I think everyone was worried. Nobody remembers a feminist gathering in which men have been invited but aren’t allowed to speak. There was apprehension among the organizers about male outrage at having to take a back seat, and about whether women would share their experiences in a public...Read More »
Over 250 men were exposed Wednesday on Instagram as Grindr users when an unknown person posted their pictures onto an Instagram account. The Instagram profile remained online for 5 days, despite scores of people reporting it as bullying and harassment. It took backchannel communications by multiple Pakistani queer activists in and outside the...Read More »
Rape is part of the lives of many and too often, victims think that they provoked it. Rape has been used as an ultimate form of violence against those that were physically frail. There is this concept that rape is somehow the victim’s fault. I have heard so many...Read More »
I first encountered drag in Bollywood films in the late 90’s (Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Dulhan Hum Le jayenge etc). At that point I never really thought much about the complexities that exist within female impersonation. Used as a form of entertainment in popular culture, drag artists were usually assayed...Read More »
November 26, 2010. It was Amir’s birthday, an annual function that is celebrated by most Eunuchs. The police illegally raided the occasion based on reports that drugs and alcohol were being consumed behind closed doors. The police arrested most of the people at the party as well as Amir. While...Read More »
Education at cadet colleges often comes off as insentient and inanimate; snubbing and rebuffing all human emotions. However, standing alongside roads in apparent bliss, gathered around a sheesha in obvious joy and amassed outside girl’s colleges in those moments of open, guilty pleasure; boys of civilian colleges in their adolescence...Read More »
Under the aegis of his organization the Insaan Welfare Trust, Mr. Aslam Khaki, advocate, filed a constitutional petition (Constitutional Petition no. 63/2009) under article in the Supreme Court alleging the infringement of the fundamental rights of “Eunuch’s” (a term that is used as an English translation for “Hijra”).
The incident...Read More »
Every society is an accumulation of certain norms and belief systems which define and establish the standard operating procedures by which it functions. However, the basic difference lies in the nature of the society: traditional cultures have relatively rigid, conservative and holistic approaches towards social institutions and liberal cultures are...Read More »
Today I cast my net in lonely red waters. The red river looks redder today and the fish is scarce. Everyone else is fishing in the waters yonder. They have politely but firmly let me know there is no place there for my little boat. All day I have sat...Read More »
This article has been extracted from a blog I recently started, ‘Nice Mangos’. The blog deals with different aspects of Pakistani sexuality and the difficulties I as a writer have had, trying to convince people to talk to me about this unreasonably taboo subject. Nothing good can come from being...Read More »
Define yourself sexually.
Pinpoint the first time you became aware of your sexual organs.
Share when you became cognisant of being a different gender from others.
Those were the provoking, intimate, and self-analysing questions and exercises asked to the participants at a recent gender, sexuality, and sexual rights workshop. These inquiries engaged the...Read More »
On 24 May, 2010, in Peshawar, Rani, Malik and 45 other people were arrested for holding a wedding ceremony. Rani is a known Hijra (third gender/trans woman) while Malik is a cisgender man who also had two previous marriages. Both Rani and other prominent members of the Hijra community...Read More »
Below are excerpts from an interview I did in November, 2009, with a fascinating artist and activist, Ins Kromminga, who initiated a process in me, simple and obvious, and yet complicated and hardly ever embarked upon vis-à-vis the politics of gender and sexuality. Ins has challenged the routine of the...Read More »
As a pro-feminist queer who whole-heartedly endorses radical feminism, I took myself to task for admiring the ‘post-feminist’ film Legally Blonde when I saw it the other day. Is Elle Woods, a bubbly ultra-pink sorority girl who survives the rigors of Harvard Law while being true to herself, an...Read More »
It has been an audacious and difficult decision for me to finally come out and accept my gaiety. Coming out has seemed like deliverance from my every sin, for which I will be pardoned and will start living happily hereafter.
But I forgot that life isn’t a fairy tale...Read More »
In an issue about place, to talk about placelessness is about the most obvious thing I could have done, and the most boring.
But this is just what I am going to do, and like most things, it has an odd reason. A few years back at my Rhodes scholarship interview...Read More »
On July 2nd, 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that the law outlawing homosexual acts was discriminatory and a “violation of fundamental rights.” The ruling overturns a 148-year-old colonial law, which describes a same-sex relationship as an “unnatural offence.” The recent ruling decriminalising homosexuality in India, being touted as India’s...Read More »
One of the worst, or at least most difficult things about being gay and Muslim is that…well, you’re not really both gay and Muslim at the same time. At least, I haven’t been able to find that reconciliation in my own life just yet, and it’s frustrating,...Read More »
In early April, Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani survivor of a tribal-ordered gang rape who prosecuted her rapists rather than accepting a tradition of suicide after rape, married her bodyguard, Nasir Abbas Gabol.
