and sighing, Thou dost rove These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth What is thy name?’ He said, ‘My name is Love.’ Then straight the first did turn himself to me And cried, ‘He lieth, for his name is Shame, But I am Love, and I was wont to be Alone in this fair garden, Till he came Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.’ Then sighing, said the other,  ‘Have thy will, I am the love that dare not speak its name.’” From Two Loves By Lord ...

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Mommy tips: How to raise a mini activist

When we hear the word “activist”, we immediately think of khadi clad, jhola carrying men and women braving water cannons and lathi charges. But an activist is one who campaigns for social change of any kind, someone who identifies the rot in society and speaks about it. There are various degrees of activism and similarly various ways of showing dissent. Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” and any thriving society needs such voices. Such conscientious persons are not born but raised. One might feel that preteens are too young to grapple the socio-political dynamics of a complex society, ...

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The Orlando shooting may prove to be a turning point in US elections

As I got around to pen down my thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination for this November’s election, I found myself conflicted, shrouded in profound sadness and agony. Just about a couple of days before, I was rejoicing Hillary’s victory in the primaries process. More than anything else, what really got me excited was the Democrats coming together and pledging to work hand-in-hand to keep their sick-in-the-head opponent, Donald Trump, out of the White House. Come Sunday morning, June 12th, things changed abruptly. As the news flashed on the screen about yet another ISIS-influenced man running rampage on an Orlando night club killing scores of innocent souls, I at once thought ...

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So we can watch LGBT porn, but not support the community?

The editor of an LGBT magazine in Bangladesh was hacked to death two days ago. This is not the first time that something of this nature has happened, and neither will it be the last. Tracing back as far as ancient Greece, up until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, same-sex unions have existed in some form or the other. The Church was obligated to be critical of non-procreative unions and this began to be seen as deviant behaviour. Soon after, same sex unions became socially and legally unacceptable. However, times have changed as well as our mentality. Scandinavian ...

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Will legalising homosexuality encourage incest?

(Authors note: Before forming judgment, I urge readers to read this article to the end.) After the United States Supreme Court legalised homosexual marriage across America, those in favour of equal LGBT rights showed their support across the world. Here in Pakistan, Facebook users had their profile pictures covered with a rainbow filter to show solidarity with the ruling. This upset many Pakistanis who are against homosexuality, including actor/intellectual Hamza Ali Abbasi, who feared mankind was now rolling down a slippery slope and that the backdoor to sexual deviations had been opened. For this article, I accepted questions from Pakistani Facebook users ...

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‘No groom for you’ – The dilemma of an Indian gay man

Most concerned Indian parents worry about their child’s happiness and would like to see her/him live a happy and fulfilled life, and being married is traditionally considered part of that equation of fulfilment. The search begins to find the correct partner, by word of mouth and other avenues. One method includes placing a newspaper matrimonial advertisement in a local or national newspaper to draw upon the eyes of many potential suitors and their families for marriage. Once the ad is placed, the phones begin to ring and emails are exchanged, all leading to a potential match. Everybody is happy! Yay! However, for one such ...

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It’s about time we put an end to transphobia in Pakistan

In recent weeks, on two different occasions, four transgender people were brutally murdered in Rawalpindi. The police believe that financial disputes between different groups in the transgender community may be the cause of the crime but religious extremism has also been linked to the killings in this often-oppressed community.  The exploitation of transgender people, known as transphobia, is not something new in Pakistan where sexual minorities are often victims of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. For instance, recently two transgender people were killed and another was gang-raped by an armed assailant who tried to abduct them in Swabi. Transgender or transsexual ...

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