Scathing condemnations of the marriage came from Pakistani writers, women’s groups, and news outlets....Read More »
Homosexual desire generally manifests itself in the parks and underground clubs of Pakistani cities. It is indeed ironic that moral condemnation serves to exacerbate an issue than alleviate it. Hiding from family members and peers, differently oriented persons venture out to separate their religious identity from their inner disposition and...Read More »
Coming into my adolescence in Canada, I had immediately identified with anyone being brown, regardless of the person’s national, religious, regional or caste affiliations. It is not that I had not been aware of these differences. I certainly was made conscious of caste and religious differences as...Read More »
Prolific Brazilian writer, Paulo Coelho, once wrote, “Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings.” If there is something like ‘the biggest truth of life’ than this...Read More »
Love, to many is a complicated word, I define it in very simple terms, ‘Love is an emotional space’. Now… how many you share it with depends on how much you can handle.
With experience I know I can handle two at a time but clearly with complications.
The two parties that...Read More »
My inability to articulate the alternative of Queer in my own language, often results in anxiety. Why is my queerness so un-desi? And why am I presumed to be an advocate of metropolitan gay culture when I identify as queer? (I cannot perhaps entirely detach myself from it....Read More »
Compartmentalization of genders gets extremely stringent in a society like Pakistan that is increasingly laden with erroneous and narrow interpretations of religious and moral codes. Gender politics, like all the other control apparatuses of society, is becoming increasingly hermetic and overwhelming. Discourse, dissent and deviation...Read More »
“Ennai naanaga vazha vidu – Let me live as myself”
– The last line of the play Uraiyada Ninaivugal performed by members of Kannadi Kalai Kuzhu, the cultural troupe of Sudar Foundation.
“Sudar”, which literally means flame, is a registered trust for more than two years now but has...Read More »
I had just ambled my way up from the platform at the Place des Arts Metro station and was waiting for the bus in the warmth just inside the double-glazed glass doors, peering at the snow-laden outside. That’s when the rather runty fellow with the somewhat shifty eyes and...Read More »
A bisexual friend explained to me once the gender and sexuality spectrum. At the opposite ends lie male and female, homosexual and heterosexual, and there are a whole range of combinations in between. She told me that most people lie somewhere closer to the middle....Read More »
…when words found mouths
when tongues wagged their way
and each object shrank, suddenly,
to fit its own precise outline.
You could say
that was when the trouble started:
When things stepped into the cage
of a purpose I must have had
somewhere in my mind.
– Imtiaz...Read More »
Living in north India as an out gay man who does not dress, talk or walk like your usual hetero Hun exposes you to some unusual insights into north Indian masculinity and I’m willing to venture that these are true of Indian masculinity all over the country, given similar experiences...Read More »
Who can legitimately have a say on the topics of sex and sexuality? This is determined by one’s relationship to privilege. We know that whereas one voice may be heard, many are marginalized and never heard. Therefore, before we speak about sex and sexuality, I wish to...Read More »
Sexuality, to me, is about wholeness. It is about being human. It is about self-expression, and spirituality, and passion, and fun, a whole kaleidoscope of experiences, a microcosmic and macrocosmic reflection of life. As a Pakistani woman, it has been difficult and painful to witness myself and...Read More »
Payal, Tina, Anjali, Kavya…
Just a set of names of Indian women? Search them on YouTube and you’re in for a surprise. No, you don’t find interesting sari and jewellery advertisements. What you will find are videos of lesbian action.
Payal...Read More »
In the West, it is generally believed that there are only two sexes, male and female, and that each sex has its own particular role in society. However, in their ethnographic fieldwork across the world, anthropologists have noticed that the roles of men and women vary significantly...Read More »
At first peek, a queer streak pervades the air of Taxal Street, the innocuous commercial area near Rang Mahal, Lahore. The woman who ventures outdoors is yet to be discovered here. Poorly dressed men inhabit it; meeting, chatting, eating, travelling and doing all else amongst each other.
It’s not like mom and dad are conservative, I thought. After spending our entire lives abroad, a solo academic career in the US and all this liberation, why the heck hasn’t Amma ever talked about this? Why did I have to learn this from Joyeta rather than mom? What if...Read More »
Who can legitimately have a say on the topics of sex and sexuality? This is determined by one’s relationship to privilege. We know that whereas one voice may be heard, many are marginalized and never heard. Therefore, before we speak about sex and sexuality, I wish to consider those...Read More »
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Pakistan is still low compared to rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and other countries throughout the world. But there is also a great deal of denial from government officials and the public about this disease so the numbers may be higher than we think. For...Read More »